Even when they win, the Oakland Raiders have some type of upheaval. Monday, the morning after the Raiders upset the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland fired general manager Reggie McKenzie. The team was 39-70 in a tenure that lasted just three games shy of seven seasons.
McKenzie’s firing was not a surprise. This was destined to happen when owner Mark Davis hired Jon Gruden and gave him a 10-year, $100 million contract. Gruden has all the power. McKenzie had none.
Of course, McKenzie’s firing will likely not have any impact on hope the Raiders play on the field in the final three games so the season. Still, it is an example of how difficult this season has been for the Raiders who improved to 3-10 with the win over Pittsburgh.
Oakland does have a chance to win back-to-back games for the first this season with a road against the injury-riddled Bengals, who have lost five straight games.
The victory over the Steelers – who played most of the second half without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger – was very similar to Oakland two previous victories this season; over the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. All three victories were sealed on the final play of the game.
I get why a three-win team is an underdog on the road. However, it’s difficult to think that team that is playing without its quarterback, top receiver, has the worst scoring defense in the NFL and has lost five games is a favorite.
Yet, the Bengals are three-point favorites at Karamba. Of course, it’s based on the game being in Cincinnati. Still, the Raiders are the better team right now. No, I’m not romanced by the win over the Steelers. it was a fluke. But offensively, the Raiders are playing better. Cincinnati has allowed a league-high 397 points.
So, Oakland should be able to move the ball. Offensively, the Bengals are playing without quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green. They are both out for the rest of the season. This all points to taking Oakland +3 with Karamba.
Cincinnati is allowing the most points in the NFL. Oakland is second at 388 points allowed. The Bengals have allowed 30 or more points six times this season. Oakland has allowed 30 or more seven times. I can see this totaling getting fairly high. The over/under is 45.5 with 888Sport.
The Bengals scored 21 points with their backup quarterback Jeff Driskel playing against a solid defense in a 26-21 loss to the Chargers in Week 13. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr has improved in recent week. In Week 13, he completed all four of his pass attempts that traveled 21 yards or more. He has been struggling in that area.
Against, a shoddy Cincinnati defense, expect Carr to continue to push the ball downfield. Bet the over at 888Sport.
I have routinely taken the Raiders in the first half. They are a strong early team. According to the Associated Press, Oakland has scored 41-points on its opening drives this season. It is the fourth highest first-series total in the NFL this season.
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