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Well as you know we only cover three a games a week at the most, so here it is our final game for this week. Ironically at this time last year I categorically stated I wasn’t going to pick against the spread, by the end of the season I was, so here is to hoping I have a decent year against the spread. It is a new season in the Black Hole and Raider fans are hoping that Jack Del Rio can turn things around for this proud franchise in his first year there. On the other side of the ball the Bengals are looking to jump to a quick start as they try to get back to the postseason for the fifth year in a row.
The Raiders are returning second year starter Derek Carr and while I believe that the Raiders have put more weapons around Derek Carr, I’m wary of the sophomore slump hitting especially on a team with a losing culture like the Raiders. I also think that Raiders offensive line is a bit suspect and will need to effectively neutralize the Bengals front four if the Raiders have any shot at winning this game.I think defensively with a new defensive minded coach the Raiders defense will need to step things up because Derek Carr at least at this point in his career cannot carry the team.
The Bengals need to people to step up and make plays amongst their tight ends. Jermaine Gresham is gone and while he may not have lived up to his potential he was a reliable target with a 67.6% RR. Tyler Eifert needs to stay healthy with only 3 catches a season ago albeit on 3 targets if Eifert can step up and stay healthy I think he creates a big mismatch for Andy Dalton against the Raiders back seven. The front four is healthier than it was a year ago and that should help the Bengals put pressure on Derek Carr. The Bengals may need to limit Vontaze Burfict and Rey Malaluga at least this week to pace them as these are oft injured and essential to the overall quality of defense the Bengals play. Dalton with receivers like A.J. Green, Mohammed Sanu and Tyler Eifert should shred Raiders secondary. The Bengals played in a tough AFC North and this is a game they should win and therefore a game they must win.
The Key players in this game are Derek Carr for the Raiders. Carr needs to show that he has taken a step forward in his progression and not a step back like RGIII did in his second season. If Carr has a good showing they Raiders can keep this game close. For the Bengals the key player is Tyler Eifert. Eifert needs to step up and show that he is a threat over the middle that Raiders secondary has to take seriously. If Eifert is the threat he should be then this game won’t be close.
The Raiders are taking 3 1/2 at home with an O/U of 43. I think the Bengals are the better team here and better by a lot, unless the Bengals have a rash of major injuries this one shouldn’t be close. Take the Bengals giving the points and the under.
Final Score: Cincinnati Bengals 30 Oakland Raiders 10