Despite being down six key contributors, the Bears are coming off an impressive win against their division rival the Minnesota Vikings. Now, at 3-1, the Bears travel across the pond to London to take on the Oakland Raiders who are sitting at a somewhat surprising 2-2.
The Raiders were handled pretty easily by the team the Bears just beat in Week 3, losing 34-14 to the Vikings. Their two wins have come against the Colts and Broncos who are a combined 2-6.
This season, the Raiders have scored 79 total points and have allowed 102 points. The Chargers, who have the same 2-2 record as the Raiders, have scored 90 points and allowed 74. So it appears the Raiders have benefited from a little bit of luck in scheduling for their two wins.
So let’s take a look at the Raiders by the numbers
The Raiders are predicated on establishing the run and so far this season they have been effective with their 5.2 yards per carry. They are lead by rookie first-round pick Josh Jacobs who has 307 yards on just 62 carries.
They like to run behind their big free-agent acquisition right tackle, in terms of size and money, Trent Brown. When doing so, not including quarterback scrambles and jet sweeps, the Raiders average 4.9 yards per carry on 57 attempts. When running left they average a much more pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry. On runs right up the middle (either side of the center) they are averaging an impressive 6.8 yards per carry on 30 attempts.
So the Raiders have had some success on the ground this season. But they have not faced a front seven like the Bears, even if they aren’t at full strength.
We just saw the Bears hold the premier rushing attack in the NFL to just 2.5 yards per carry. When facing runs to the right side of the formation, which as stated above is what the Raiders prefer, the Bears are giving up only four yards per carry. They have been much more stout up the middle surrendering only 3.3 yards per carry.
Stopping the run will be crucial as Oakland relies on the play action to be effective. They run play action 24.3 percent of the time. While that is only 16th in the league, Derek Carr improves his yards per attempt by nearly two yards when utilizing play action. He also increases his passer rating from 89.6 to 117.1.
The Raiders also like to get the ball out quickly and rarely take shots downfield. Carr’s average time to throw is only 2.39 seconds, fifth lowest in the NFL. Because of this, he has the fifth lowest average intended air yards per pass in the league as well.
The Bears have one of the best pass rushes in football, but don’t expect a ton of sacks in this one simply because of the stats above. Carr will get the ball out quickly and won’t let Khalil Mack and company dictate the game. Expect a lot of press man coverage from the secondary to try and get Carr to hold onto the ball a little bit longer than usual.
Defensively, the Raiders are a young team with potential but are currently not very good. They currently rank 23rd in defensive DVOA through four weeks, giving up 25.5 points per game and have only forced three turnovers (one interception).
They are especially vulnerable in the passing game where they give up the 5th most passing yards and net average yards per attempt. Running the ball won’t be as effective against the Raiders as they are currently surrendering only 3.9 yards per carry, which is the 10th best in the NFL. We’ll see if they can keep that up without linebacker Vontaze Burfict who was suspended for the rest of the season for his repeated cheap shots. Burfict was third on the team in tackles and first in defensive stops at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Through the air, the Bears will be wise to target the Raiders’ safeties: Lamarcus Joyner and Karl Joseph. Together they have been targeted 29 times and have allowed 24 receptions for 272 yards and two touchdowns. That’s good for 9.3 yards per attempt and a 128.7 passer rating. Their corners have played better but Daryl Worely has been susceptible to double moves; he is surrendering 16.2 yards per reception.
While the Bears are a pass first offense, with a backup quarterback they would probably prefer to get the run game going as much as possible. That being said, the Bears weren’t able to run the ball against the Vikings and still managed to move the ball effectively at times.
The Raiders are a below average team overall, ranking 23rd in both offensive and defensive DVOA. The Bears’ defense should have no problem shutting down their offense as they have done with every team they have played so far. With the Raiders struggles, even with a backup quarterback the Bears’ offense should be able to do enough to win this one.
Like their three wins so far, it most likely won’t be pretty, but the Bears should be able to secure the win and go into their bye week at 4-1.
Bears 16, Raiders 9