2. How Will The Raiders and Bears Defenses Adjust Without Key Starters?
The Raiders received bad news Monday morning as Vontaze Berfict would be suspended for the remainder of the season after his vicious hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle. The Bears made a mysterious last-minute decision to make second-year stud defender Roquan Smith inactive and his return is up in the air, although he committed to playing Wednesday in a meeting with the press. The Raiders are without first round pick Johnathan Abram, who is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, while the Bears’ standout defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is likely to sit. Don’t forget the Bears are probably without franchise quarterback Mitchell Trubisky thanks to a shoulder injury and Raiders signal caller Derek Carr is questionable with a lower leg injury that even required X-Rays Sunday evening.
With so many players out, the trip to London could very well play as a get-to-know-each-other vacation, as much as it is a work trip. The Bears defense did well without their starters last week, holding the Minnesota Vikings to just six points and 40 rushing yards with six sacks and two forced fumbles. The Colts started creeping in late last week before Erik Harris’s 30-yard pick-6 with two minutes remaining in the game and the Raiders up just a score.
While Chicago’s defense didn’t seem to skip a beat, the lack of Trubisky under center could eventually pose a problem for the Bears. Backup Chase Daniel was 1-1 last season when Trubisky was out with a shoulder injury, losing a stinker to the New York Giants that ended up costing the Bears a first round playoff bye. Carr is expected to play, which gives the Raiders an advantage under center…if the offensive line can keep Mack away from his former teammate and friend in London.