Either the Oakland Raiders or the Chicago Bears are going to enter the bye with a smile on their faces.
After both teams handled business on Sunday, the Silver and Black and the Bears now find themselves squarely in each other’s crosshairs for a Week 5 showdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This is a game that certainly isn’t lacking for intriguing storylines headed into kickoff, so here are three key matchups that will be paramount to winning Sunday evening.
Kolton Miller and Trent Brown vs. Khalil Mack
Come on, guys, you know we had to start here, with what’s likely one of the most interesting matchups we’ve seen all season.
Let’s step back for just a second and recap – prior to the start of the 2018 regular season, the Silver and Black traded Mack to the Bears in exchange for a pair of first round picks, and Sunday’s matchup in London will be the first time No. 52 has squared off against his former team.
Throw in the fact that Mack has three-and-a-half sacks and three forced fumbles in the past two weeks, and that Tom Cable’s unit put together a really nice outing their last time out on the gridiron, and this matchup is one that will loom heavy at Tottenham Hotspur’s new home.
Kolton Miller is much improved from a year ago, and big Trent Brown was acquired in free agency exactly for games like Sunday.
If conventional wisdom holds, Mack will move all around the line, so both Miller and Brown will have to bring their best Sunday night.
Much of the success of the Silver and Black’s offense depends on it.
Paul Guenther vs. Mark Helfrich
Look, there’s no confusing this current iteration of the Chicago Bears offense with the 2010 Oregon Ducks, but regardless, with a defense as good as the one the Bears boast, your offense doesn’t have to be otherworldly.
Case in point, Mark Helfrich’s offense ranks 29th in the league, and the Bears have lost just a single game.
While nothing is official just yet, it sure seems like the Raiders are going to face a Chicago offense led by Chase Daniel, as Mitchell Trubisky left last week’s game early with a shoulder injury.
Linebacker Tahir Whitehead said Wednesday that Daniel and Trubisky share many similarities, but regardless of who is under center, Paul Guenther’s group is going to have to find a way to keep their offense out of the end zone.
Especially when your defense is as good as the Bears is, you don’t need to put up 40 points a week for a chance at coming out the victor, so the Silver and Black will have a big challenge in front of them at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Gareon Conley vs. Allen Robinson
Through the first quarter of the season, Allen Robinson has been far and away the best receiver for the Bears.
With 280 yards, and 24 receptions, Robinson leads the Chicago offense in both metrics, in fact, his 24 targets are ten more than anyone else on the roster as well, so it’s safe to say, the athletic wide receiver is key to the team’s passing attack.
Take a look at the top photos from the Raiders' matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Regardless of whether it’s Trubisky or Daniel throwing him the football, the Raiders would be well served to take Robinson away and force the Bears to be one dimensional on offense.
A task that’s easier said than done, but one that will need to be accomplished for Gareon Conley and the rest of the team to fly back to America with a record over .500.