At this point in the season the Oakland Raiders could use all the help they can get.
They aren’t playing an explosive offense in Week 12, which is a relief, but their opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, still have a prolific passing offense. Well, it’s probably more accurate to say the Bengals have a prolific tandem of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
Those two have connected 64 times for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns, which equates for a good percentage of Dalton’s totals in each category. The 64 receptions are more than the number of targets for the next leading receiver. The passing attack is ranked 11th in the NFL, but most of it comes from the duo.
Cincinnati has trouble running the ball and ranks 20th in the league in that category. It averages about 100 yards per game, but the running game is used to set up Dalton’s arm and is not a potent threat. That doesn’t mean BenJarvus Green-Ellis isn’t a threat for the Raiders defense, but it is more important to focus on the passing game. If the Raiders can stop the aerial attack, they will be able to force the Bengals to find a new way to win.
The Bengals defense is nothing spectacular and is basically in the middle of the pack against the run and the pass. The Raiders will need to keep an eye on Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict, who have been disruptive forces at the linebacker position. The two easily lead the team in tackles and will be up in the box to try and suffocate an already bad Oakland rushing attack. On the defensive line, the Raiders must make sure the left side is ready to face Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson, who have combined for 15 sacks this season. If Oakland doesn’t get a body on these two lineman, Carson Palmer will be tasting a lot of dirt.