The 3-3 Las Vegas Raiders play at the terrible 1-5 Chicago Bears on Sunday (kickoff is at 10 a.m. PT). Here are five keys to a Las Vegas victory:
Contain DJ Moore:
Yes, the Raiders have a great advantage with starting Chicago quarterback Justin Fields expected out Sunday with a dislocated thumb. Undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent, from tiny Shepard University in West Virginia, is expected to make his first start. Regardless of that big advantage, the Raiders have to keep Bears wide receiver DJ Moore from having a big game. He is a fine player, who has put together some big plays this season. The Raiders have been playing some meager offenses lately and the same may be said this week, but Moore is a player and he has to be accounted for.
One of the Raiders’ bigger problems on offense (there’s plenty) has been on third down. They were 8 of 16 on third down against the New England Patriots in Week 6. Extending drives is vital for this offense.
The Bears are bad. The Raiders should easily beat them as their string of playing weak opponents continues. But the Raiders can’t get in their own way. They have to finish drives on offense, they must tackle well and make good angles on defense and they can’t make silly penalties. These, of course, have all been issues at times this season. The Raiders must play a clean game.
Keep Michael Mayer going strong:
The rookie tight end had a big game against the Patriots as it was easily his best performance of the season. The second-round pick from Notre Dame had five catches for a team-high 75 yards and he showed his prowess as a stud after the catch. The Raiders have to keep feeding this kid and help him spark the offense.
Be better in red zone:
Perhaps Mayer could be a factor in the red zone in Chicago. The Raiders definitely need a spark. The red zone has been a problem all season (for several seasons, really) and the frustrations were on display against New England as the Raiders were just 1-for-6 in the red zone. The Raiders scored one touchdown, four field goals and a safety as they broke he 20-point barrier for the first time in the 21-17 win over the Patriots. Putting away the Bears will be easier if the Raiders can cash in while in the red zone.