The Raiders are an interesting team, before the season they had really low expectations, with many people expecting them to be one of the worst teams in the league, but as they come into this game, they’ve won twice already and sit at 2-2.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a great team, but they’ve played better than many thought.
Last week, as 5.5-point underdog, they went on the road and beat the Colts. But it’s still early in the season and there’s no telling how good (or bad) any of these teams are. They’ve beat the Broncos and Colts, but lost to the Chiefs and Vikings.
So the Bears should be a decent test for them.
SB Nation site: Silver and Black Pride
Game day/time/TV: Sunday, noon, FOX
Record: 2-2, second in AFC West
Last week: 31-24 win over Indianapolis
Bears all-time record against: 7-7
Last meeting: In week four of 2015, the 0-3 Bears hosted the 2-1 Raiders, searching for their first win of the John Fox era.
Jay Cutler threw touchdowns to Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett, while Matt Forte added 155 total yards and Pernell McPhee picked off Derek Carr for the Bears. Charles Woodson got his token pick of Cutler.
The Bears won 22-20 as Robbie Gould kicked a field goal with 7 seconds left and the Bears then had to hold off a lateral drive by the Raiders that lasted way longer than it should have (remember when the Bears were bad, jeez).
Injury report: The Raiders listed seven players on their Wednesday injury report.
Limited: WR Dwayne Harris (ankle), RB Josh Jacobs (elbow), WR J.J. Nelson (knee), RB DeAndre Washington (ankle)
Did not participate: DE Clelin Ferrell (concussion), G Gabe Jackson (knee), WR Tyrell Williams (foot)
Offense: The Raiders enter week five with the 21st ranked offense in both points and yards.
Their passing game ranks 26th in yards, while their rushing attack ranks ninth.
The passing attack is led by Derek Carr (72.1 pct. cmp./888 yds./6 TD/3 INT). Carr is sort of in the Cousins mold this season, but known as more of a checkdown quarterback. Like Cousins though, the Raiders seem to be trying to mask him, seeing as he ranks 25th in passing attempts.
Catching passes from Carr are TE Darren Waller (33 rec./320 yds./0 TD), Tyrell Williams (17/216/4) and Hunter Renfrow (11/89/0). TE Foster Moreau and JJ Nelson have also caught one TD each.
In the ground game the Raiders have rookie sensation Josh Jacobs (62 att./307 yds./2 TD). Spelling him is DeAndre Washington (17/57/0). Receiver Trevor Davis also has a rushing score, on a 60-yard jet sweep.
They’re very much a middle-of-the-pack offense. They need to establish the run to get their play-action going and get Carr comfortable. They’re very efficient on third downs though, ranking eighth while converting 47.1 percent of their third down attempts.
Defense: The Raiders rank 22nd in yards allowed and 24th in points allowed on defense.
Their passing defense ranks 27th in yards allowed and 16th in rushing yards allowed.
What Oakland may lack in pass rush, they do have some talented piece on the back end.
They are led by LB Tahir Whitehead (25 tkls/3 TFL), S Karl Joseph (22 tkls/3 TFL/1 PD), Lamarcus Joyner (20/3/1). Their best pass rusher is Benson Mayowa (3.5 sacks/3 QB hits/2 TFL/2 FF).
Rookie Clelin Ferrell (1 sack/2 PD/2 TFL/2 QB hits) is in concussion protocol but he’s made some plays.
Safety Erik Harris has the Raiders’ only interception.
Key match ups: LT Kolton Miller vs. Khalil Mack. Hard to pick a bigger match up when you’re talking about Mack facing the team that he thought he’d finish his career with. I think it’s easy to figure out that he’s revved up for this one, even if he says he’s going to control his emotions.
Outside of that, much like last week, it’s going to be about slowing down the Raiders’ rushing attack. They’re a relatively balanced offense, but I think they want their game plans to run through Jacobs and Washington.
The Raiders have started fast in three of their four games, jumping out to leads in three of their first four games, including having two score leads. They’ve outscored opponents 31-14 in the first quarter of games this year.
What to watch for: Khalil Mack revenge game. He has said most of the right things, while also acknowledging that he’s had this one circled for a long time. The stats about the lack of the Raiders’ pass rush against Mack’s production have been well documented.
Key stats: Khalil Mack has 17 sacks and 10 forced fumbles as a Bear, the Raiders have 18 sacks and 8 forced fumbles as a team. Source
Derek Carr has the fourth-fastest release time in the NFL this year, but the fourth-shortest average throw. Source
The Raiders have scored opening drive touchdowns twice this season and scored on their opening drive three times.
The Bears have allowed only a field goal on opponents’ opening drives this year.
The Raiders are averaging 5.1 YPC as a team while the Bears are allowing 3.0 YPC.
What’s it going to take for the Bears to win Sunday? Will this be a difficult game?