Week 5 of the NFL season brings us the first London game of the year as the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders head across the pond to do battle at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It’s the 25th NFL game being played in London since the league began scheduling regular-season contests outside of the USA in 2007 and one which certainly catches the eye following wins for both sides last weekend.
The Raiders will be coming into this one on the back of something of an upset in Week 4 having beaten the Indianapolis Colts 31-24 and might fancy their chances with the Bears fielding backup quarterback Chase Daniel following an injury to starter Mitch Trubisky last week.
Trubisky suffered a dislocated shoulder in the opening drive of the Bears’ 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, a victory which took them to 2-1 for the season as they look to recover from an opening week defeat to Green Bay.
For this reason the Bears will once again be hoping that their defence will do the business having allowed the second-fewest points per game in the league with 11.3, trailing only the New England Patriots.
The defence has also generated more negative yardage than any other team with -168 and has not allowed a run of more than 20 yards in any of the Bears’ first four games.
Stopping the opposition running game has been key to this dominance, as the team has allowed the third-fewest rushing yards per game with 61.5.
Turnovers has also been key to the Bears’ defence so far this season, forcing four sacks against the Vikings along while Khalil Mack is tied for the league-high with four forced fumbles this season.
Stripping the ball from unsuspecting quarterbacks has always been a part of the linebacker’s game who has forced more fumbles in a season and four games in Chicago than he did in his previous four seasons in Oakland, with 10.
As for the Raiders little was expected of them in 2019 but they already find themselves 2-2 thanks to surprise wins over the Broncos and the Colts though this encounter will be something of a greater challenge.
They enter week five with the 21st ranked offence in both points and yards while their passing game ranks 26th in yards and their rushing attack ninth.
The Raiders’ hopes might rest on getting off to a good start having scored opening drive touchdowns twice this season and on their opening drive three times; they’ve even outscored opponents 31-14 in the first quarter of games this year.
Even so, their offensive stats don’t make great reading as their passing game ranks 26th in the league in yards, while their rushing attack ranks ninth – meaning, overall, the Raiders are ranked 21st in both points and yards; though one positive has been rookie Josh Jacobs with 307 yards and two touchdowns.
The last time these two met was in week four of the 2015 season, a game which the Bears won 22-20 as Robbie Gould kicked a field goal with 7 seconds left, but things were very different then.
The Bears were 0-3 while the Raiders were 2-1, and despite there not being too much between the two sides in terms of their records after four games, it’s difficult to see this one being so tight this time around.
*Odds subject to change