Game Predictions & Player Projections - CIN vs. OAK

Game Predictions & Player Projections - CIN vs. OAK


Game Predictions & Player Projections - CIN vs. OAK


table {
background: #ffffcc; }

Prediction: CIN 27, OAK 17 (Line: CIN by 3.5)

The Bengals come off a 10-5-1 season with a 5-3 road mark. Marvin Lewis is the second most tenured head coach in the league with 12 seasons in Cincinnati but Hue Jackson has only been there one year to install a more run-based scheme. This is the exact same set of starters from 2014 with no changes to any skill positions. While the new focus on the run was partially to blame for down years by the receivers, the Bengals became one of the top rushing units in the NFL thanks to Jeremy Hill.

The Raiders limped to a 3-13 mark last year but all three wins were at home. Another year and another set of coaches. This time it is Jack Del Rio as the head coach and Bill Musgrave comes over from the Eagles where he was the quarterbacks coach. That should help the development of Derek Carr who already had a promising rookie year. The backfield was cleaned up by dumping Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden and adding Roy Helu. More importantly, the Raiders drafted Amari Cooper with their 1.04 pick and brought in Michael Crabtree to completely remake the starters. This already looks like a much improved offense.

With all new players and schemes, the Raiders are unlikely to handle the Bengals who bring in the exact same team from 2014. Unfortunately the Bengals also have one of the top secondaries in the league so any passing fireworks will have to wait for later weeks.

Cincinnati Bengals

1 @OAK —— 10 HOU ——
2 SD —— 11 @ARI ——
3 @BAL —— 12 STL ——
4 KC —— 13 @CLE ——
5 SEA —— 14 PIT ——
6 @BUF —— 15 @SF ——
7 BYE —— 16 @DEN ——
8 @PIT —— 17 BAL ——
9 CLE ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 230,2
RB Giovani Bernard 50 4-30
RB Jeremy Hill 110,1 2-10
WR A.J. Green 5-70
TE Tyler Eifert 4-30,1
PK Zach Hocker 1 FG 2 XP
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 3 XP

The renewed focus on rushing seemed to hit A.J. Green’s production but he was often injured, ill or concussed. The Bengals were also without their tight end Tyler Eifert thanks to an elbow injury. The rushing effort really took off though with the rookie Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. A solid defense kept them in most games and a second season in the new scheme with Eifert back and Green healthy can only get better.

QUARTERBACK : Andy Dalton was asked to do less and threw a career low 482 passes which turned into just 3398 yards and 19 touchdowns. By comparison, his 2013 was a career best 4296 yards and 33 scores. Dalton has his detractors in Cincinnati but the offense doesn’t live and die by what he does any more. Having healthy players again will naturally boost his stats.

RUNNING BACK : They turned into quite the 1-2 punch. Giovani Bernard totaled 1029 yards and seven scores last year while missing three games. He remains the pass catcher with around 50 receptions per season and with 168 carries he still produces fantasy points as a multi-threat. Jeremy Hill started slowly but then came on during the second half of the season when he was the second best rusher in the league. Though his first decent game was not until week nine, he turned in five 100 yards games and scored nine times. He has a minimal role as a receiver but gets 20 carries in most games.

WIDE RECEIVER : Marvin Jones was another casualty of last year and he never played a down thanks to an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve. Mohamed Sanu took his place and posted a respectable 56-790-5. Jones is expected to retake the #2 role but Sanu will still be involved. This is also an offense that does not throw as much so fantasy value will be marginal.

A.J. Green suffered various illness and ailments last year but still ended with 69-1041-6. He is in a contract year and the 27 year old has everything to play for in 2015. He’s gained over 1000 yards in each of his four NFL seasons and averaged nine scores.

