Las Vegas Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals predictions: Big-play offence can see the Bengals home

Can Joe Burrow and his offensive weapons lead the Cincinnati Bengals to victory, or will the Las Vegas Raiders' gain revenge in the NFL wildcard playoff match. Planet Sport checks out the prospects.

Few would have predicted this one being a playoff game before the season started, yet here we are with two of the most success-starved teams in the league battling it out for a rare post season victory.

The Raiders last tasted a playoff victory way back in 2003, yet that feels like yesterday compared to the Bengals fans, who haven't seen their team win a playoff game since 1991.

Something's got to give here...

When: Saturday, Jan 15, 21:30 GMT

Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

How to watch: Sky Sports

The Bengals: Built around Burrow's big-play offence

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow

There's no real secret to the Bengals this season. Yes, they've had a better-than-you-think defence where they're ranked fifth against the run, but their strength is in their offensive playmakers.

Cincinnati's skill position players can rival absolutely anyone in the league, with Zac Taylor's team the first in history to have a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers all under the age of 26 in one season.

The likes of QB Joe Burrow, RB Joe Mixon and WRs Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who all had a rest of some sort last week, will be around for some time so this could be just the start for this team - but they've got a great chance to get a playoff win under their belts right now.

The Raiders: Already in knock-out mode after wild run-in

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr

The Raiders need to find something different to reverse a 32-13 defeat by the Bengals from just seven weeks ago. They'll also be the more tired team after only booking their playoff spot in that dramatic late win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week.

There are two schools of thought here, either they'll suffer a huge come down or they'll be sharp and ready for battle - after all they won their last four games with their playoff future on the line each time. They've also won all four their games that went to overtime.

Vegas know how to win the close games.

QB Derek Carr has bags of experience even if this is his first playoff game, Josh Jacobs can run the ball and receiver Hunter Renfrow is as shifty as they come down by the goal line. They're the underdogs, but never rule out an emotional team on a roll in the playoffs.

Bengals vs Raiders key stats

Las Vegas interim coach Rich Bisaccia

1) Eight teams in the last five years have won a wildcard round playoff game having lost to their opponents in the regular season.

2) The Bengals last won a playoff game in January 1991 - their run that year was ended by the Raiders, then of Los Angeles. That's the last post season meeting between the two.

3) Bengals' QB Joe Burrow passed for a team record 4,611 yards and 34 TDs and ranked second in the league with a passer rating of 108.3.

4) Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase had the most receiving yards by a rookie receiver in the Super Bowl era - his 1,455 yards led the entire AFC.

5) Bengals' running back Joe Mixon was third in the league with 1,205 rushing yards, and one of just three players with 1,500 scrimmage yards and 15 TDs this season. Mixon scored 16 times.

6) Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia is the first temporary head coach to take a team to the playoffs in 60 years.

7) Raiders' Derek Carr finished fifth in the league and had a team record 4,804 passing yards - he's one of just seven QBs ever to have thrown for 3,000 yards in all of their first eight seasons.

8) Hunter Renfrow is just the second receiver in Raiders history to record 100 catches in the season, grabbing 103 for 1,038 yards and nine TDs.

Bengals vs Raiders key match-ups

Big plays will be the big difference, as the Bengals are full of them and they can turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye - just ask the Chiefs!

Key to slowing them down is getting to Burrow - who was sacked a whopping 51 times this season. Only 54 QBs have been sacked 50 times or more since 1970, and none of those managed to get to a Super Bowl.

It makes Burrow's numbers this season even more remarkable, but it also sounds out a warning as the Bengals were the second-worst team as pass blocking this season, and the Raiders can generate plenty of pressure.

Las Vegas have middling sack numbers but they're top 10 in getting pressure on the QB - they sacked Justin Herbert three times but also hit him 10.

Maxx Crosby led the Raiders with two sacks and four QB hits, while also defending four passes. He's a monster disruptor and will be in Burrow's face all night long, how Cincy deal with that will decide the game.

Planet Sport verdict

You could call it a free hit for both really. But it's a game both will feel they can win, and both have legitimate claims with Cincy's big-play offence and the Raiders claiming "team of destiny" status.

If the Raiders can keep a lid on Burrow and keep it close then they've shown they can grind out victories under the biggest pressure, but there's just too many factor working against them this time.

They were soundly beaten last time by the Bengals, and thrashed by a similar team in the Chiefs, and away from home on the back of that emotional win it's such a tough prospect to go on the road and win this.

If Burrow is fully fit then the extra rest, home crowd, and that big-play offence can see the Bengals home.

Prediction: Raiders 21-30 Bengals

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