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Quick Hits: Matchup Hinges On Trenches; Postseason Experience A Plus; Injury Update 

220109-Taylor-Zac_coaching (AP)

The Bengals coaches are treating Saturday's Wild Card Game (4:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5) as a quasi-divisional matchup after the Bengals won the Nov. 21 game in Las Vegas, 32-13.

Head coach Zac Taylor, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo made it known Monday that the recipe for success once again lies on the line of scrimmage.

"It's as good of a group as you can play against," Taylor said of the Raiders defensive line. "Those two edge guys really bring it and they're really stout inside and have some good pass rush tackles as well."

Raiders defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue have been a matchup nightmare for opposing offenses with defensive tackle Darius Philon assisting along the way. Crosby has been one of the league's best, which earned him his first Pro Bowl selection of his career.

"I'm not sure there's two that are better at affecting the quarterback in the NFL," Callahan said. "(Crosby and Ngakoue) are always around the quarterback and it's always a muddy pocket."

Callahan says helping out his tackle positions with chips and double teams are necessary are key.

"You have to be smart with your game plan and put guys in position to help when you can help," Callahan said.

However, he also expressed confidence in the line's progress.

"Our guys play hard, they play physical," Callahan said. "I think we're in a good place, I think all of those guys have gotten better."

O-LINE LOOK: Hakeem Adeniji remains at right guard and Isaiah Prince continues to replace injured right tackle Riley Reiff. Left guard is still up in the air as incumbent Quinton Spain attempts to make a comeback at practice this week with an ailing ankle.

Taylor is "optimistic" about Spain's return to practice while also hoping the same for defensive lineman Cam Sample (hamstring) and cornerback Jalen Davis (ankle). Defensive tackle Josh Tupou is week- to-week with an MCL injury while safety Ricardo Allen is in concussion protocol after they were injured in Cleveland Sunday.

RAIDER CHALLENGE: The Bengals defense has its hands full trying to defend against one of the best quarterback-tight end tandems in the NFL in Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and tight end Darren Waller.

Callahan spent a year as Carr's quarterbacks coach before joining the Bengals and described him as "smart," "accurate" and "he sees everything."

Anarumo says Waller's ability to move like a smaller player while being 6-foot-6, 255 pounds is one of the reasons "he's a special player". Anarumo has used 6-3 cornerback Tre Flowers, picked up on waivers in October, to cover the gauntlet of productive tight ends the team has faced all year and may again.

ALL KINDS OF EXPERIENCE: The Bengals added players during free agency the past two years that came with playoff experience and the coaches are counting on that experience heading into Saturday.

"They know what it takes," Taylor said of his vets.

His staff is also counting on the success of young players who played in the College Football Playoff.

"(Burrow has) been in a similar moment relatively versus the same talent for what he was with, that's what we're counting on," Taylor said.

PLAYOFF PREP: Taylor and the coaches say the most important thing is to treat Saturday as the 18th game of the regular season and not get overwhelmed with the implications.

"We're going to go out and play football on Saturday afternoon and do your job," Anarumo said. "The guys, in my experience, who press and try to do too much are the ones who may not play as well in these kinds of games."