It’s the revenge game we’ve all been waiting for. How will Cordarrelle Patterson react the first time he suits against his former team? Oh, did you think I was talking about Eddy Pineiro? Fine, fine — of course it’s Khalil Mack we’re talking about, who Derek Carr and Co. are hoping will take it easy on them Sunday.
Heading into the game, the Chicago Bears are 3-1 and are coming off a dominant performance against the very team that whooped the Raiders in Week 3, the Minnesota Vikings. Of note this week is that their starting quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, is doubtful to play after sustaining a dislocated shoulder early in the first quarter last Sunday.
Then again, if you’ve watched much of Trubisky’s game tape, it’s hard to say whether that’s a good thing or bad thing for the Oakland Raiders.
On the other side of the field, the Raiders are in a very different spot emotionally than they were a week ago. After back-to-back losses in which the team looked completely uncompetitive, the Raiders traveled to Indianapolis and beat a good Colts team pretty comfortably. With positive momentum in their pockets as they travelled to London, the Raiders are hoping for a better outcome on this international trip.
With all that in mind, here are some things to like, some things to fear and a bold prediction for Sunday’s game…
Some things to like if you’re the Raiders…
- Chase Daniel isn’t great. While it was in emergency fill-in duty, Daniel wasn’t super accurate last Sunday with lots of throws behind his receivers. Then again, his receivers were far better than Jacoby Brissett’s, so most of those passes still went for completions.
- Going back and watching the Bears game against the Vikings, one place it appeared there was a weakness in the Chicago defense was over the top. With Tyrell Williams, JJ Nelson (hopefully) and Trevor Davis as legitimate deep threats, I’ll be curious to see if Carr takes a few shots (or has enough time to).
- Maxx Crosby’s emergence might be coming at the perfect time. Crosby is an active guy, and with all the screens Chicago runs, his athleticism will come into play this Sunday. Maybe he gets another chase-down strip?
Some things to fear if you’re the Raiders…
- History hasn’t been kind to this group overseas. Having played internationally in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Raiders are 1-3 with a point differential of -58. This year the Raiders are trying a new travel plan, so maybe that will help?
- The Andy Reid connection. Chicago’s head coach, Matt Nagy, comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree and, well, Andy Reid owns the Raiders. I’m sure Nagy and Reid will chat this week about what the Chiefs used to dominate the Raiders in Week 2 — which isn’t ideal for Jon Gruden and Co.
- Being down to your fourth-best guard against this defense. Watching last week’s game between the Bears and Vikings, the Bears primary source of pressure was up the middle — so fill-in guard Denzelle Good will have his hands full this week. If you’re looking for optimism, Good played well last season in fill-in duty.
- The Vikings offense last week reminded me a lot of what I’m used to seeing with the Raiders — wholehearted commitment to running the ball and a ton of check-downs. It didn’t work for Minnesota, so I’ll be curious to see if Oakland tries to mix things up this week.
- Khalil Mack. Khalil Mack. Khalil Mack.
According to Vegas, the Raiders opened as 5.5 point underdogs this Sunday. After going back and watching both Chicago’s and Oakland’s games from last weekend, I think things are lining up for the Raiders to have a real shot at an upset here. Add in the weirdness that usually occurs in London and I think this should be a good game.
For the Raiders to be in this game, they’ll need to control the Chicago run game (something they’ve done a good job of so far this season), hit on a couple of big plays and limit turnovers. These all seem obvious, but in a low-scoring game like I’m sure we’ll see Sunday, all three of these areas are magnified.
In the end, I’m taking the Raiders because one thing tips the scales: the Raiders have scored on 3/4 opening drives this season. If Oakland can get a quick 7-10 points on the board, I think that would be enough to keep them competitive and stick to their game plan. Add one more touchdown later in the game and I think you’ve got enough points to win this one.
Raiders 17, Bears 16
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