The Cincinnati Bengals will start their 2015 season on the road at Oakland on September 13th as they square off against Derek Carr and the upstart Raiders. The Bengals are coming off yet another terrible showing in the NFL playoffs, while the Raiders are looking to get back to the postseason for the first time in a long time. They just might have the weapons to get there.
Questions remain for the Bengals as they go with Andy Dalton out of TCU to start the year again. Dalton recently signed a huge contract extension, which makes benching him due to poor play extremely hard on the franchise. Backup AJ McCarron had a decent preseason, going 12 for 17 for 149 yards and a touchdown in his best appearance in week three.
This game will be played at 4:25 eastern time at O.co Coliseum in Oakland with the Raiders as three point underdogs. The game will be televised on the CBS Network.
The Bengals offense will always have a weapon at wide receiver with AJ Green. Green caught 69 passes for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns last year. Leading a balanced rushing attack will once again be Jeremy Hill. He had a great 2014, rushing for 1,124 yards with nine touchdowns while taking over the lead role ahead of Giovani Bernard.
The most dangerous part of the Bengals defense is the secondary. Veteran corner Adam Jones leads the way with second-year corner Dre Kirkpatrick out of Alabama on the other side. These two players should cause issues for rookie Amari Cooper and former 49ers Micheal Crabtree.
The Raiders offense will be much improved from last season with the additions of Amari Cooper and veteran Micheal Crabtree. Derek Carr will be much improved as well in his second year running the team.
On defense, the pass rush of the Raiders was tough last season and should be even better in 2015. Kahlil Mack leads the way for Oakland at linebacker and had two sacks in thepreseason. Nate Allen leads the secondary at safety. Allen added two interceptions against Carson Palmer in week three of preseason.
My Early Prediction: Raiders +3
With Kahlil Mack and an improved pass rush making life difficult on Andy Dalton, the key to this game will be Oakland’s ability to stop the run. Dalton was tied for second in the NFL in interceptions last year with 17, and Nate Allen and company should be licking their chops at the opportunity to face him.