The Raider rank 31st in rushing offense, as an injury to Darren McFadden coupled with several large early deficits has forced Carson Palmer to sling the ball all over the field. The results have been mixed at best. Palmer ranks third in the NFL in passing yards, but that hasn’t been nearly enough to overcome the Oakland defense allowing a league-worst 32.2 points/game. This game will be closer than some people think, but Cincinnati should be able to escape with a shootout victory.
Cincinnati 37, Oakland 31.
Despite their record, the Raiders do have offensive weapons that the Bengals will have to be weary of, but Dennis Allen isn’t the best at putting them together. I see Andy and the boys staying hot and continuing their playoff push.
Bengals 24, Raiders 13
While all of the focus will be on the return of Carson Palmer to the city he called home for eight roller-coaster years, the focus of Bengals players and coaches will be on getting the victory and keeping their playoff dreams alive. Darren McFadden is set to return, but he hasn’t been 100% all year, so it’s hard to view him as a legitimate threat. Marcel Reece has become a revelation for the Raiders, as he’s a converted receiver playing fullback, but started at runningback last week and picked up 100 rushing yards and 90 receiving yards. Stopping him will be key to stopping the Raiders offense.
As for the defense, the Raiders have been among the NFL’s worst all season, and their depleted secondary is ripe to be picked apart by Andy Dalton and for A.J. Green to have another huge day. If Andrew Hawkins returns this week, coupled with the emergence of Mohamed Sanu, this could turn into a blowout by halftime.
I think the Raiders at 3-7 will be playing as though their season is on the line and they still have a slim chance at making the playoffs, so the game will be close for three quarters, but the Bengals offense can’t be stopped by this team and Cincy rolls to double-digit victory.
Bengals 31, Raiders 20