In numerology, No. 4 represents conscientiousness plus responsibility, and those infused with its energy possess a keen sense of focus. Well, this weekend in London, both teams’ quarterbacks wear the No. 4 jersey and will have to raise their “focus” in order to win on Sunday. The Raiders’ No. 4, Derek Carr, will most definitely have to concentrate on a Bears’ defense that allows only 11.2 points per contest. While Chicago’s No. 4, Chase Daniel, must raise his level of awareness against an Oakland defense that’s had an entire week to prepare for his skillset.
Each team’s No. 4 at quarterback faces scrutiny that might be best bridged in London by using P.A.W.S. (Predictive Analysis With Stats) to alleviate their concerns.
Derek Carr was selected in the second round (36th overall) of the 2014 NFL draft by the Raiders, and during his six seasons has become their all-time leading passer (19,627 yards). Paid like a franchise quarterback, Carr and the Raiders have only had one winning campaign and one playoff appearance during his tenure.
Oakland’s lack of success doesn’t lie solely at Carr’s feet, because the absence of continuity is reflective in the number of coaches (four) he’s had since being drafted. Carr is currently on his fourth head coach (Jon Gruden) and the team is showing some progress with a 2-2 record.
As a starting NFL quarterback, Carr has proven to be an above-average talent with solid numbers to complement his abilities and accomplishments. In 82 games played he’s completed 63.2 percent of his passes, thrown 128 touchdowns to 57 interceptions, and captained 16 game-winning drives. Ranking 11th in the league in “money throws” – passes requiring exceptional skill and execution of critical throws in clutch moments – Carr has also completed 78.6 percent of his attempts in the red zone for a total of six touchdown tosses.
Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams has caught four touchdown passes from Carr, and as a team Oakland ranks fourth in the NFL with a low rate of incompletions per game (nine).
Despite a modicum of improvements on offense, the defensive side of the ball is surrendering an average 25.2 points per game. Such a lackluster unit places increased pressure on Carr and the Raiders’ offense, as they square off against Chicago’s No. 2 ranked defense. Leading the 2019 version of the Monsters of the Midway is former Raiders’ first-round selection Khalil Mack, with his four quarterback hits and 4.5 sacks.
The Bears as a team average 4.2 sacks per contest and are fourth in the league in sack percentage at 9.66. Last season, the Raiders were the fourth-most sacked team in the league, so facing a ferocious pass rush like Chicago’s can be disconcerting, to say the least.
Besides generating pressure on passers, Chicago is also adept at forcing turnovers on an elite level. Mack is tied for first in the NFL in forced fumbles with four, while defensive backs Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Kyle Fuller have a total of four interceptions this season. Conversely, the Raiders are fourth-worst at creating takeaways with a paltry 0.8 forced turnovers per game. Oakland’s lack of identity on defense is something Daniel must readily identify and exploit in order to secure a victory this Sunday.
Ironically, the Bears are Chase Daniel’s fourth NFL team he’s played for, yet he’s only started four games in his ten-year career. Over those four games he’s completed 67.7 percent of his passes, with four touchdowns thrown in two wins and two losses. Mixed results from career backups are to be expected, but if the Bears are to challenge for an NFC crown, Daniel must take advantage of a Raiders’ pass rush that ranks 31st overall in team sack percentage.
Daniel proved to be a solid game manager last week against the Vikings, completing 73.3 percent of his passes and tossing a touchdown. Much like the Raiders’ defense, the Bears’ offense has struggled to forge an identity and progress in a decisive manner. This weekend presents an excellent opportunity for Chase to utilize his 10 years of experience and direct Chicago’s offense towards their fourth win in five games.
Mack may be the only person that wants to beat the Raiders more than the Bears and their fans. To insure a win across the Atlantic on Sunday, the Bears must:
-Maintain or increase their 4.2 sacks per game (No. 3 in the NFL)
-Force more incompletions between Carr and his receivers (Carr has completed 72.1 percent of his passes for third in the NFL)
-Score repeatedly on an anemic defense that is allowing 25.2 points per game (ranked 24th in the league)