After the Lions impressive start to the season they have a bye in week 5. The Packers face a difficult trip to Dallas to face the Cowboys, with the Vikings traveling to New York to face the Giants. The Bears return to London for the first time in eight years, as they face the Oakland Raiders at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders
The Chicago Bears return to London for the first time since 2011. In 2011, they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18. With Jay Cutler leading the offense and running back Matt Forte dominating, rushing for 145 yards including a touchdown.
When discussing this matchup, it is hard not to mention Khalil Mack. The former Raider faces his former team for the first time since being traded to the Bears in 2018. The line-backer helped the bears win the NFC North last season with a 12-4 record. Since the trade Mack has one less sack (17) than the entire Raiders defense combined (18). And Mack would love nothing more than putting one over his former teammates and leaving London with the win.
Key players for a Bears win
As it has been for most of the season the Bears defense and especially Mack will be vital to a Bears win. However, it is on the offensive side of the ball where the Bears have struggled. This is made worse by the injury to starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky last week against the Vikings. Despite the setback, back up QB Chase Daniels led the Bears to a 16-6 win over the Vikings. Daniels will look to target wide receiver Allen Robinson who averaged 11 yards per reception against the Vikings.
Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich may look to the run game and rookie David Montgomery against the Raiders. The Raiders defense allowed 211 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, two weeks ago vs the Vikings.
Oakland Raiders in London
The Raiders have played two London series games since 2007, winning one and losing one. They first played in London in 2014 when they lost to the Miami Dolphins 38-14. Their only victory in London came against the Houston Texans when they won 27-20.
Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
The two teams come into week 5 with similar starts to the season. Both sides won their first three games before disappointing defeats in week 4. The Packers fell to a 27-34 defeat to the Eagles. Whereas, the Cowboys made too many mistakes in their 12-10 defeat to the New Orleans Saints. The two teams will be looking to get back on track in what could be one of the games of the weekend.
The Packers have been dealt a blow on offense with wide receiver Devante Adams ruled out with a toe injury. Before leaving the field, last week Adams had 10 receptions for 180 yards. This could see second year WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling being Aaron Rodgers main target. Valdes-Scantling was Rodgers go to man in the win over the Broncos in week 3. With the WR averaging 16.5 yards per reception including a touchdown. They will also hope for more from running back Aaron Jones in the run game. The RB only made 21 yards from 13 carries last week against the Eagles.
The Packers come up against Ezekiel Elliott, the highest paid running back in the league. The RB has scored three touchdowns in the first four games and has two 100+ rushing yard games so far. Quarterback, Dak Prescott also has threats in the air with wide receiver Amari Cooper and experienced tight end Jason Witten. WR Cooper, has four touchdowns this season and Witten has two. Tight end Witten returns to the NFL after announcing his retirement in 2018.
Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants
It’s been a mixed start to the season for the Vikings who sit 2-2 and bottom of the NFC North. Their opponents have the same record but have won their last two games under new starting QB Daniel Jones. Jones replaced the experienced Eli Manning after they lost the first two games of the season.
The Vikings go to New York in search of their first road win of the season. The Vikings run game misfired last week against a strong Bears defense. Running back Dalvin Cook only ran for 35 yards from 14 carries and Mattison 5 yards from 2 carries. However, it is likely that head coach Mike Zimmer will continue to show faith in the run game with Cook second in the league for rushing yards.
Despite the defeat last week to the Bears there were signs of improvement from QB Kirk Cousins. Cousins threw for 233 yards with a passer rating of 91.5. Cousins also found success with wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs averaged 15.4 yards per reception against the Bears for 108 yards.
New York Giants
The Giants come into week 5 high on confidence after two successive victories. In his first NFL start Daniel Jones, led the Giants to a 32-31 road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then last week the Giants beat the Redskins 24-3 to go 2-2 for the season. The Giants will be without star running back Saquon Barkley for the second week in a row after suffering an ankle injury. Running back Wayne Gallman stepped in last week carrying the ball 18 times and scoring a touchdown. The Vikings will also have to be aware of the threat of tight end Evan Engram. Engram has a total of 331 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the season.
This NFC North guest article was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s a New Orleans Saints fan and you can find him on twitter at @jamiefarrin.
Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports