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Bears vs. Raiders: A Comprehensive Guide

Take a dive into the stats, betting lines, and matchup analysis before the Bears vs. Raiders Week 5 meeting.

Bears vs. Raiders Week 5 Preview Prediction Betting Lines

Bears vs. Raiders will kick off at 3:05 PM CDT Sunday in Las Vegas, NV. Personally, I am very much looking forward to watching a full slate of noon games on RedZone before the Bears get underway.

This game marks the second time that Khalil Mack faces off with the team that drafted him. Last time, he got banged up early in the game and did not prove to be a major factor. While he is dealing with some ailments this time around as well, hopefully he can be a difference-maker against his former team.

Take a look back to the last Bears vs Raiders matchup.

Bears vs. Raiders History and Playoff Odds

The Bears and Raiders first faced off in 1972 in Oakland, CA. Since then, these two franchises have met a grand total of 15 times. The last time they clashed was in 2019 in London, when the Raiders beat the Bears 24-21.

Sunday’s game will mark the 16th matchup between the Bears and Raiders. During that time, the Bears are 7-8 against the Raiders, with a +4-point differential. The last two times these teams played each other (2019 and 2011) each game was decided by fewer than five points.

Currently, the Bears have the eighth-worst odds among all NFL teams to make the playoffs (+390). Additionally, they have the second-worst odds to win the NFC North (+800), and the ninth-worst odds to win the Super Bowl (+10,000). Interestingly, the Bears’ odds of winning the Super Bowl jumped from +50,000 last week to +10,000 this week.

Across the field, the Raiders have the 15th worst odds among all NFL teams to make the playoffs (+146). Additionally, they have the worst odds to win the AFC West (+650), but the 16th best odds to win the Super Bowl (+4,100).

Bears vs. Raiders Betting Lines

Bears vs. Raiders Spread Projections
Bears vs. Raiders Spread and Projections

In the above table, I have noted the spread and the projected spreads according to my two models, PFF and 538’s two models for Bears vs. Raiders. But why use two models from one source? Because I like to use multiple models to crosscheck each other. Basically, the more models that say something is a good bet, the more assurances you get. In the same vein, that’s what all of us gamblers want, assurances.

Bears vs. Raiders Head Coaches Cover History

Bears Raiders Spread
Bears vs. Raiders Head Coach Records ATS, Straight Up, and on the Over.

Since 2019, Matt Nagy has been a seven or fewer-point road dog nine times, posting a record ATS of 4-5. Additionally, Nagy is 4-5 on the money line (Bears to win straight up) in these situations, while he is 3-6 on the over.

Since becoming the Raiders head coach (for the second time), Jon Gruden has been a seven or fewer-point home favorite four times, posting a record ATS of 2-2. Additionally, Gruden is 3-1 on the money line (Raiders to win straight up) in these situations, while he is 3-1 on the over.

Bears vs. Raiders Team Stats

Details the Bears vs Raiders NFL Ranks on Offense and Defense
Bears vs. Raiders NFL Ranks based on four independent statistical models.

On average, the Raiders offense is slightly below average. Their total offense ranks 23rd in the NFL using DVOA, EPA per Play, success rate, and PFF Grades. More specifically, they are dragged down by their 28th ranked rushing offense. Through the air, they have an average rank of 15th.

The Bears defense ranks 15th in the NFL using the same metrics for the other side of the ball. Against the pass, they have an average rank of 14th. On the ground, their defense ranks 14th. They say that consistency is the truest measure of performance.

On the other hand, the Bears’ offense comes in at 28th using those same metrics. The Bears offense shows top-10 metrics for the ground game, ranking ninth across the four sources. However, their passing attack ranks 31st. Please save us, Justin Fields.

Meanwhile, the surprising Raiders defense ranks 12th in the NFL. That Las Vegas defense has been stout against the run, ranking 12th in the NFL. Even more impressive is that their pass defense ranks ninth in the NFL, on average.

Raiders Scouting Report

Offensive Overview

Play-Caller: Jon Gruden

Personnel Groupings (RB-TE):

  • 1-1 [3WR]: 35%
  • 1-2 [2WR]: 25%
  • 2-1 [2WR]: 17%

Third Down Conversion Rate: 42.9% (10th)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 60% (21st)

Explosive Play / Pass / Run Rate: 11% (8th) / 13% (2) / 9% (24th)

Raiders QB Derek Carr spent his 23rd birthday with Jon Gruden. I am 100% sure they went out that night.

