The stretch run to the end of the season kicks off for the Bengals and Oakland Raiders in Cincinnati's final home game of 2018.
For the Bengals, it marks an opportunity to snap a five-game losing streak and close their season on a good note. For the Raiders, last week's upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was a nice win they'd like to validate with another one on the road.
Tickets: Tickets may be purchased by calling the Bengals Ticket Hotline at (513) 621-8383, online at Bengals.com or by visiting the Paul Brown Stadium ticket office.
The Bengals Ticket Hotline and ticket office will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. through the second quarter. Tickets may be purchased 24/7 through Bengals.com.
Fans who purchase individual game tickets on Bengals.com or the Official Bengals app will not be subject to additional processing fees when choosing mobile tickets as the delivery option. Fans can call the Bengals Ticket Hotline or chat with a ticket representative online if they have any questions.
Here are the three things to watch:
1. Formula For Success – In the game against the Chargers it appeared the Bengals found a working formula on offense. The offense out-gained Los Angeles 295-288, did not commit a turnover and led in time of possession controlling the clock for 32:28.
A big reason for the offense's success came from running back Joe Mixon who rushed for 111 yards and a score against a tough Charger defense. Quarterback Jeff Driskel spread the ball around as well finding six different receivers for 170 yards passing and a touchdown.
Oakland's defense ranks 31st in points allowed (29.8) and against the run (144.5), fourth against the pass (220.4) and 22nd in turnover differential (-5). Who steps up and makes a play?
2. Super Secondary – One of the bright spots this season with the Bengals defense has been the play of its secondary. In the Chargers game, Jessie Bates (seven tackles) and Shawn Williams (six tackles) led the Bengals on the back end. Cornerbacks William Jackson (three tackles, two pass deflections), KeiVarae Russell (four tackles) and Darqueze Dennard (three tackles, one pass deflection) played better as the game went on.
Bates and Williams are tied for the team lead with 63 tackles this season and Jackson possesses a team-best 11 passes defended. After allowing 313.3 yards passing in the first nine games this season, the Bengals secondary has shown improvement limiting opponents to 217.5 passing yards per game.
3. 2019 tryouts – Due to a large number of injuries, this season will end with more question marks about the Bengals' roster than it began. The Bengals have had just 17 players suit up in every game this season, the eighth-lowest mark in the NFL.
The coaching staff will continue to take long looks to its younger players like Russell, linebacker Malik Jefferson and guard Christian Westerman. Sunday's game against Oakland will serve as a great barometer of the players' progress against a well-coached team.
Seeing how the first and second-year players respond will serve as a means to set the right tone for next year. It is similar to what Tyler Boyd experienced at the end of 2017 when he caught a dramatic touchdown pass at Baltimore in week 17. Boyd used that game to propel himself into a Pro Bowl caliber season the following year.
Photos from the Bengals-Raiders series.
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.
Television: The game will air on CBS. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington. Broadcasters are Andrew Catalon (play-by-play) and James Lofton (analyst).
Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).