Now 3-1, Chicago heads to London to face off with a 2-2 Oakland team.
Both teams have shown a lot of strengths in 2019, however, they’ve both had pretty glaring weaknesses as well.
The Raiders are technically the home team, but there’s no real advantage since they aren’t actually at their home stadium. Partially due to that, the Bears enter the game as favorites.
It’s just a slight favoring though, and there’s no reason to believe it’s a gimme game for Chicago.
With that in mind, what exactly does Chicago need to do to win? If they are to win, here are four reasons why it will happen.
4. Khalil Mack
If I were to do a “4 reasons the Bears will defeat …” every week, Khalil Mack would be on there every single time. He’s seriously just that good.
There’s really not much that needs to be said here. The entire Chicago defense is elite. They’re the best unit in football and have one of the most dominant players we’ve seen in a long time.
While you could point to a lot of players as being great on that side of the ball for them, it’s clearly Mack that’s the star attraction.
Through four games, he has 4.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. FOUR FORCED FUMBLES!
That’s a fumble a game, and it’s ridiculous.
Mack is also constantly drawing double and even triple teams. He’s always in the backfield being a constant nightmare for quarterbacks, running backs and anyone else who dares carry the ball around him.
It’s gotten to the point where you expect Mack to make a game-changing type play at least once a week. Week 5 should be no different. He’s going up against a team that’s looked good so far but still has a lot of questions. Don’t be shocked when he makes a play against the Raiders that shifts the game in the Bears’ favor.
Then again, you weren’t going to be shocked, were you?
As I said before, the Raiders are the home team, but they aren’t at home.
Oakland drew the short end of the stick here. They’re playing in London as the home team. Technically, that means they’re getting one less game at their actual home stadium.
This will play into the Bears’ hands more than anything. On paper, Chicago is the better team. Yes, they have some serious issues on offense and the quarterback situation went from bad to worse. However, most other points go to the Bears.
With that in mind, the biggest advantage Oakland had was likely that they were the home team. Or at least, that would’ve been their biggest advantage had they actually been the home team.
With the fact that their “home” designation is nothing more than a designation, that advantage goes out the window.
In the end this is more like a neutral game. Advantage Chicago.
2. Oakland’s Passing Game
The Raiders haven’t looked completely miserable in the passing game this year, but it would be a huge stretch to say they’ve looked good.
Oakland ranks 26th in passing yards per game (210). They also rank tied for 15th in passing touchdowns (6) and are middle of the pack with three interceptions.
None of those are exactly good. It also doesn’t help that the Raiders have very little when it comes to weapons. Their receiving unit isn’t bad (Darren Waller looks like a great emerging tight end) but they severely lack a number one receiver.
In fact, they have some promise but it wouldn’t be a stretch to say they don’t even really have a number two receiver on the team.
That (along with Derek Carr still struggling to find his identity), has led to a passing game that’s been lacking something.
Chicago has the scariest defense in football. They’ll feast against a team that doesn’t have a true passing game like Oakland. I mean, look at what they’ve done to everyone else so far.
1. Oakland’s Defense
The Chicago offense isn’t great. Oakland’s defense isn’t either though. The 385.5 yards they allow per game is 22nd in the NFL.
It’s also important to note, the Bears’ defense will likely get them shorter fields on occasion. There’s no reason to believe they can’t pounce on those opportunities.
Chicago has a strong running back corps and a great receiver in Allen Robinson. They have some decent help around them as well (Taylor Gabriel, for example, is extremely dangerous).
Even with Chase Daniel having to step in at quarterback, they looked fine last week. It might help that Mitchell Trubisky was struggling this year, so the transition wasn’t that massive. However, it’s still a step down.
Due to that step down, you’d think Chicago would have a disadvantage. Oakland’s struggled to stop any offense (as evident by their 25.5 points allowed per game, which is 25th in the NFL).
Oh, and no more Vontaze Burfict.
The Bears average offense could look surprisingly competent against a pretty bad Raiders’ defense.
That could be a major factor in a Chicago W, as they walk out of Week 5 with a 4-1 record.