This past offseason, the Raiders took a team strength in the offensive line and decided to turn it into a question mark. First, they traded away Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson. Then they traded starting right guard Gabe Jackson and starting right tackle Trent Brown. So far, the results across the OL are underwhelming, and without a mobile QB, this had led to spats of stagnant offense. While Carr does lead the league in passing yards, they have come in bunches rather than consistently.

The Bears DL will have opportunities to get after Carr with the re-shuffled Raiders OL.

The flip side of that is their explosive pass rate. Vegas has generated plenty of explosive plays, especially through the aerial attack. They achieve this, in part, by using pre-snap motion and changing alignments often. This is all about creating mismatches, especially for star TE Darren Waller. When pre-snap motions help identify man coverage, Waller is typically the beneficiary. In short, Waller is going to win a 1v1 match up the majority of the time. Once the Raiders understand that they have one, they are playing with house money.

For example, here we see what Waller is capable of against man coverage.

When Waller is racking up first downs, opposing safeties might cheat up toward the LOS. Because they cheat up on the LOS, openings downfield become available for Henry Ruggs. The Raiders love to give Ruggs free runs at safeties in the middle of the field. Vegas deploys Ruggs all over the offensive formation, with heavy usage on the left and right side as well as in the slot.

For example, here we see Henry Ruggs take the top off of the Chargers defense.

Gruden is a west coast disciple dating back to his time in Green Bay under Mike Holmgren. Both Gruden and Andy Reid were coveted assistants on that staff. In his first few years back, Gruden seemed to be a little stuck in the past. They came out looking to establish the ground game from static looks. However, it appears that he borrowed some concepts from his old friend Andy this offseason. They have done this with increased pass rates, formation diversity, and the use of shifts and motion.

Positional Breakdown

Details the Raiders offensive players rank by percentile among NFL starters
Raiders Offensive Starters and NFL ranks among starters at their position.

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For instance, Darren Waller ranks eighth out of 39 qualifying TEs. Therefore, he ranks in the 79th percentile (MATH = 1 – (8/39)). In the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Offensive Line stats represent the entire unit, rather than any individual player. I believe that it is just too subjective of a stat to place statistical blame on individuals without knowing their assignments.

Defensive Overview

DC: Gus Bradley

Base: 4-3

Blitz %: 13.3% (31st)

Third Down Conversion Rate: 32.7% (7th)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 88.9% (30th)

Notes: Variations of Cover 3 and Cover 1 are DC Gus Bradley’s staples on neutral first- and second-down situations. These are single-high safety coverages that will make it difficult to throw into the middle of the field. However, it will allow for 1v1 chances downfield toward the boundaries.

Bradley likes to change things up with two high coverages on clear passing downs. In these situations, he likes to use variations of Cover 4, Cover 5, and 2-high blitzes. The Raiders blitz less often than all but one other team, relying on their lineman to generate a push. Although the Raiders will not blitz often, they will blitz effectively. Bradley is known for rarely running the same blitz package twice and often getting home when one is dialed up.

Positional Breakdown

Details the Raiders defensive players rank by percentile among NFL starters
Raiders Defensive Starters and NFL ranks among starters at their position.

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For instance, Maxx Crosby Ranks first among 65 qualifying EDGE rushers. Therefore, he ranks in the 98th percentile (MATH = 1 – (1/65)). In the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Raiders Injury Report

Bears Scouting Report

Offensive Overview

Play-Caller: Bill Lazor/Matt Nagy

Personnel Groupings (RB-TE):

  • 1-1 [3WR]: 66%
  • 1-2 [2WR]: 23%
  • 1-3 [1WR]: 6%

Third Down Conversion Rate: 28.9% (32nd)

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 54.5% (25th)

Explosive Play / Pass / Run Rate: 5% (30th) / 13% (11th) / 9% (22nd)

The Bears’ offense was pitiful for the large majority of the first three weeks. That changed in Week 4 against Detroit. While I know, it was against the Lions, it was just nice to see some signs of life and Justin Fields improve with a (much) better game plan around him. Last week, Bill Lazor took over play-calling, and Matt Nagy tried to convince us he had a lot to do with the team’s win. Since Lazor’s style seems to be pretty different from Nagy’s, let’s take a look at what we can expect.

