Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over The Cincinnati Bengals

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Nov 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) is sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) at Paul Brown Stadium. The Browns won 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Make Geno Atkins a Non-Factor

Atkins is the heart and soul of that Bengals defense. If they hope to have a shot at winning this game, they are going to need to rip that beating heart out of Cincinnati’s chest and then stomp on it. Repeatedly.

Atkins is a disruptive force on the defensive line. He’s very stout against the run and can push the pocket back into the face of the opposing quarterback. He can even cash that in for a sack now and then.

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In an interview, Cincinnati defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther recently said about Atkins:

"“He looks better than I’ve ever seen. If he continues to play at a high level, he makes everybody around him better. He’s really … he’s a different guy. Hopefully he plays at high level because he’s our best player.”"

The Raiders offensive linemen are going to need to find a way to neutralize him, take him out of the game, and make him a non-factor as much as humanly possible. If Oakland hopes to run the ball, they’re going to need to find a way to make Atkins a non-factor in the game.

The theory of course, is that if you can take the heart and soul of the team, the defense’s best player out of the game, it might help take the wind out of the sails of the rest of the defense, and you will stand a better chance of being successful running and throwing the ball. Making Atkins invisible on Sunday would be a terrific achievement for an offensive line that has played well throughout the exhibition season.

Next: An Array of Weapons To Choose From