Mon, 16 May 2022

Contipelli's Countdown | Wild Card Weekend vs Las Vegas Raiders

Cincinnati Bengals
15 Jan 2022, 20:58 GMT+10

Marisa Contipelli

The Bengals host the Raiders to kick off Super Wild Card Weekend in the NFL, as the two teams meet for the second time in eight weeks. Five of the six Wild Card games are rematches from the regular season, as the Bengals won round one 32-13 in Week 11 at Allegiant Stadium.

Here are five things to know ahead of Saturday's Super Wild Card Game against the Las Vegas Raiders:

1. Not Your Average Joe

Over the course of this season, we've seen the Bengals win games in different ways. Cincinnati scored 16 points in the final five minutes in Week 11 to seal the game against the Raiders. The Bengals leaned heavily on Joe Mixon and the run game in the half. Mixon rushed for 123 yards, as 97 of those came in the final two quarters. The Week 11 meeting marked one of three times this season Mixon went over 120 yards rushing for a game. In three career games against the Raiders, Mixon has recorded 338-rushing yards and five touchdowns.

2. "Athletic Freak Shows"

In his weekly news conference this week, quarterback Joe Burrow referred to Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins as "athletic freak shows." With the numbers they've put up this season and jaw-dropping plays they've made, you can see why Burrow made that reference. Chase and Higgins rank in the top five in the league in receiving yards since Week 12, as Chase has posted 588 yards and Higgins 645 yards. The receivers' connection with Burrow helped elevate the Bengals offense to new heights this season, as the 27.1 points per game is the highest the team has averaged during a season since 1988 when the team averaged 28 points per game.

3. Joe Brrr

The Raiders like to get after the quarterback. Las Vegas leads the NFL with a 33.6 QB pressure rate, despite blitzing an NFL low 14.4%, and are the first team since 2016 to have two of the top four players in QB pressures. Per Next Gen Stats, Maxx Crosby (82) and Yannick Ngakoue (71) have combined for 153 QB pressures this season. Cincinnati's Trey Hendrickson lands right in between the two Raiders with 79 QB pressures this season. However, Burrow has thrived while under pressure, leading the league averaging 9.7 passing yards per attempt and is second in the NFL with 1,087 passing yards when under duress this season. Burrow led the NFL this season with a 70.4 completion percentage and averaged a league-high 331.3-passing yards at home.

4. Big(ger) Levels

The reliability of veteran Tyler Boyd has been impressive to watch this season. Boyd's 67-receptions without a drop are the most in the NFL, as his lone drop on the season happened back in Week 3. Boyd has been a favorite target of Burrow's in critical situations, as he has hauled in over 81% of third-down targets.

5. Park The Carr

The Bengals defense will look to keep the Raiders offense in check on Saturday, and it starts with limiting quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders are 4-0 this season when Carr posts a passer rating of 100 or more. In those games, Las Vegas is averaging 32 points per game, compared to 18 points per game when Carr is sub a 100 passer rating.

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