Oakland Raiders: Things To Watch For vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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Sep 3, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25), receiver Michael Crabtree (15) and quarterback Derek Carr (4) react on the sidelines during the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders fans, rejoice! After months of agonized, excruciating waiting, the regular season is finally here! A very productive and exciting offseason of sweeping changes has electrified the Raider Nation and raised hopes and expectations to levels we haven’t seen in a while.

But there is still much work to do if the Raiders hope to climb out of the AFC West cellar. And that work begins this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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The Bengals have gone to the postseason four years in a row. Of course, all four years, they’ve been a one and done team – which is something they are looking to change this season. They’re a talented squad loaded with firepower. It will provide the Raiders with a very good test – and gauge of where they’re at – straight out of the gate.

Led by Andy Dalton, Jeremy Hill, and A.J. Green, Cincinnati has a potent offense. They amassed nearly 350 yards of offense and a tick under 23 points per game last season. Defensively, Cincinnati checked in with the league’s twenty-second ranked defense last year and proved that they could be vulnerable against either the run or the pass – they gave up 116 yards a game on the ground and 243 yards per game through the air.

The Bengals overall, are a solid team but they have weaknesses – weaknesses the Raiders are going to have to exploit if they hope to open the season with a win over a quality opponent. Of course, with the league’s seventh toughest schedule, the Raiders will be facing a lot of quality opponents this season.

With game time approaching, here are some things to watch for in week one against Cincinnati…

Next: Stopping Jeremy Hill