When the Chicago Bears defense comes to town on Sunday, they will be bringing a familiar face with them. While the return of Khalil Mack looms, the Bears defense has loads of talent that the Las Vegas Raiders need to focus on.
Jaylon Johnson (Cornerback)
One of the more underrated players in the league, Johnson is blossoming into a shutdown corner in Chicago. A second-round pick in 2020, Johnson will be matched up with fellow 2020 draftees Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards often tomorrow. That does not bode well for the Raiders as Johnson has allowed a 42.7 passer rating when in coverage this season. With an 81.1 grade from Pro Football Focus, the Raiders will have their hands full dealing with Johnson. That will also be a good test for Ruggs as he continues to prove he is one of the best young pass-catchers in the NFL.
Robert Quinn (Edge Rusher)
The “other” part of Chicago’s pass-rushing tandem, Quinn has been exemplary so far. Long known as one of the NFL’s resident artists, Robert Quinn surprised many when he posted just two sacks in 2020. However, through four games in 2021, he is already up to 4.5.
A rejuvenated Quinn will be a lot for left tackle Kolton Miller to handle on Sunday. If Miller can prove he is up to the task, it will significantly boost the Raiders’ chances of winning. Alas, expect this matchup to be split pretty evenly. That is because Carr will be forced outside of the pocket often again in this one.
Khalil Mack (Edge Rusher)
Where to even begin? Traded away amid a contract dispute in the 2018 offseason, Mack landed in Chicago. Now he returns to the face the same coach often cited as the reason for his departure. To say the Raiders still feel the ramifications from this trade is an understatement. On the field, Mack has recorded 30 sacks since leaving the Raiders and already has four in 2021.
The Raiders are also preparing for this matchup through personnel changes. After watching Leatherwood get beat up by Joey Bosa on Monday, the Raiders have decided to move him inside to guard. That means Mack will often be matched up with the often maligned Brandon Parker at right tackle. While the Raiders have seen Mack before in London, this time promises to be different. This time, “52” will play in front of the fans who watched him grow as a rookie, a Defensive Player of the Year, and a beloved figure in Raiders history. This will be a game that promises to be emotional for both sides.
*Top Photo: Quinn Harris/Getty Images