The Oakland Raiders and Chicago Bears are set to do battle Saturday night at Soldier Field in Chicago. Both teams are looking to improve on disappointing seasons last year. The silver and black made a significant upgrade at quarterback, adding Jason Campbell from Washington. Da Bears added defensive superstar Julius Peppers from Carolina, underrated running back Chester Taylor from Minnesota, and look forward to a healthy Brian Urlacher. 2010 promises to be a better season for both clubs.
The Bears opened as a 2 ½ point favorite, but as you can see on our NFL betting odds page, most books are now listing the game as pick, with a few giving the Raiders a single point. At the same time, the public is playing the Bears at about a 70% clip, depending upon the sportsbook. This is the type of action I like to look for. The public is trending one way, the line is moving the opposite. Wiseguys are the reason.
The Chicago Bears are coming off a disappointing game against the San Diego Chargers, which they lost 25-10. Jay Cutler looked good in limited action. Only playing one series, Cutler was 2-2 for 47 yards. Backup Caleb Hanie played well enough, going 10-17 with 147 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Unfortunately for the Bears, Hanie was forced to leave the game with a sprained shoulder and will not play against the Raiders. On Wednesday the Bears signed Matt Gutierrez to play behind Cutler and rookie Dan LeFevour out of Central Michigan. In other words, after Cutler gets a few series, a rookie and recently signed free agent will manage the majority of the game.
To make matters worse, the Bears offensive line yielded 6 sacks against the Chargers. Unproven quarterbacks and a porous offensive line spell trouble for Bears backers.
The Raiders looked impressive on defense against the Cowboys in Dallas, winning 17-9. The Cowboys took the ball inside the Raider 16 yard line on 4 different occasions, but managed only 3 field goals. The Raiders bent, but did not break. Helping the Raider cause was 4 sacks against Tony Romo and company. Being strong in the redzone and active in the opponent’s backfield, the Oakland Raiders defense is poised to pounce on the bumbling Bears offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Raider offense underperformed against a riled-up Dallas defense. After being shut out for 3 ½ quarters, the Raiders piled up 17 points in the last 5 minutes of the game to come out of big D with a big W. Campbell and backup Kyle Boller played the whole game for Oakland, perhaps foreshadowing head coach Tom Cable’s preseason philosophy this year. Although Campbell struggled in his first outing with Oakland, Boller looked especially comfortable once Dallas pulled their starters. After engineering a 13 play, 80 yard touchdown drive, the Raiders took their next possession down the field for a 24 yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. A late interception was returned for the game’s final score.
After their games last week, the two head coaches offer glimpses into the collective mindsets of the two teams. For Cable, “The thing that jumped out at me here is we just continue to keep battling. A lot of things to be excited about, a lot of work to do still, but with the spirit of the team, I think we’re in a place we need to be.” For Bears coach Lovie Smith, “We have a lot of work to do, a long ways to go to be the type of football team we’re going to be. But it is a start.”
We do have a pick on this game as well as a few other preseason games on Saturday. For our opinions consider purchasing our expert nfl picks package for today.