The return of the Mack is here and this ain’t an Andrew Yang rally. The Raiders are lucky this game is in London and not Oakland. Khalil Mack’s return to the Bay would be nuts especially if the Bears win and/or Mack dominates.
Imagine Khalil Mack getting by Kolton Miller and saying I’m so glad we’re not on the same team, get better. Imagine him telling Brown this is what you gave all that money to?
The reality is, Mack probably doesn’t really even care. There are only 11 players who played with Mack on the Raiders. One of those players is Derek Carr.
What happens if Carr is dead to rights by Mack? Does Carr slide or take a knee? When Mack does sack his former teammate does he help out his bro?
They’ve been publicly nice to each other on social and things didn’t end bad with them. We still have never seen them play against each other.
The real beef lies with Jon Gruden who won’t actually play in the game. Gruden is the one who saw that Mack was traded. Gruden was the one who said he wanted Mack. Gruden is also the one who said he never met Mack not to long ago. It’s business but business is more fun when you get to prove people wrong.
Expect Mack to go full beast mode. I’d expect at least a couple of sacks and maybe a turnover.
The Raiders will do their best to make sure anyone but Mack beats them. That’s how good Mack is though. He can get doubled team and still change the game himself or free everyone else up. I know watching every game of his first four seasons.
I got into an argument at a bar last week. If the Raiders had Mack and Cooper they would be a playoff team. Mo Hurst, Arden Key and Clelin Ferrell are the exact complimentary players Mack never had in Oakland.
Tell me we couldn’t use Amari Cooper right now too. You can argue his motivation to stay in Oakland but don’t argue his impact on the field.
That’s why this game feels personal. This is the first time we will play Khalil Mack. Mack was nothing but a Raider. He played hard, he led by example and he changed games. He came to work every day and is arguably the best draft pick in team history. We shipped that off for Josh Jacobs.
No disrespect to Jacobs. He is balling right now and I’m glad he is here. However, Gruden upset what had already been a treacherous rebuild. We were only 3/4 through a franchise reconstruction before Gruden put the Raiders through another retool.
As much as we all want the Raiders to win, get over .500 and build some momentum, I think there is all a small part of us that wants Mack to stick it to Gruden and the Raiders. Remember, the Silver and Black are leaving Oakland after this year. You’re telling me they didn’t want two more seasons of Khalil? You’re telling me they don’t want to see Mack single-handling beat Gruden just a little?
You’re lying. Once a Raider, always a Raider.
The point is, this will be a can’t miss game for Raiders faithful. Get up early. Besides, the Bears always play us really tight. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is a very close game.
How do the Raiders win?
Upfront, naturally. All eyes should be on Miller and Brown. Both got to finish the game versus a tough Bears defense that ranks in the top five for scoring.
Oakland is going to need to exert their will with Jacobs and the run game. That will help neutralize the Bears rush.
Nonetheless, Tyrell Williams is questionable for this game. Oakland will have a tough time stretching the field without their best receiver. Darren Waller is going to get a lot of throws.
On defense, the Raiders face a similar challenge as Ferrell will probably miss the game due to a concussion last week. Oakland can not let the Bears get in sync like they allowed Minnesota a few weeks ago. Chicago’s offense is bad this year so the Raiders can’t get exposed by them.
That means this game is on the front seven. They’ll have to stop the run without Marquel Lee or Vontaze Burfict. Lee is on IR and Burfict suspended for the year. The D-line also needs to do their part in the run plus push Mitch Trubisky into bad decisions. Defensive backs got to tackle too and limit big run plays or yards after the catch.
In the end, this is a winnable game for the Raiders. It depends what team shows up. Will the Raiders come out fast like last week versus the Colts? Or will they come out dazed from the jump like versus the Vikings?
We will see. Carr and Gruden got to get these guys up. We all know Mack will do his best to get his guys going.