Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders
This week the Chicago Bears roll into Oakland without their “star” quarterback Jay Cutler. But, the bears don’t need Cutler to beat the inconsistent Oakland Raiders. Oakland is 6-4 and currently in first place in the feeble AFC West division. While the Raiders have looked good at times throughout the year, they are still finding their identity. There offense is beginning to adjust to the new quarterback and although they do not have a definitive number 1 receiver, they have an effective patchwork of speedy receivers who can do some damage if they get in space. But, nobody cares about Oakland’s passing game, the running game is the reason they sit atop the AFC West. Even without Darren McFadden, Michael Bush has taken over and not only salvaged my fantasy team, but also the Oakland football Raiders.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Chicago bears ain’t got no bubble gum defense! They may be ranked only 25th in yards given up per game, but against the run (where it matters) they have the 10th best defense in the league. And unlike the Minnesota Vikings, (whom the Raiders just beat) Chicago has a two-headed monster in the running game with Forte and Barber. These two will strain the Oakland defense and set up the unexpected passing game for Caleb Hanie. That’s right, the same Caleb Hanie who threw multiple interceptions in a game that ultimately sent the Green Bay Packers to the Superbowl. What most people forget is how Hanie led the Bears on 2 touchdown drives in that very same NFC championship game. He proved that he can throw the ball. He showed great football knowledge and gave a fearless performance.
So, here’s how it is going to go down go on Sunday in Oakland, California…
In a low scoring first half we’ll see more runs than the aftermath of a traditional Mexican meal. In the second half, things will get interesting. I expect the Mike Martz offense to begin throwing the ball more and more as Hanie gets comfortable. They may not take too many shots deep downfield, but will capitalize on short, quick hitting passes. This will effectively wear down the Oakland defense and lead to a fairly comfortable Chicago Bears win.
The Bears will not only cover the +4.5 spread, but WIN with Caleb Hanie at QB. The game will be just slightly UNDER the 41.5 point spread. I’m jumping on this opportunity with 2 units on the Bears with the points and one unit on the under! If you are into NFL parlay bets, I’d consider adding Chicago with the points to your parlay bets.