Position-by-Position Breakdown for Bears vs. Raiders
|Saturday, October 9, 2021, 8:48 AM- -|
The 2-2 Bears travel to Las Vegas to play the 3-1 Raiders. The Bears are coming off a win, while the Raiders are fresh off a loss after a surprising 3-0 start.
Let’s dive into each position group and see where Chicago may have an advantage:
The Bears FINALLY named Justin Fields the permanent starter and the distractions around who the starter will be in Chicago are finally put to rest. Fields looked very good last week against a bad Lions team. Even though he did not account for a touchdown, there were many impressive downfield throws made which has not been seen in a Bears offense for quite some time. Rookie mistakes will understandably continue to be made, but now that Fields is QB1, he can learn from those in real-time. Derek Carr will be the starting QB for the Raiders and has had an MVP caliber start to the season. He leads the league in total passing yards and has turned this Raiders offense into a very high-powered one.
David Montgomery being out with a knee injury is a huge blow to Chicago, but luckily he avoided a major injury and will be back this season. Damien Williams will take on a much bigger role and has proved he can handle it with his past stop in Kansas City, helping them win a Super Bowl. Rookie Khalil Herbert will get involved in the offense now too, and don’t be surprised if he gets a good amount of touches as the weeks go on. The Raiders have two backs in Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake that are very productive. Josh Jacobs is considered one of the better running backs in the league, and Drake himself was a starter in Arizona before joining the raiders this year. The Raiders have leaned on the passing game through the first four games, but they have the backs to be a productive running team as well.
The Raiders have some weapons at wide receiver that have looked very good this season. Henry Ruggs is one of the faster guys in the league and is a home run threat every play. Hunter Renfroe is as solid of a slot receiver you can ask for and Bryan Edwards has stepped up as well. The Bears were finally able to drive the ball downfield last week and Darnell Mooney was the biggest beneficiary. He started the game with a 64 yard catch and ended up with 125 yards on the game. I would like to Allen Robinson get more involved, and I expect that to happen starting this week. The Bears also traded for speedster Jakeem Grant this week and he can play a role in this offense as a gadget guy.
I hope I am wrong, but I am starting to think Cole Kmet might just not be a good player. He continues to be a no show in the passing game catching only one pass for six yards. Jimmy Graham is also getting paid a ton of money to not contribute on offense. Maybe with Bill Lazor being the play caller he will start working them into the gameplan more. The Raiders have their best overall player at tight end with Darren Waller. Although he is listed as a tight end they use him spread out wide quite a bit too and he is Derek Carr’s favorite target, already having 40 targets on the year.
The Bears made the adjustments they needed with the offensive line to have a competent offense last week. It helps that they played a bad Lions defense, but it was still good to see the offense run the ball effectively and give Fields some time to throw. The Raiders line is completely revamped from last year but is still solid. Rookie Alex Leatherwood has been penalty-prone thus far, but they have done a good job overall at protecting Carr and running the ball.
Eddie Goldman does not have an injury designation this week and should make his season debut. It could not come at a better time with Akiem Hicks leaving last week’s game early with a groin injury. There is word on if he will be available this week, but he has not participated in practice yet, so it does not look great. The defensive line for the Raiders has been solid all year, with Maxx Crosby leading the way. Crosby has been a force, and the bears will need to slow him down to have success on offense. Due to injuries, I am giving a slight edge to the Raiders.
Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn have been one of the better linebacker tandems in the league early this year, having 8.5 sacks combined. Roquan Smith continues to be great, and Alec Ogletree has been a big addition. The Raiders probably have their biggest hole for their team with the linebacker group. Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton will be active and are fast linebackers, and former Bear Nick Kwiatkoski has lost a step.
The Chicago secondary played well last week, but not great. They will be tested more this week facing Derek Carr and will need to play well if the Bears want to win. Jaylon Johnson is due for an interception and I think he gets one this week. The Raiders have a solid secondary led by Casey Heyward Jr. at CB and Jonathan Abram at safety. This is a very even race here, but if the good Eddie Jackson shows up I give a slight edge to the Bears.
Kicker Cairo Santos is still perfect on the year for the Bears. The trade for the speedy Jakeem Grant will likely make him the new returner. Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson is a very good kicker, making 9 of his 10 FG attempts this year. I am giving the edge to Chicago here until Santos misses a kick.