To clarify, that means more Play Action

Lazor will aim to use the run game to open the offense. This was evidenced against Detroit when the Bears had a 5 to 13 pass to run split on their first two offensive drives. Among those five pass calls included two short throws, two deep boundary throws, and one scramble. One of those deep throws, which went for 22 yards, included play action and a six-man protection scheme. The other, a 63-yard bomb, featured five-man protection with a chip from both the TE and the RB. In short, Jacob Infante summarized what we should expect extremely well:

What to expect from a Bill Lazor offense.

Positional Breakdown

Details the Bears offensive players rank by percentile among NFL starters
Bears Offensive Starters and NFL ranks among starters at their position.

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For instance, Darnell Mooney Ranks 45th out of 96 qualifying WRs. Therefore, he ranks in the 53rd percentile (MATH = 1 – (45/96)). In the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Offensive Line stats represent the entire unit, rather than any individual player. I believe that it is just too subjective of a stat to place statistical blame on individuals without knowing their assignments.

Defensive Overview

DC: Sean Desai

Base: 3-4

Blitz %: 16.6% (28th)

3rd Down Conversion Rate: 46.2% (26th) 

Red Zone TD Conversion Rate: 35.7% (5th)

Sean Desai took over as defensive coordinator this season, and the returns for the first-year DC have been positive. When calling the shots, Desai preaches three core values:

  1. Tackling
  2. Running to the football
  3. Taking the ball away

While tackling has remained an issue on the back end, the other two values have shown themselves in games. Every good defense excels in all three of these aspects, and bad ones struggle in at least one. The Bears still struggle in one of these areas (tackling), but there are reasons to be optimistic. In addition, there is one other notable emphasis for the defense under Desai. 

“The biggest thing is knowing where the ball is. That’s the biggest thing. Having vision on the ball. If you can’t see the ball, you can’t take the ball away. Very simply, they need to know. They need to see the ball from wherever it is, the snap, to the quarterback-running back exchange, to the quarterback dropping back at the top of the pocket to releasing it and then we’ll have a chance.”

– Bears DC Sean Desai

For example, the Bears ran this stunt against the Lions last week.

Desai has schemed up defensive line stunts much more this year than the Bears have in the past. Ultimately, there is more deception involved in the pass rush plan than we had seen in recent history. He has also implemented more “simulated pressures” in order to get home. In addition to a revived Robert Quinn, the result is the most sacks in the NFL (15).

An example of Robert Quinn’s bend on the EDGE.

On the back end, the Bears primarily run coverages in variations of Cover 4 and Cover 6. Cover 4 is a combo scheme that employs both zone concepts and man concepts. This is a complex coverage to execute but is more adaptable to offensive sets and concepts. Meanwhile, Cover 6 combines aspects of Cover 2 and Cover 4 defenses. Essentially, it splits the back end into quarter-quarter-half field assignments.

The Bears have a lot of question marks in the secondary. But Jaylon Johnson is certainly not one of them. In fact, PFF included the young CB on its first quarter All Pro team. This is because he ranks near the top of the NFL in many stat categories.

In other words, Jaylon Johnson is VERY good.

Positional Breakdown

Details the Bears defensive players rank by percentile among NFL starters
Bears Defensive Starters and NFL ranks among starters at their position.

The “Pos. Rank” uses multiple position-specific stats to generate a relative ranking for each player at their position. The percentile is simply a representation of their rank. For instance, Roquan Smith Ranks 11th among 62 qualifying LBs. Therefore, he ranks in the 82nd percentile (MATH = 1 – (11/62)). In the right-most column, you can see the stats used to generate the ranking.

Bears Injury Report

Summary

Bears vs. Raiders makes for an interesting matchup. While the Raiders have been very good through four games, the Bears have been very middle-of-the-road. But Justin Fields and the Bears’ defensive line give Chicago a fighter’s chance.. that is, if Fields can stay upright. Nonetheless, there is a path to victory for the Bears andt includes hitting Carr early and often.

The Raiders have gotten better with each passing quarter all season. Therefore, jumping out to an early lead may be fool’s gold if the defense cannot maintain. Meanwhile, the offense will need to be able to keep pace as well.

While the Raiders defense has put up impressive stats so far, I’m not sold on them being a top unit. They have several nice players, but I believe they lack key playmakers on that side of the football. Due to their explosive offense, the Raiders can put up points in a hurry. Therefore, the Bears cannot have busts in their coverage and must not give Carr time to get through his reads.

Bears vs. Raiders Prediction: 

Bears – 21
Raiders – 27

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