Teams with little to play for played harder than expected last week. Cincinnati gave the playoff-bound Chargers all they could handle, while the Raiders shrugged off a late Steelers touchdown to march down the field and take another victory from Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Oakland is one of the few places Roethlisberger has never won in. To be fair, he missed a chunk of the game with a rib injury. But that doesn’t diminish the effort Jon Gruden’s troops put in to seal a victory.
Any thoughts that the Raiders were playing out the string content to capture the first overall draft pick were quieted by their effort of Week 14.
Or, perhaps discontent on the team has gotten so bad that the Raiders players want to win every game to mess up Gruden’s draft hopes.
Cincinnati’s slim hopes crashed in a wave of midseason injuries that included Andy Dalton. Jeff Driskel didn’t stand out, which means he didn’t make any mistakes and kept his team in the game versus a superior opponent.
The Bengals defense played well and even special teams contributed. But in the end, the Chargers did what they had to do to win the game.
Now Hue Jackson has to convince his squad a similar effort will get them a victory against the 3-10 Raiders.
Injuries and notes
Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Tony McRae are working their way through the concussion protocol in hopes of playing Sunday. Another cornerback, Dre Kirkpatrick, injured an ankle and is questionable.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn (back) is also questionable.
Left guard Kelechi Osemele (toe), Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and linebacker Kyle Wilber (hamstring) are questionable for Oakland.
Jon Gruden looked happy after last week’s win. A couple of victories might help Oakland fans reeling over the pending loss of their team. There was no video of Gruden’s reaction when he heard the 49ers also won, leaving him in contention for the first overall draft pick.
Hue Jackson has not commented on reports he is stepping down after the season. It is interesting that the week those rumors surfaced, the team played as spirited as they have in a while. Jackson might be facing reality as much as a desire to step down. Injuries or not, it has been too long since Cincinnati had a playoff football team.
How to watch the Bengals-Raider game on TV
CBS Sports will produce and broadcast this game in the early time slot Sunday. For the savviest of NFL fans, that might mean following the live stream CBS feed on Fubo TV.
Fubo TV is one of the leading providers of internet television with dozens of sports, movie, and entertainment channels to choose from. You can follow your favorite NFL team and keep up with your favorite TV series in the comfort of your home or wherever you can connect to the internet with your computer or handheld device.
Fubo TV, like DirecTV Now, Sling, or YouTube TV, does not require unsightly equipment or lengths of cable. Plus, they will never ask you to sign a contract.
All you have to do is pay monthly as you go to enjoy the low, low price of Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, or Sling. You can cancel any time with a simple mouse click and no penalties.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Go to their websites today and take advantage of free trial offers from Fubo TV, Sling, and DirecTV Now.
Who will win the Bengals-Raiders game?
The thought of the Raiders players playing harder to mess with their coach’s draft ambitions, along with some feelings about the firing of their popular general manager, puts the Bengals’ home field advantage and their hopes of sending their coach out with a win or two in peril.
This could be a very entertaining game to watch, despite the records.