The Raiders are 3-1. But they’ve beaten two teams in overtime – including a bad Dolphins side – and the struggling Steelers. When they faced a good Chargers team, they were thoroughly outmatched. And with their next four opponents being the Bears, Broncos, Eagles and Giants, they could easily be 6-2 while not particularly good.
This is not a game the Bears should win. But it is certainly a game they can win.
VDM. (Victory Difficulty Meter)
Half of Chicago is currently in that weird Blackhawks bar at O’Hare, waiting for flights to Vegas. This will feel like a Bears home game and moves the meter a bit lower.
What Must the Bears Do on Offense:
Stop the rush. That’s it. That’s the story.
The Raiders don’t have a premiere pass rusher, although one could argue Yannick Ngakoue can return to that form at any moment. But Maxx Crosby has had a brilliant first month and he’s well-complemented by Carl Nassib, Darius Philon and even the much-maligned Solomon Thomas. The Raiders have the bodies to exploit this weak Bears offensive line, especially on the edges.
But if that rush is neutralized, the secondary is beatable, mostly due to injury. (Their numbers are actually quite good, while their passing opponents have not been.) And with Justin Fields now the starting quarterback moving forward, expect the Bears to continue stretching the field. There will be mistakes; certainly an unnecessary sack or two; probably an avoidable interception; but the days of the dink and the dunk are behind us.
What Must the Bears Do on Defense:
Rush. That’s it. That’s the story.
They have to hit Derek Carr and hit him often or he’s going to torch this secondary for 400+ yards. How do we know?
- Per PFF (who provide terrific advanced stats and completely useless grades), these were Carr’s numbers prior to Monday night on passes 20+ yards downfield: 12 completions for 371 yards. Both of those numbers were best in the league. Carr was the AFC Offensive Player of September for a reason. He had a brilliant month.
- What did Joey Bosa say about Carr after Monday night? “We knew once we hit him a few times, he really gets shook. And you saw on (Covington’s) sack, he was pretty much curling into a ball before we even got back there. Great dude, great player…but we know once you get pressure on him, he kind of shuts down.”
If the Bears are going to win this game, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn have to shut him down. Because they can’t stop Ruggs, Renfrow and Waller on the backend.