They were beginners during the regular season, but the playoffs tend to be a natural equalizer if you have never been here before.

The Cincinnati 2021 starting class becomes the first since 2015 to jump right into the next season after their first one-year trial. Some of them have been the main contributors at one point during this chaotic year, but whether they will depend or not is now largely out of their control.

Before the start of the next season with Bengals vs. Raiders, let’s take a look at Cincinnati starting class and project what kind of impact they will have on a possible playoff race.

Ja’Marr Chase

Yes, he can do one or two shows.

Chase did not have to break Chad Johnson’s franchise record for taking yards to let everyone know he has become a full-fledged receiver. There is something to be said for the heat in the play-offs, and Chase is the personification of that. He has figured out how to win in multiple ways, and this poses problems for the Raiders and other potential playoff opponents.

Returning to the Raiders first game, Chase was held in just three catches for 32 yards on six goals. Las Vegas did his best to stay on top of him on the roof and made his life difficult when he came out on the field. They eventually could not stop him from opening in the last area and scoring a shot in the fourth quarter, but it was far from Chase’s best exit.

Since then, the Bengalis have learned how to include Chase off the slot, and the Raiders will have to prepare for that. This added dimension has made Chase a credible producer despite the attention it draws from the back of the covers. The Raiders secondary will try to be the only one he will have to face this month.

Jackson Carman

Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said Monday that the initial guards will not change for Saturday. That means, despite a clean and pressure-free game against the Browns, Carman will remain off the field on Saturday as the first off-bench guard.

The only thing that can change is Quinton Spain who suffered a hamstring injury. One thing can change that. Coach Zac Taylor expects Spain to be fine, and for sure, the veteran trained on Tuesday. However, do not celebrate too early. Riley Reiff’s goal was declared good enough to play before the team placed him on the injured reserve. You never really know until you realize that injury.

It is not just Spain that is facing injuries. Hakeem Adeniji has been facing a knee injury since the 15th week. He played 37 kicks in Cleveland before leaving the field with what looked like the same injury.

Health is a factor that is often overlooked the following season, and the Bengalis have it virtually everywhere except the offensive line. Spain and Adeniji should be fine to play this weekend, but Carman will be on standby in case the worst happens.

Camera sample

Speaking of injuries, Sample is back in practice this week. The recent lack of initial defense paved the way for Wyatt Ray to play 63 games in the last two weeks. Noah Spence even had to get up from the practice team for a game, but that was due to other injuries in position as well.

Indeed, the difference between Ray and Sample is now minimal. You could argue that Ray is the best alternative after downloading Case Keenum last Sunday. If we were to rank the three reserve defensive ends in a single column in terms of depth, both would still be under Khalid Kareem. We’ll see how the rotation between the two will shake now that Sample is back.

Tyler Shelvin

If the 18th week was Shelvin auditioning to play more often in the play-offs, then it looks like it’s next season. The beginner did not appear to be part of a quality nose treatment in his 42 photos in Cleveland. It’s also a shame after Josh Tupou suffered a knee injury that is likely to keep him out of Saturday’s game.

Here is the change that experience in this league can create. Shelvin has been on the active roster all year, awaiting opportunities to play as a fourth-round selector in the draft with four years on his contract. The first time he is called up to play a meaningful role, he produces a grade of 29.8, for Pro Football Focus. Now look at veteran Mike Daniels, who has worked on the practice team all year. Daniels has the same opportunity and plays 48 quality photos (grade 69.5). Both players got the same practice time, but one was significantly more prepared than the other when given the chance.

Tupou seems to be out for most of the season after season, and Daniels needs to get his pictures on Shelvin. They can raise Daniels every week they are alive in the playoffs, or just secure him a spot on the roster by removing Tupou or someone else. Either way, rookie Shelvin is likely to be promoted by Daniels.

D’Ante Smith

We saw Smith play like a real attacking striker on Sunday when he started on the left kick, in which he allowed a dismissal for Myles Garrett. It is hardly an unforgivable act, but it is as it is.

The difference between Shelvin and Smith is that the team does not need to count on Smith soon. There is no turning point along the offensive line that Smith has to fill now. He is likely to be inactive on Saturday, and Fred Johnson will resume duties as a backup move.

Further injuries on the o-line are the only way we can see Smith again until the off-season.

Evan McPherson

Rarely do strikers take weeks off, but McPherson wins his own. The starter, with a minor injury to his groin, looked sideways Sunday as Elliott Fry made the most of his opportunity. Since then, Fry is back on the training team and McPherson is realizing right now that the bright lights are here.

McPherson has had plenty of clutch moments in his first 16 games. As his coach wants to say, he has answered the bell, regardless of the situation. Here’s a new challenge for McPherson: Cold.

Native alum from Alabama and Florida started in mostly warm weather throughout his life. It was almost frosty when the Kansas City Chiefs came to town two Sundays ago and it will be frozen all afternoon when the Raiders arrive. It is no exaggeration to say that Saturday will be the coldest the 22-year-old has ever kicked. . Accompanied by a groin in recovery, McPherson’s verse will be put to the greatest test of his life.

Trey Hill

Trey Hopkins’s return to the expected level of play and continued health kept Hill on the bench for the past month. Hill took a nap in Cleveland and had to change position on the right guard due to Adeniji’s injury in the middle of the game. Keaton Sutherland took the lead in the center as Hill returned to the right guard for the first time since week 8.

Like Carman, Hill will be one of the first line-offs off the bench if something happens.

Chris Evans

Running behind an offensive line consisting mostly of reserves, Evans averaged five yards at a pace in a seven-time high season against the Browns. The starter shared rehearsals with Trayveon Williams while Samaje Perine took the day off and Joe Mixon rested on the COVID list.

Evans will retain his role as the third player after Mixon and Perine, and at least this weekend, do not expect to see much of him in attack.