The Chicago Bears (0-3) come back home for a week four matchup against the Oakland Raiders (2-1). Once again the Bears will be underdogs as the Raiders are favored by three points according to Bovada. This means that if these two teams played on a neutral field, Oakland would be a six point favorite. Earlier in the week the Bears made some roster moves that will affect this game.
By trading outside linebacker Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers mean the door has opened up for Sam Acho. Acho had a very strong preseason showing he is finally healthy again after the last few season ending in injuries as an Arizona Cardinal. It was surprising to hear the Bears terminated his original contract due to a non-football illness.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio pointed out that Acho has the most experience in their type of defense. Other outside linebackers who will see more playing time include some familiar faces in Lamarr Houston and Willie Young.
The Bears defensive line will get some more help this weekend as nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff returns from his three game suspension. Ratliff will not play as many snaps as the Bears would like as they will try and ease him back into game shape. Ratliff will be an upgrade at the nose tackle position since he is familiar with it from his days as a Dallas Cowboys.
The Bears defense will need to find a way to stop the Raiders offense which is a top 10 scoring team in the league so far this year. The Bears have given up an average of 35 points per game this year, which is last in the NFL. Raider’s second year quarterback Derek Carr now has multiple reliable receiving options with: Michael Crabtree and rookie standout Amari Cooper. Oakland has found a nice balance on offense and their running game is lead by Latavius Murray, who is fifth in the league in rushing yards with 248.
It is still unknown if Jay Cutler will be ready to play this weekend. He is currently listed as ‘questionable’ with a hamstring injury. Number one wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will miss his third consecutive game also caused by a hamstring injury. If Cutler is not able to go, expect the offense go through running back Matt Forte majority of the game. This strategy did not work last week as the Seattle Seahawks stacked the box to shut down the run.
The Raiders offense will be too much for the Bears to handle. The Bears are not healthy enough to be in a shootout either. I see the Bears falling to 0-4 with a 31-24 loss to the Raiders.