Who would have thought that the Silver and Black would be here? Following the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs back in December, everybody wrote the Las Vegas Raiders off. And rightfully so. Yet, following a legendary game to end the 2021 season, the Raiders have made it in. And confidence in Raiders HQ has to be at an all-time high.
Going into Cincinnati will be no easy task. There is familiarity with this Bengals team, though. They are familiar with getting their asses kicked in the fourth quarter of their November matchup. However, this is a much different Raiders team. It seems like they have finally found their identity on both sides of the ball. If the Silver and Black want to keep dancing, they’re going to have to shut down the hottest team in football. In order for that to happen, these two players will have to show up and show out in order to continue this improbable season.
Man, I and many others have been wrong about Jacobs. According to ESPN, since Week 17 against the Broncos, Jacobs has run for 324 yards and two touchdowns. He combined for 548 yards rushing in the previous 14 games. Jacobs has come on strong at the right time. Getting No. 28 involved in this game will be pivotal. He had 61 total scrimmage yards in the last game, only 37 coming off of nine touches on the ground. In what could be a cold and snowy game in Paul Brown Stadium, the running game has to be on. Opening up the run leads to all sorts of opportunities for deep shots. And if the Raiders have to go blow for blow with the Bengals, Jacobs has to be the first through the door.
What a pickup this guy has been. The 2021 Pro Bowler is going to have to keep showing why he deserves that prestigious reward. Joe Mixon has been a stud for the Bengals all season. And he was a stud against the Raiders in their Week 11 matchup. According to ESPN, Mixon ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns. And although the defensive line of the Raiders has stepped up, Perryman is going to have to take it to the next level. Over the past four weeks, the Raiders have played absolute studs in the opposing backfields. And they have stepped up, big time. That effort has been led by Denzel. If the Raiders want to keep moving on, stuffing Mixon is a priority. And that starts with Perryman.
The Raiders are, arguably, the hottest team in football. If you wanted to argue that, you’d have to mention the Bengals. Both teams are peaking at the right time. And that is what playoff football is all about. The Raiders and Raider Nation have waited, realistically, since 2002 for this moment (2016 doesn’t count). And if the Silver and Black can play their game, with Josh and Denzel leading the charge, they can get it done.
*Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal