Week 4 Preview: Oakland Raiders (2-1) @ Chicago Bears (0-3)
Sunday, October 4, 10:00 AM on CBS
Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
I had the Raiders winning by a touchdown last week and they made me look good by holding on to a 27-20 win in Cleveland against the Browns. The gamblers had the Browns winning by 3.
Recap of Last week:
Raiders: Derek Carr had another great game and other than the Arizona Cardinals, there is no offensive line playing better than the Oakland Raiders OL. The Raiders OL was dominating with Carr at times having no one near him. The run game again flourished with teams now finally having to respect the Raiders passing game. Latavius Murray rushed for 139 yards on 26 carries and a rushing touchdown.
The Defense had a lot of good moments. In the first half the Raiders blitzed about 80% of the time, almost always sending 5 players to rush the passer on passing plays. The Raiders dominated the first half giving up only 107 yards in passing at half time. Unfortunately they tried to rush the passer more with only 4 players and Josh McCown of all people passed for 340 yards total. McCown was pretty much late on most passes he threw but he still brought the Browns back to a potential tying TD. He again threw late in the final drive and Charles Woodsen picked him off to preserve the win.
Chicago: In college basketball and football they call this a “trap” game. The Raiders play Denver next week and many times teams look ahead to a big match up and underestimate their opponent and lose. To the Bears credit, they have lost to 3 of the top teams in the NFL; Green Bay, Arizona, and Seattle in Washington. The Raiders have beaten 2 teams with a combined 2-5 record. THE RAIDERS CAN’T LOOK PAST ANYONE!!!!
Want to know how bad things are going in Chicago? The Chicago fan base and media are already talking about who to pick #1 overall in the next NFL draft. Jay Cutler is an average NFL QB but Jimmy Clausen isn’t. The Bears had little to no chance to score last week against the Seattle defense.
Cutler might play but many doubt he’ll be rushed back. If he doesn’t play, Clausen completed 9 passes all game for 63 yards. In 10 possessions, the Bears punted every time. Clausen is 1-10 as a starter as well.
Matt Forte is still a solid player but there are now rumors that he will be shopped around during the trade deadline. Even star WR Alshon Jeffery is now ruled out for the game Sunday.
The Raiders will win if:
DEFENSE: The Raiders defense is ranked 30th in yards per game, 30th in passing yards against and passing yards per game, and 27th in points and 19th in sacks. The Raiders played the Ravens who aren’t a juggernaut and who should be 0-4 if the Steelers had a kicker; and the Browns who are a bad football team.
On the good side, Aldon Smith played much better and it showed. Mack had a very good game with 2 sacks. With all of the blitzing, the LB’s ended up with 3 sacks and played a huge part in helping the Raiders pass rush.
Look for the DB’s to finally take a breather. The Browns have very little talent at WR, but without Jeffery the Bears have less. Look for the small DJ Hayden fan club to at least have one good week.
OFFENSE: If the OL can continue to play lights out, look for Carr to shine again. With no pass rush to deal with an NFL QB can carve up a defense and that’s what Carr is doing. I see another 300 game from Derek.
Look for the run game to shine again like last week. I don’t see the Bears DL being any problem for the Raiders OL to handle.
The Bears will win if:
OFFENSE: The only chance they have to win the game is if Jay Cutler plays. He’s not an elite QB but he’s ok and he is their only shot. If Clausen plays, this should be a fairly easy game for the Raiders. Matt Forte will have to have an epic game as well. The x factor is talented Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. The Raiders safeties have been torched by tight ends all year and look for the Bears to try to feature Bennett who is their #1 pass catcher so far this year.
DEFENSE: The proud tradition of the Bears defense is a long and storied one. From Doug Atkins to the great Dick Butkus to the 85 Bears; it’s as good as any. To see how bad this defense is now is embarrassing.
Some will say the Bears are a top 10 passing defense but as many stats are it’s misleading. (Liars use stats and stats almost always lie). They are rated that high because they’ve been destroyed in 2 games so their opponents just ran the ball to run out the game. They have been terrible against the run ranking 26th.
Another east coast game at an early time is hard to deal with. This is the second one of 4 this year. It’s also hard to gauge the Bears because they have had such a difficult schedule. The Raiders ended a lot of bad streaks last week against Cleveland, but in the end it wasn’t easy.
I trust gamblers but again, I’m not sure what they are seeing. Many had the Browns a 3 to 3 1/2 point favorite last week over the Raiders and I’ve seen the spread at 1-2 1/2 points being given to the Bears for this weeks game.
If Cutler doesn’t play, the Bears have little to no chance to win. Even if Cutler plays, it will be a tough game.
I see the Raiders having a good game on defense, and for Latavius Murray to have another solid if not spectacular 100 yard rushing game. Jared Allen and Jon Bostic were both traded which also limits the Bears pass rush. I see the Raiders OL handling the Bears and I feel Carr will again have all day to throw and reach the 300 yard plateau.
Look for Khalil Mack and/or Aldon Smith to continue to get better, especially with the LB’s blitzing. The Raiders linebackers had their best game in years and look for them to continue to blitz and rush the passer. The Raiders can’t call off the dogs though; they need to be aggressive throughout the game. Giving up another 340 game to the likes of Josh McCown is not a good sign. Matt Forte must be kept in check, and talented tight end Martellus Bennett has to be covered.
The Bears are cleaning house and are in full rebuild mode. This is again a must win. You can’t lose to the potential worst team in the NFL on the road. With a quality Denver Broncos team lurking ahead, the Raiders need this game. Denver has a real defense and it will be a big test for the Raiders but they can’t overlook the Bears in ANY WAY. With that being said, I see the Raiders winning going away and the fans enjoying a fun week of trash talk.