TIGHT END : Tyler Eifert missed almost all of 2014 with an elbow injury but the 2013 first-round tight end is back for a do-over on his second season when he should break out. Eifert has looked sharp in camp and is expected to end up the #2 receiver for the Bengals behind only Green. His role should be readily apparent in the initial weeks of the season.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Raiders had one of the worst defenses in the league last year and once again changing coaches and schemes is not going to bear fruit here in week one. Jeremy Hill faces the worst team at stopping the run last year and there should be enough left over to make Bernard a good fantasy play as well. It would be risky to start Eifert here but the situation is favorable and he’s a go if you have nothing better to use. A.J. Green is always started but the rest – Dalton, Jones and Sanu – don’t merit a start even in this good venue.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 23 4 26 24 16 27
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 19 32 7 21 30 18

Oakland Raiders

1 CIN —— 10 MIN ——
2 BAL —— 11 @DET ——
3 @CLE —— 12 @TEN ——
4 @CHI —— 13 KC ——
5 DEN —— 14 @DEN ——
6 BYE —— 15 GB ——
7 @SD —— 16 SD ——
8 NYJ —— 17 @KC ——
9 @PIT ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Derek Carr 230,1
RB Roy Helu 30 4-20
RB Latavius Murray 80,1 3-20
WR Amari Cooper 5-70
WR Michael Crabtree 5-60
TE Mychal Rivera 5-40,1
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 FG 2 XP

Once again the Raiders are starting over but this time they have a much better set of players than at any time in recent history. They hit gold with Derek Carr, finally figured out which running back to rely on and used their annual high draft pick on the best wide receiver in the class. They also brought in Michael Crabtree to completely make over what has long been a mottled collection of no-names wearing numbers in the 80’s on their jerseys. Amari Cooper could be the next great Raider receiver… if we could remember far enough back who the last one was.

QUARTERBACK : Derek Carr’s rookie season went remarkably well for an inexperienced guy out of Fresno State who had a set of wide receivers and running backs that are almost entire gone this year. He passed for 3270 yards and 21 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. Now he has upgrades all over the offense and the only question is how big of a jump will 2015 bring?

RUNNING BACK : The Raiders witnessed the final hurrah from Maurice Jones-Drew (more of a whisper) and after seven years finally kicked Darren McFadden to the curb. In the process, they discovered Latavius Murray. The sixth round pick-up from Central Florida only ran for 424 yards on 82 runs last year but averaged 5.2 yards per carry and is the clear primary back for the year. Roy Helu was also brought in to handle the third down role but how the backfield breaks down will be more apparent once we actually see it in action. Murray is a capable receiver as well and was given 20 carries per game when the Raiders were not falling far behind.

WIDE RECEIVER : This should be good. Amari Cooper was taken with the 1.04 pick pick and he was the consensus best receiver in the draft. The Alabama product turned in a monster final season with a stat line of 125-1727-16 playing in the SEC. He’ll pair with Carr for years to come and brings a real sense of progress so long as he can meet the high expectations. Michael Crabtree also came over from the 49ers to provide a solid #2 to Cooper. After six seasons, Crabtree finally leaves one of the worst passing offenses and has a chance to revive his career that seemingly died after an Achilles tear in 2013 required surgery. He’s already won over the locker room in Oakland and drawn praise from Carr.

That duo is a far cry from the top four wideouts of 2014 – Andre Holmes, Denarius Moore, Kenbrell Thompkins and James Jones. It speaks volumes that none are currently on any NFL team. Imagine what Carr can do with Cooper and Crabtree.

TIGHT END : Mychal Rivera remains the starting tight end and ended 2014 with 58-534-4 but his job is not necessarily safe all year. The Raiders spent their 3.04 pick to draft Clive Walford as the second tight end taken this year. The ex-Hurricane is a receiving tight end and impressed this summer until he suffered a hamstring strain that made him miss much of training camp. First year tight ends rarely matter and the Raiders are not expected to make big use of the tight end this year. But Walford is one to watch if only for 2016.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Raiders are improved but week one in a new system with new players against a good defense makes it harder to forecast. The Bengals were one of the best defenses against the pass and yet one of the worse versus the run. Murray is a must start in this home game. Carr, Cooper and Crabtree are worth considering since it is at home but the stats are likely to be depressed in this opener. They face a secondary that only allowed 12 touchdowns to wide receivers in 2014. Cooper is promising enough to start as a WR3 but keep expectations low for his debut against a very good defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 31 26 27 23 29 32
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 4 27 2 15 13 11

table {
background: #ffffcc; }


More Huddle