3 questions Bengals must answer in Wild Card Round vs. Raiders

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Ground and pound, or air raid?

Which offense do we see on Saturday?

Against the Raiders in Las Vegas, the Bengals did what they had to do to survive. Despite the 32-13 score, the game was only 13-6 in favor of the Bengals going into the fourth quarter. Joe Burrow was an efficient 20-29 for 148 yards and one touchdown. The question remains, however, was this game plan intentional, or out of necessity?

It took Burrow some time to fully get comfortable after the total destruction of his knee in 2020. Much of the first half of the season consisted of featuring Joe Mixon, with Burrow taking selected shots down the field.

This is only possible when you sport a stout defense. Thankfully Lou Anarumo has finally managed to put together a top 10 unit. Doubtful I am writing this column otherwise. That aside, how does Zac Taylor choose to attack this Raider defense Saturday?

It would definitely be beneficial to put quick points on the board and force Vegas to abandon the run and make Derek Carr beat them. Is Carr going to beat them? He is capable of putting up numbers, but if I were a betting man, I’d say no.

Las Vegas doesn’t exactly boast a hall of fame lineup at receiver, and even though Darren Waller is top three at his position, you can still let him get his, and beat the Raiders.

The gambling man in me says the Bengals come out guns blazing, with the hottest QB-WR combo in the league testing the Raider defense early and often. Get the Raiders in a hole, make Carr panic, and harass him for the last three quarters.

If the Bengals can answer this question, it will go a long way toward a second-round date in Nashville.