We’re a little under a quarter of the way through this year’s NFL season, and NFL betting trends are starting to form. Hot teams are separating themselves from the pack, and several intriguing divisional races are still waiting to play out. Bettors are also beginning to figure out what players they can count on as the season progresses.
The Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears play this coming Sunday, and some players on both teams are poised to steal the show.
Here are some standout players to watch when the Bears and Raiders square off NFL Week 5.
1. Keep an Eye on Derek Carr
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is having an excellent season thus far, due in large part to his poise under pressure and the fact that his team is genuinely buying into his play and Jon Gruden’s philosophies.
Going into the Raiders’ matchup this week with the Bears, Carr had already racked up eight touchdowns, 1,399 passing yards, and a 98.1 passer rating.
The Bears defense has allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season, meaning Carr is very capable of carving them up.
2. The Bears Starting Quarterback (Whoever That May Be)
The Bears’ handling of rookie quarterback Justin Fields is a situation to watch for the rest of this season. While there aren’t significant expectations for him to light it up soon, how the coaching staff handles his development could create some serious drama.
Thus far, Fields hasn’t thrown for any touchdowns and has two interceptions. He has rushed for one touchdown in a backup role and most recently got his first professional win — his second start, in which Fields went 11 for 17 with 209 passing yards. While significantly better than his first start, Field’s game last week wasn’t awe-inspiring either.
Meanwhile, Andy Dalton is still listed as questionable with a knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. Dalton could give the team their best chance to win now, but he would become a stationary target for the Raider’s defense with limited mobility.
Coach Matt Nagy has yet to name Fields the starter against the Raiders, going back and forth between Dalton and the rookie. The quarterback situation in Chicago is a mess that could cost Nagy his job if he doesn’t fix it soon.
3. Darren Waller is an Outstanding Target at Tight End
In terms of receiving targets, tight end Darren Waller has become one of Derek Carr’s favorites. In the season opener, Waller received 19 targets with ten grabs and a touchdown.
In his next two games, Waller hauled in five receptions in each game, with 65 and 54 yards, respectively. Last week against the Lions, he had four receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. He’s a big-bodied tight end with plenty of elusiveness and soft hands.
Against a Bears defense that gives up touchdowns, I believe that Waller will find the end zone, particularly in red zone situations.
Tune In to Watch the Raiders and the Bears
This week’s Raiders game will have a buzz to it, and the players above are worth keeping an eye on. Week 5 should have some quality matchups, and the Bears traveling to Las Vegas is an excellent one to watch.
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