The Oakland Raiders looked much better in Week 4 as they managed to defeat the Indianapolis Colts on the road, 31-24, to move to 2-2 on the season.
Thanks to a hot start from Derek Carr and the offense that gave them an early 14-0 lead, the Raiders were able to snap a two-game losing streak and kept their early playoff hopes alive.
It is no secret that since Jon Gruden agreed to come back to the Silver and Black that it would take multiple years to rebuild the franchise properly. Perhaps no move was more evident of this idea than when the Raiders decided to trade star pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a bevy of draft picks.
Ahead of their Week 5 matchup where Mack will be facing his former team for the first time since the trade, he admitted that he has had this game on his mind for a while, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic:
Khalil Mack told Deion Sanders on NFL Network that facing the #Raiders this week "is a game I've been looking forward to. I can't lie. It's going to be a big one for me."
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 30, 2019
Mack has been nothing short of a superstar for the Bears as he has turned their defense into arguably the most feared and dominant unit in the league. Upon being traded to Chicago, Mack signed the most lucrative deal in NFL history for a defensive player and he has so far lived up to his contract.
The Raiders’ decision to part ways with one of the most dominant defensive players in football was widely criticized as players of Mack’s caliber do not come around very often. However, Oakland did manage to restock their draft capital and gave them the financial flexibility to address several needs on their roster.
While time will tell who ended up winning the trade, it is fair to say that the Raiders defense is still very clearly a work in progress. The unit took a positive step in Week 4 as they sealed the game with a pick-six, but will need more efforts like that if they hope to stay competitive in games.
Carr and the offense, on the other hand, will have their hands full when they take on Mack and the Bears. Chicago has once again locked down most of the teams they have faced so far and Gruden will need to find ways to get the ball out of his quarterback’s hands quickly to avoid their pass rush.