Game Overview ::
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- Jimmy Garoppolo missed practice Wednesday with a back injury suffered in Week 6 and appears likely to miss against the Bears.
- Rookie fifth-round quarterback Aidan O’Connell drew the start in the only other game Garoppolo missed this season and appears the likely starter against the Bears.
- Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs continues to miss practice and appears unlikely to go again in Week 7.
- Justin Fields suffered a thumb injury on his throwing hand that precludes him from firmly gripping the football – I would expect him to miss Week 7
- That leaves undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent in line to start for the Bears.
- Roschon Johnson did not practice Wednesday in the first session of the second week post-concussion – not a good sign.
- With Khalil Herbert on injured reserve and Travis Homer returning to a limited session, there are still a lot of moving pieces with the Chicago backfield.
How las vegas Will Try To Win ::
The Raiders have played with a slow pace (26th-ranked 29.3 seconds per play) and modest pass rates (17th-ranked pass rate over expectation and 32.7 pass attempts per game), most notably playing with the third highest rush rate over expectation in a Week 6 contest they controlled throughout against the Patriots, taking a 13-3 lead into the half. That’s an important consideration here, given the opponent, as the Bears should be starting undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent and should continue with injury concerns amongst the members of their backfield. Consider the Raiders a run-balanced offense in Week 7, likely to start fifth-round rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a back injury in Week 6. In other words, even though the matchup against the Bears clearly tilts expected volume to the air (fifth in yards allowed per carry and 17th in DVOA against the run but 31st in net yards allowed per pass and 30th in DVOA against the pass), we should expect Josh McDaniels to call a run-balanced game through muted efficiency.
Josh Jacobs maintains his status as one of the few remaining true workhorse backs in the league but has struggled mightily to start the season. His 2.9 true yards per carry ranks 63rd (lolz), his 3.9 yards per touch ranks 38th, he has just two breakaway runs on 107 carries (1.9 percent breakaway run rate), and his 15.9 percent juke rate ranks 37th. Even so, his robust role in this offense and elite pass game usage (his 35 targets are the most in the league at running back) have led to the second most expected fantasy points per game at 19.9, a full five points per game higher than his current average of 14.9. The matchup on the ground is not ideal against a Bears team ceding just 1.10 yards before contact per rush, which surprisingly ranks second in the league through six weeks. But again, the volume should be there for Jacobs in this spot. Ameer Abdullah should continue to serve as the primary change of pace back for an offense that has utilized 21-personnel at an above-average rate, albeit most of which comes through fullback Jakob Johnson’s ebb-and-flow role.
The Raiders’ pass offense is an interesting study. The team started the season feeding most of the volume through Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers but has since made a concerted effort to get rookie tight end Michael Mayer more heavily involved early in the game. Hunter Renfrow has fallen from grace and managed a season-low 10 percent snap rate in Week 6. Reports have surfaced that the team is looking to move the veteran slot man. And then we have the disgruntled Adams, who told reporters this week that his “benchmark is not wins and losses, it’s greatness.” Adams was outspoken this week about his low 20 percent first-read target rate over the previous two games, a span where he has seen just nine combined targets. A lot of that is likely most attributable to his opponents in those games actively scheming additional coverage to Adams, as his former team (Packers) and Bill Belichick effectively removed him from those games. That’s an interesting setup because the Bears have nobody on the roster that can contend with Adams, nor have they actively utilized an island scheme designed to remove an opposing player from any game this season. Add all that up, and we have an unquestioned first-ballot Hall of Fame wide receiver who has been outspoken about his recent role in the offense in a cake matchup through the air. The biggest problem is that Josh McDaniels has been stubborn in his offensive approach this season, but that could change in a flash if he attempts to quell the concerns of his alpha wide receiver.