By: Jay Patel
Spread: Bears (-5.5)
Kickoff: 1:00 PM ET, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
It’s finally happening. On September 1st, 2018, the Chicago Bears stunned the NFL world by acquiring superstar Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders. Now, a year later, Mack will face the team that traded him. It’s safe to say the Bears have won this trade. Mack has put up about the SAME number of sacks, forced fumbles, and TD as the ENTIRE Oakland defense since the trade. Mack has been a force in this dangerous Bears defense. He has circled this game on his calendar, and could have a career day to show out in front of the London crowd.
The Bears will be riding with Chase Daniel at QB as Mitchell Trubisky is still battling a shoulder injury. Daniel stepped in last week against the Vikings, and led the team to a crucial win. He has Matt Nagy’s trust to run the same offense as he usually would. WRs Allen Robinson and Javon Wims lead the team in receptions last week. Look for Anthony Miller to eventually come into the fold. Miller and TE Trey Burton have yet to find their footing in their 2nd year with the team. Oakland’s defense is ranked in the bottom half of the league for pass YDS, so Daniel should be able to exploit the Raiders secondary. The Oakland run defense is a little tougher, so a change of pace back would be helpful. David Montgomery will get the majority of the carries, but letting Tarik Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson get some carries will help keep the Raiders defense on their toes.
Khalil Mack is as pumped as he should be. He finally gets to play his former team. Even though he’s good friends with Raiders QB Derek Carr, Mack will still have the hunger to sack his former teammate. Roquan Smith will also be returning after a one-game absence due to personal reasons. Akiem Hicks is also progressing from his knee injury. So, the Bears could be at full strength on defense. They have still gotten contributions from replacements Nick Kwiatkoski, Nick Williams, and Roy Robertson-Harris. Robertson-Harris already has 2.5 sacks and is in store for a breakout season. This defense hasn’t lost a beat in Chuck Pagano’s defensive schemes. They may be playing the best they’ve ever had.
The Raiders have played some decent football over their first four games. They opened the season with a win against the division rival Broncos, and had some momentum. Then, their tough schedule kicked in. The Chiefs and Vikings handed Oakland consecutive double-digit losses. Last week, the Raiders pulled off a small surprise by defeating the Indianapolis Colts on the road. However, the tough schedule will be kicking in again. They face the Bears, then get a bye, and head out on the road to face the Packers. There will be some challenges along the way, but the Raiders have a chance to make a statement. Derek Carr will have to play some great football in order to give his team a chance to win. Carr has done well so far. He has 888 YDS passing with six TDs and three INT. Rookie RB Josh Jacobs has also proved to be a great pick. That pick was acquired in the Khalil Mack trade. The rookie leads the team in rushing yards (307). He could turn into something special. TE Darren Waller (33 REC, 320 YDS), and WR Tyrell Williams (4 TD) have also put up excellent number to begin the season.
Obviously, the Raiders defense hasn’t been as good without Mack. They only have five sacks on the season. They still have a lot of high-upside players on this team such as Tahir Whitehead (leads team in tackles), LaMarcus Joyner (joined the team this past offseason), and rookies Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram. There just hasn’t been enough production from these guys. This team as a whole only has three takeaways. LB Vontaze Burfict has also been suspended the rest of the season after helmet-to-helmet hits last week. That’s a huge blow to a team already struggling to get takeaways. The Bears offense has struggled this season, but the Raiders defense has also played bad at times. A key matchup will be between the Bears offense and the Raiders defense.
Analysis and Prediction
The Bears are riding a hot streak. They have won three straight, and the defense is getting stronger each week. That’s tough to ignore while facing a Raiders team prone to making mistakes. In Khalil Mack’s revenge game, he’ll make that win streak reach four while Chase Daniel will lead the offense for a second straight week. Bears 17 Raiders 6.