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Top 3 Passing Matchups
Las Vegas at Cincinnati
The Raiders passing attack has been sputtering towards the end of the season as they’ve averaged just 219 yards per game through the air over their last four weeks. The good news if you’re Derek Carr and the Raiders is that they have faced four incredibly difficult matchups in Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis and Los Angeles Chargers to end the season so things should get progressively easier as we head into the playoffs. The big story heading into this game has to be the health of Darren Waller who returned last week for the first time since Thanksgiving but was largely ineffective as he had just two receptions for 22 yards but was on the field for 78% of the snaps which was encouraging. The Raiders are going to need him to step up alongside Hunter Renfrow who has also struggled as of late after three consecutive 100-yard performances he is averaging just 40 yards per game over his last four performances.
On the season, the Bengals’ passing defense has been incredibly inconsistent. This is a defense that on the season has allowed 264 yards passing, which is the 7th most in the NFL. Looking into the numbers, this is a defense that has allowed 300 or more yards to Josh Johnson, Mike White (405 yards), Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson/Tyler Huntley, and Aaron Rodgers. The one thing that the Bengals should have going for them is that one of their better performances this season was against these Raiders as they held Derek Carr to just 215 yards in a game in which the Bengals dominated from start to finish. The key to beating the Bengals will be through Darren Waller this week as the Bengals are playing two replacement linebackers in Clay Johnston and Markus Bailey both who have struggled in pass coverage.
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