Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders Preview and Pick

Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders, Sunday, November 11th, 2007
by The Crazy Snake of

I really don’t understand the spread on this game. Has nobody yet realized how inept the Bears have become offensively? Defensively? Yet each time they line up, road or otherwise they get served to the punters giving up points, and often more than the obligatory field goal, too. Ok, so they meet the equally inept Raiders who have dwelt at the bottom of the AFC West for far too long now. But come on!

The Raiders have one of the better pass defenses in the league and have done for a while now. Sure they suck against the rush, but since the Bears traded Thomas Jones to the Jets, Cedric Benson has stunk it up royally. If he was ever going to make an impact on the Bears ailing season surely this would be the week. If he doesn’t, I cannot see the Bears mustering up enough offense to cover the points. Brian Griese just isn’t the answer. I know the Bears can’t go to Grossman. He was awful in the Superbowl and he totally lost whatever confidence he might have had. But Griese fills a hole and that’s about all. He isn’t, and was never going to be a longer term solution for this anemic offense.

And speaking of anemic, for a team whose prospects have been built on defense, this team has looked anything but the quality unit of last season. In fact, they have been relegated to 27th ranked in the league through a succession of poor performances fueled by the absence of Mike Brown and injury problems to Urlacher and Vasher. This team is on the ropes and no matter what the expectations, they are far from a cohesive and productive unit. I just don’t know on what basis anyone has them as road favorites of 3.5 points, even against a team like the Raiders.

The Bears even have a -10 turnover balance. That is totally unfamiliar for a team used to being on the plus side of that ledger. Last season they finished the regular season at +8 courtesy of their defense and this season they are -10. What does that tell us? It doesn’t help that Griese threw 4 picks against the Lions before the bye to tilt that number. But what it does tell us is that this team is well off their own pace of last season and almost certain to continue the horrendous run of Superbowl runners up in the season after their relative success. 6 of the past 7 Superbowl runners up have missed the playoffs in the following year!

For Oakland, Josh McCown took over for Daunte Culpepper, and despite a less than impressive opening last week, gets the nod again here. I can only assume the Raiders expect a significant improvement from him and have shown some faith. Justin Fargas has done a solid job as the second string RB from limited opportunities, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He is likely to get a significant workload here. La Mont Jordan only carried 4 times last week as Justin racked up 104 yards on 23 carries.

I can’t have the Bears. Coming off the bye they should be well rested and pumped up, but you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

The Snake’s Bite: +3.5 is a good number for Oakland here, all other things beings equal. I expect them to cover the spread and give them a better than even chance to win the game outright.