The Oakland Raiders will host the Cincinnati Bengals in a game between two teams with different outlooks in Week 11. With Oakland fighting for a playoff spot in the AFC, this is a game that the Raiders can’t afford to lose.
Oakland is coming off a narrow victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10. While the offense has been successful, it was impressive to see the defense step up throughout the game against the Chargers.
While winning the game 26-24, the Raiders forced Philip Rivers into three interceptions and sacked the veteran quarterback five times. It was a positive sign for Jon Gruden’s defense to aid the team in defeating a division rival.
As for the Bengals, they remain the only team in the NFL who has yet to get into the win column in 2019. With rookie head coach Zac Taylor, injuries and poor play on the field have been the reasons for their downfall.
Given that, here are four reasons why the Raiders will defeat the Bengals in Week 11.
4. Josh Jacobs will gash Cincinnati’s abysmal run defense
When the Raiders selected Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft, Gruden expected him to be a candidate to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Thus far, Jacobs hasn’t disappointed at all.
The rookie running back out of Alabama began the season with 305 yards and two touchdowns in his first four games. As for his last five games, Jacobs has accumulated 504 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
On Sunday, the young running back will face Cincinnati’s abysmal run defense. Through the first 10 weeks, the Bengals own the 32nd ranked run defense, allowing a whopping 173 yards per game.
3. The Bengals will be unable to run the ball with success
Unlike the Raiders and Jacobs, the Bengals have been unable to run the ball with success in 2019. Due to injuries along the offensive line, Joe Mixon has only been able to gain 434 yards on 131 attempts (3.3 yards per attempt).
As a team, Cincinnati has the 30th ranked run offense that averages a mere 70.3 yards per game. On the other hand, the Raiders have a stout run defense that has given up 98.4 yards per game (10th in the NFL).
Oakland will likely deploy a defensive game plan that entails having the Bengals’ rookie quarterback, Ryan Finley, beat them. Therefore, Mixon and the other running backs for the Bengals will see plenty of seven and eight-man boxes.
2. There are still question marks surrounding Ryan Finley
Ahead of the Bengals’ bye week in Week 9, they chose to bench Andy Dalton in favor of Finley. Last week, the rookie quarterback made his NFL debut and things didn’t go according to plan versus the Baltimore Ravens.
In his first career start, Finley completed only 53.3 percent of his passes for a grand total of 167 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. After seeing the North Carolina State product play last Sunday, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding his play.
At the same time, Oakland’s defense is beginning to develop a consistent pass rush. Over the team’s past three games, the Raiders have accumulated 10 sacks and have forced five turnovers.
1. Derek Carr is playing highly efficient
Among the players who were facing the most pressure entering this season, Derek Carr sat atop that list. Up to this point, Carr has performed well in his second season with Gruden at the helm.
While his 14 touchdowns aren’t might impressive, his 70.8 percent completion percentage and four interceptions make up for that. The sixth-year starter has gotten comfortable in Oakland’s offense and is playing clean football right now.
As long as Carr doesn’t turn the ball over on Sunday, it’s hard to envision the Bengals having a chance to get their first win of the season.