Cincinnati at Oakland; Game Preview

Breakdown preview of the Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders battle in week-two of the NFL season.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: CBS, Bill Macatee, Jerry Glanville
SERIES: Raiders lead 16-7. The Bengals dealt the Raiders one of the biggest losses in their history in 1990. The Raiders won the game 24-7 but running back Bo Jackson sustained a career-ending hip injury, thus ending a four-year career that flashed like a comet, then was over.
2003 RANKINGS: Bengals: offense 19th (30th rush, 10th pass); defense 13th (32nd rush, 3rd pass). Raiders: offense 22nd (32nd rush, 9th pass); defense 22nd (11th rush, 28th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: After a sloppy opening performance that included 17 penalties for 173 yards, Raiders coach Bill Callahan worked on the basics this week, requiring every player on the roster to attend a special teams meeting. With WR Jerry Porter doubtful (abdominal/groin strain), Oakland needs Alvis Whitted, Ronald Curry or Doug Gabriel to step up as the third receiver. FS Rod Woodson (knee) definitely won't play, which could force several changes in the Raiders' secondary. Cincinnati wants to establish the run, but QB Jon Kitna and WR Chad Johnson will test Oakland deep.
FAST FACTS: Bengals: RT Willie Anderson has a hamstring injury, but is still expected to make his 50th consecutive start. ... Cincinnati is 0-8 in games played in Oakland. ... The team has lost seven consecutive games played on the West Coast. Raiders: Oakland's offensive line averages an NFL-high 322.8 pounds. ... Oakland leads the series 16-7.

PREDICTED SCORE: Raiders 27, Bengals 20

   -- ROT Willie Anderson (hamstring) is probable and did dress for practice Thursday.
   -- OLB Brian Simmons (rib cage) is probable and practiced Thursday for a second consecutive day. He has been icing his ribs.
   -- WR Chad Johnson (ankle) did not practice Thursday but is not listed on the official injury report. He is expected to play Sunday.
   -- WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hamstring) is out.
   -- RB Rudi Johnson (thigh) is out.
   -- G Victor Leyva (chest muscle) is out.


   -- Free safety Rod Woodson is out following knee surgery.
   -- Wide receiver Jerry Porter is now out. His abdominal/groin injury was diagnosed as a hernia and he will undergo surgery.
   -- Safety Anthony Dorsett (ankle), the likely replacement for Woodson, did not practice again Thursday. His status remains uncertain.
   -- Starting RCB Terrance Shaw has been practicing at safety in the event Dorsett cannot make the start.
   -- Nickel back Phillip Buchanon, recently recovered from a hamstring pull, would start at right corner if Shaw goes to safety.
   -- Rookie cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, inactive at Tennessee due to a lingering shoulder injury, is now expected to play as the nickel back.
   -- No. 1 fullback, Chris Hetherington, is out for the game with a hamstring pull.
   -- Starting left guard Frank Middleton (knee) returned to practice Thursday. Although he was listed as questionable by the club, he insisted there was nothing wrong with him.
   -- Starting right guard Mo Collins (knee) also returned to practice Thursday. Like Middleton, he said he was fine despite the club's listing him as questionable.
   -- Quarterback Rich Gannon reported that the left knee that he injured in the fourth quarter at Tennessee, was causing him no problems.
   -- Defensive end Sam Williams (knee) was upgraded from out to questionable.
   -- Linebacker Bill Romanowski (concussion) was upgraded from questionable to probable.
   -- RB Charlie Garner's 112-yard receiving game against Tennessee was the first 100-yard receiving day of his career.
   -- LB Bill Romanowski has played in 241 straight regular season games.

   Corey Dillon remains one of the NFL's most reluctant superstars.
   Since his January hiring, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has tried to convince Dillon that his stature as the team's star player comes with the responsibility of representing it in the media.
   "He is the identified guy," Lewis said. "He should be on the media guide, not me. Right now, as I told the guys the other day, I'll shoulder the responsibility. But it has to move to our players."
   Dillon is first in line.
   "He's the guy who has been here," Lewis said. "He has been a Pro Bowl player, he's been recognized around the league, he's got mementos in Canton. Nobody else here does."
   Lewis and Dillon seem to have reached a mutual understanding: Lewis doesn't appear to be pushing so hard. Dillon isn't offering as much resistance.
   "To me, he doesn't seem to be looking for media attention," Lewis said. "I've never experienced it at any point where he has looked for it. He's sincere in not wanting the attention. That's better than the other side, the guy who wants it but doesn't deserve it."
   Dillon, the back with the third most rushing yards (7,554) since he entered the league in 1997, would rather let his play do his talking and prefers to be one of the guys.
   "I don't like it, dude," he said of the spotlight. "I'm not here to try to blow up and be this great movie star. I'm here to play football.
"You guys make me out to be more than what I am. I'm just a guy, man. I'm a regular Joe."

   The Raiders still either don't know or aren't saying what steps are being taken to account for the absence from the lineup of injured free safety Rod Woodson and wide receiver Jerry Porter.
   Woodson is out indefinitely after having knee surgery Tuesday. As for a replacement, all evidence points to the fact it will be either backup safety Anthony Dorsett or starting cornerback Terrance Shaw.
   Dorsett is also injured (ankle) and is questionable. He did not practice Wednesday and expected to be held out Thursday as well. Shaw said he spent the entire Wednesday practice at safety.
   That sent Phillip Buchanon to the right cornerback spot and rookie Nnamdi Asomugha to nickel back -- although he may play outside at corner in the nickel.
   At wide receiver, the Raiders aren't letting any cats out of the bag as to how they will deal with the loss of Porter, who is now awaiting hernia surgery. The injury was originally diagnosed as an abdominal/groin strain.
   All coach Bill Callahan would say was that the team could go from a three receiver starting lineup to a two-back or a two-tight end alignment. The two back lineup would almost have to be the team's "rocket back" setup with Tyrone Wheatley joining Charlie Garner in the backfield. That is because No. 1 fullback Chris Hetherington is out with a hamstring injury.
   The second tight end would be rookie Teyo Johnson.

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