The opening game of the playoffs will face the Raiders and Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The match, agreed to start at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, will have an additional flavor for both organizations since the winner will break a long drought without victories in the playoffs.
In the case ofe Las Vegas, his last victory came in 2002, when they defeated the Titans in the AFC final. They were subsequently vastly outclassed by the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Since that win at the Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders only qualified for the playoffs in 2016 and were eliminated by the Texans in the first postseason phase.
For the Bengals, the wait has been longer. Their last win in the direct elimination phase dates back to 1990, when they beat the then-Oilers on a wild card; Cincinnati fell to the Raiders in the divisional round.
After that victory, Cincinnati has reached the playoffs seven times. (2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), but each time the Bengals got out of the playoffs fast.
The commitment it represents Derek Carr and Joe Burrow’s first playoff appearance It promises to be a tighter duel than thought.
Offensively, both clubs are very similar. The Raiders have the 11th best offense in the league (6,184 yards) and the Bengals are two rungs lower (6,145); In addition, in the aerial game, his strength, there is not much difference either (4,567 yards for Las Vegas and 4,403 for Cincinnati).
There aren’t many differences on defense either. The Raiders were the 14th-best defense this year (5,732 yards) and the Bengals ranked 19th (5,964). While Las Vegas was efficient against the pass (3,789 yards), Cincinnati was the seventh-best drive against the run (1,742).
What can make the difference in the game are the offensive individuals. Rookie Ja’Marr Chase is the strongest candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year and in addition to having five 100-plus yard games, he had two 200-plus yard games.