Oakland Raiders: Things To Watch For vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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Nov 25, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) after throwing an interception in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Aldon Smith Effect

The announcement of the Aldon Smith signing was surprising and caught a lot of people off guard. Not a lot of people were expecting it to go down. There is no question though, that Smith provides the Raider defense with a player capable of helping take it to another level. He’s a pass rushing, quarterback sacking machine.

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And paired up with the “rolling ball of butcher knives” that is Khalil Mack, the Raiders could have one of the most vicious, ferocious pass rushing duos in the league.

The question is just how much Smith is going to play. The Raiders are playing it safe at this point, suggesting that his conditioning is the biggest factor in how many snaps he’ll play. There are reports floating around out there which suggest that Smith will play about 20-25 of Oakland’s defensive snaps today.

Even in such limited duty though, if Smith plays to the levels he played at in San Francisco, that could be enough to help turn the tide of the game.

Andy Dalton was sacked just 21 times last year, so the Bengals offensive line did a good job of keeping defenders off of him long enough to get rid of the ball. So the Raider defensive front is going to have their work cut out for them in terms of getting to Dalton.

What will be interesting to watch is the effect Smith’s presence on the field will have with the Bengal linemen, especially if they have to account for Mack as well. It could force Dalton into some big mistakes that have an impact on the game’s outcome.

Next: Get the L-Train On Track