Oakland Raiders Week 1 Preview: Stripe Hype Q&A


Before the Oakland Raiders Week 1 game with the Cincinnati Bengals, JBB Editor-In-Chief Chase Ruttig interviewed the Editor-In-Chief of Stripe Hype to get an inside look on the opposition. Following is the Q&A interview with Stripe Hype Editor-In-Chief Matthew Willson.

JBB: The Bengals are a strong regular season team that has lacked playoff success, what are your expectations for the team for 2015 going into Week 1?

SH: They brought in some talent on defense, including Michael Johnson, who left for free agency, and A.J. Hawk, who was cut this off-season by the Packers. On the offensive side, the Bengals got a deal done with A.J. Green at the last minute to lock him up longer term, so he will now be proving his worth to Bengals fans.

They have one of the strongest teams in the AFC North on paper and it will be a matter of translating that to the field and finally winning a playoff game. That is the bar of most Bengals fans this season.

JBB: Andy Dalton is always criticized for his postseason miscues, but has led the Bengals to decent seasons as a starter, do you think he is still the right quarterback for the franchise?

SH: Andy Dalton should get a pass from last season. No A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert, or Jermaine Gresham available in their playoff game against the Colts last season. You can’t expect to win with your top four receiving options on the sidelines.

This season should be no excuses for Dalton though. The team is in the best shape since the 2005 Bengals, who lost Carson Palmer to injury and lost the game to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Former Bengals like T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Ickey Woods have both said that this is the year they look primed to get over the playoff win hump.

JBB: Hue Jackson is returning to Oakland on Sunday, what can Raiders fans expect from the offensive coordinator in his anticipated trip back to the team he once coached?

SH: The Bengals offense is a ground and pound team with a much more balanced offense, than when the Raiders last played them in Cincinnati. Hue Jackson also likes to have fun with Mohamed Sanu having a decent throwing arm and flex players like Rex Burkhead, look for a trick or two to come up and throw Oakland’s defense off balance.

JBB: Cincinnati has a tough defense, who are some players that Raiders fans should keep an eye on during Sunday’s game?

SH: Defensively, Geno Atkins is back to his old self from 2012 and early 2013. He is one of the Bengals best pass rushers and with Michael Johnson back on the edge rushing, it opens up the middle for Atkins and this linebacker group to put pressure on Derek Carr. Expect a much-improved pass rushing team than what Oakland’s film would show them from last season.

JBB: A.J. Green is a talented playmaker, where would you rank him in terms of the top wideouts in the league and what do you think his impact will be against the Raiders?

SH: A.J. Green is one of the best wideouts in the league, when he plays 100%. We saw on a few occasions when he got frustrated and gave up on routes. If he can keep himself motivated all season long, he has the potential to be in the conversation for the top wide receiver in the league. Right now, he is definitely a top 10 WR.

JBB: Lastly, give us your prediction on Sunday’s game

SH: When you put this game on paper, it looks like a definite win for the Bengals. The only problem is the game is played on the field and anything can happen. At this point, I take the Bengals but a little too close for comfort, especially with two point conversions being more of a possibility, Bengals 24, Oakland 22.

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