Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals Pick and Prediction for Wild Card Weekend (2022)

| January 11, 2022 6:35 pm PDT

The 2021-22 NFL playoffs will kick off with a battle between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. The Raiders beat the Los Angeles Chargers in a crazy game to clinch their spot as a wild card.

Cincinnati clinched the AFC North with their victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. It’s been a few years since each team has been in the postseason.

Who has the upper hand for this matchup? Let’s check out the odds via

Raiders vs. Bengals Odds 

Las Vegas Raiders (+5.5)-113
Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)-107
Las Vegas Raiders to Win+198
Cincinnati Bengals to Win-231
Over 49-107
Under 49-113

The Cincinnati Bengals open as a (-5.5) point home favorite.

Cincinnati wasn’t great at covering the spread most of the season, but they closed with a bang. They covered in their final four games, including three times as the underdog.

They went under their point total in five of their first six games, but they closed the season hitting the over in seven of their 11 games.

The Las Vegas Raiders had a rough stretch, covering once from Week 9 to Week 15. They finished the season covering in three straight games. They went 8-9 with the over/under this season.

Las Vegas enters this game reasonably healthy. Darren Waller returned last week and should be good to go on Saturday. Linebacker Nicholas Morrow could make his season debut after the Raiders activated him off IR.

Cincinnati rested their key players in Week 18, so no new injuries to report.

Let’s preview each team and talk about their chances of victory.

Las Vegas Raiders Preview

It’s been a tumultuous season for the Las Vegas Raiders. They released second-year wide receiver Henry Ruggs in the middle of the season. Less than a week before, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned.

It wasn’t looking good as the Raiders lost five of their next six games. Their final loss in that stretch was an embarrassing 48-9 defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Las Vegas rallied to win their final four games, including that overtime thriller over the Los Angeles Chargers to make the playoffs.

This won’t be the first time the Raiders face the Cincinnati Bengals this season. The Bengals took care of business with a 32-13 victory in Las Vegas. A big reason the Raiders lost that game was their lack of run game.

Josh Jacobs struggled with 37 yards on nine carries. However, he closed his season with a few big performances. Check out his rushing yards in each of his last three games.

  • Denver Broncos: 129
  • @ Indianapolis Colts: 63
  • Los Angeles Chargers: 132

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his late-season surge coincided with the Raiders’ late-season win streak. They needed Jacobs to step up with Darren Waller out of the lineup.

It’ll be tough to run on the Bengals’ defense. They’ve allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards this season. However, they struggled a bit to close the season.

The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cleveland Browns cleared 130 rushing yards on this defense in their final four games. I’ll give the Browns game a pass because they were resting starters, but what about the other two teams?

I think a combination of Jacobs and Waller will be key to pulling off the upset. Waller went for seven receptions and 116 yards in their first matchup with the Bengals. Las Vegas needs both players to win on Saturday.

Cincinnati Bengals Preview

The Cincinnati Bengals were among the biggest Super Bowl longshots entering the season. Their (+15000) odds were only better than the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.

Cincinnati stayed in playoff contention for much of the season. Their AFC North competitors began to struggle midseason, opening the door for the Bengals to take the division. They officially clinched with a Week 17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Joe Burrow’s growth in his second season has been key to the Bengals’ great season. However, we can’t talk about the Bengals and not lead with Ja’Marr Chase.

The rookie wide receiver has been unbelievable this season. Let’s check out his numbers.

  • 81 receptions
  • 1,455 receiving yards
  • 13 touchdowns

There’s no doubt Chase is a rookie superstar. He broke numerous records this season. He broke the record for most receiving yards by a Bengals player in a season and the rookie record for most receiving yards in a season.

In the game Cincinnati clinched the AFC North, Chase went off for a rookie record 266 yards.

Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd make up a dangerous Bengals receiving core. However, that wasn’t on display in their Week 11 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. It was the run game that controlled things.

Here are Joe Mixon’s numbers from the matchup.

  • 30 carries
  • 123 yards
  • 2 touchdowns

That aligns with the Raiders defense. They ranked 13th in passing yards allowed but 19th in rushing yards allowed. Cincinnati can set the tone with Mixon.

Cincinnati’s passing game is dangerous no matter what. If they have Las Vegas worrying about their run game, Chase and Higgins will have a lot of looks.

Now that we’ve looked at both teams, it’s time to make a game pick.

Raiders vs. Bengals Pick

  • Las Vegas Raiders (+5.5)

I like the Cincinnati Bengals to win this matchup, but I think the Las Vegas Raiders will keep it close. We saw the Raiders knock off back-to-back playoff-caliber teams to close the season.

Unfortunately for them, the Bengals also had a nice close to the season. I think their pass game will shine in the wild card round.

This game will kick off wild card weekend. Fans can watch the action Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Make sure you check out our NFL postseason tips blog before you make any bets.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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