(CBS Local) — This Oakland Raiders team is nothing if not inconsistent. Just look at the last two weeks, which saw them sputter against the Minnesota Vikings and then rise up against the Indianapolis Colts. Two weeks ago they managed just seven points in the first half; last week three of their first four drives made it to the end zone.
Which Raiders team will show up in London to face the Chicago Bears this Sunday?
This team has the offensive weapons and offensive system to score points week in and week out. “But it’s so inconsistent,” acknowledges Ray Lewis, Inside The NFL analyst and former NFL player. “Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down. Sometimes, they go into games, and it’s like, ‘what are the Raiders doing?’ And then they come out, like last week, and they go and beat the Colts, and it’s like ‘where has this offense been?'”
Their Week 4 win over the Colts was the latter. The running game accounted for 188 yards of offense, with rookie running back Josh Jacobs, the first-rounder out of Alabama, turning in another nice performance. Derek Carr still seemed a little confined in the passing game, going 21-31 for 189 yards. Nevertheless, two of those receptions went for touchdowns, and a potential third was dropped. Wide receiver Tyrell Williams was to blame though he did catch his fourth TD in four games.
“They have some pieces,” in Lewis’s estimation. “But it’s a lot of unfamiliar faces in different places. And that’s crucial, when you’re talking about how to get a rhythm going on offense. Because you have to be comfortable with who you’re going to and where you find them.”
Repetition breeds familiarity, as the thinking goes. So hopefully this Raiders offense can settle in and let Carr take a few more shots down the field. They won’t keep pace with high-flying Kansas City Chiefs by playing it conservatively. And without one of their foremost defenders — Vontaze Burfict has been suspended for the season because of a helmet-to-helmet hit — the Raiders offense will have to carry more of the load.
“I think they have enough offensively,” says Lewis. But can they leverage it in Week 5?
The Raiders play the Bears in London this Sunday @ 10 a.m. PT.
You can catch Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and host James Brown when Inside The NFL airs tonight at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Showtime.