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Raiders vs Bears: 5 things to watch as Chicago comes to Las Vegas

How the Raiders can get back on track against the beatable Bears

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears
Khalil Mack
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders will try to get back on the winning track at home on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

The Bears are 2-2 and appear to be quite beatable. If the 3-1 Raiders do what they did in the first three games, they should bounce back from a Week 4 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers, keep pace in the AFC West division, and improve to 3-0 at Allegiant Stadium this season.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Raiders are -5 point favorites over the Bears on Sunday.

Here are five keys to victory for Las Vegas:

Start fast:
We’ve heard about it all week. One of the few big issues that has plagued the Raiders in the first month of the season was the way they’ve played in the first quarter. Las Vegas has scored just five points in the first quarter in 2021. The Raiders have not scored on their first possession for the past 10 games and have fallen behind 14-0 twice (they won both games) and 21-0 in their loss to the Chargers.

Coach Jon Gruden and his players have vowed to fix the issues and Gruden has promised to try to call better offensive plays early. If the Raiders can score early against the Bears, it will set the tone for the rest of the game.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Yannick Ngakoue
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Get to the quarterback:
It will be interesting to see how Chicago rookie quarterback Justin Fields performs in this game now that it has been announced he will be the full-time starter. After playing rookie in Week 3, the first-round pick from Ohio State played well in a Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions. If he is comfortable against the Raiders, he could make some plays. The opportunities to get to Fields may be there. The Bears’ offensive line has allowed 16 sacks this season, which is the second most in the NFL. Of course, it will be up to Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue to make Fields uncomfortable and confused. If the Raiders can pressure the rookie into making some mistakes, it could be a long day for the Bears.

Project your quarterback:
The Bears lead the NFL with 15 sacks. Robert Quinn has 4.5 sacks and former Raiders’ star Khalil Mack has four sacks. The Bears are the only team with two players with, at least, four sacks already. This is not great timing time for the Raiders’ offensive line. It had a rough night against the Chargers and quarterback Derek Carr was under constant distress. We all know Mack will be ready to show out against Gruden. So, it will be up to the Raiders offensive line to rise to the occasion and keep Chicago’s pass rush to a minimum or it would keep the Bears in the game.

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Josh Jacobs
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Run the ball:
We all know how important the ground game is to Gruden’s offense as he seeks balance. That has not developed this season. The reasons are a combination of injuries and poor run blocking. Starter Josh Jacobs should be better this week and backup Peyton Barber is expected to be out with a toe injury. So, Jacobs and backup Kenyan Drake (who has done little to warrant his two-year, $11 million contract this offseason) must take pressure off Carr and establish the run. The Bears can be run on. They are allowing 112 yards a game. The Raiders must take advantage of what they didn’t do in Week 4. They couldn’t get their ground attack going despite the Chargers coming into the game with the NFL’s worst ranked run defense.

Don’t repeat Miami game:
This means don’t play down to the level of the opponent. The Raiders went into the Miami Dolphins game in Week 3 as the much better team and it ended up going to overtime. If the Raiders don’t allow the Bears into this game, this should be a comfortable Las Vegas win. It’s really up to the Raiders.

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