Chicago Bears (2-2) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-1)
Kickoff: 3:05 p.m., Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
The Line: Raiders by 5 1/2 (Over/Under 41 1/2); SI Betting Info and trends on game
BearDigest's Pick: Raiders 26, Bears 24
BearDigest Record to date: 4-0 vs. the spread, 4-0 straight up
TV: Fox (Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn)
TV Streaming: CBS on fuboTV, free trial.
Radio: WBBM-AM 780, FM-105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Spanish Radio: TUDN AM-1200, Latino Mix FM-93.5 (Omar Ramos, Miguel Esparza)
The Series: This is the 16th matchup. The Raiders lead the series 8-7. The Raiders won the last game in London in 2019, 24-21, and the teams have split the last four games.
The Coaches: Bears coach Matt Nagy is 30-22 in his fourth season and has an 0-2 record in the postseason.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden is 117-111 in 15 seasons, including 60-56 withe Raiders in eight seasons. He is 5-4 in the playoffs, 5-2 against the Bears and 1-0 against Nagy.
Last Week: The Bears defeated the Detroit Lions in Justin Fields' first home-field start in the regular season. He went 11 of 17 for 209 yards, including a 64-yard pass to Darnell Mooney. Running back David Montgomery ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns before suffering a knee sprain. Running back Damien Williams had the other Bears TD.
The Raiders lost at Los Angeles to the Chargers 28-14 on Monday Night Football. They trailed 21-0 before making a second-half rally and then suffering their first defeat. They were held to 213 net yards in the game, just 48 on the ground. Derek Carr went 21 of 34 for 196 yards with two TDs and an interception and was sacked four times. Hunter Renfrow had six catches for 45 yards and a TD and Darren Waller four receptions for 50 yards and a TD.
The Bears are defensive end Akiem Hicks (knee) and running back David Montgomery (IR, knee). Linebacker Danny Trevathan has been activated from injured reserve.
The Raiders are without cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen (toe) and Damon Arnette (groin) and tight end Derek Carrier (pectoral).
What to Watch: Fields has been made the No. 1 quarterback going forward and this is his first game without thinking Andy Dalton would take over after his injured knee heels. Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards Jr. face their former team. The Bears haven't had to play without Montgomery. Replacement Damien Williams helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl as their main ball carrier in postseason in the 2019 season. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney comes into this game off his biggest day yardage-wise with 125 yards on five catches. The Bears' last road win was in December over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Raiders haven't finished above .500 since before Gruden returned to coach in 2018 but their 3-0 start has fueled hope. Carr has thrown two touchdown passes in every game this year and in five straight overall and his 98.1 passer rating is just off his ratings of 100.8 and 101.4 of the last two years.
Matching Up: The Bears are 32nd (last) on offense, 32nd in passing and ninth in rushing. They are 12th on defense, 15th against the pass and 14th against the run.
The Raiders are sixth on offense, second in passing and 27th in rushing. They are 19th on defense, 13th against the pass and 23rd against the run.
Notable: The Bears lead the NFL with 15 sacks and 14 of them came in the last three weeks. ... Edge rusher Robert Quinn has 4 1/2 sacks and is second in fumbles forced (28) among active players (Chris Chandler, 29). ... Cornerback Jaylon Johnson is tied for second in pass defenses with six. ... Roquan Smith has 40 tackles, sixth-highest amount in the league. ... Tight end Jimmy Graham has one reception on the season after making 50 last season. ... Punter Pat O'Donnell is second in the NFL in gross punting average (50.7). ... Raiders RB Josh Jacobs had 143 combined yards in the last win over the Bears. ... Raiders TE Darren Waller is tied for first in the NFL among tight ends in receptions (24). ... Linebacker Corey Littleton has at least nine tackles in five of his past six games. ... DE Maxx Crosby has 10 1/2 sacks and 17 TFLs in his 18 career home games.
Key Individual Matchups
Bears DB Duke Shelley vs. Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow
In the Monday night loss, ESPN focused much of the time on Renfrow and his double or triple moves. As much as they made of him, Renfrow hasn't been much more effective than Anthony Miller was as slot receiver for the Bears in his production. However, Renfrow is quite the technician and if Carr is given time or buys time with his feet, then the possession receiver can make the plays to extend drives. Renfrow has 22 catches for 249 yards. Of those, 12 have gone for first downs. He had 49 and 50 receptions in his first two seasons. The fear the Bears should have is the matchup because Shelley hasn't been effective in actual coverage, although he usually manages to drag the receiver down. He has given up 16 completions in 19 targets (84.2%) according to Sportradar, the official stat partner of the NFL. His passer rating against when targeted is 104.6. Shelley is coming off one of his better games since taking over this nickel back slot from Buster Skrine. The Bears have to hope it was a sign of progress. Some slot receivers pose great speed or size disadvantages for Shelley, who is 5-foot-9, 176 pounds. But Renfrow isn't one of those at 5-10, 185 and with 4.59-second speed in the 40. It's the route running where he specializes.
Bears S Tashaun Gipson vs. Raiders TE Darren Waller
The Bears are predominantly a cover-3 or quarters zone defense and so individual matchups with tight ends only really exist when they have to match up in passing situations or when teams go with four- or five-receiver sets. But when offenses do this, it's usually not with an emphasis on the tight end. In fact, they might not even have a tight end on the field. It's different with the Raiders because Waller is out there always as their best target. Just like last week for the Bears with Detroit's tight end T.J. Hockenson, Waller will be catching throws all over the field and not just short areas. The Bears will have to defend him in their zone everywhere. When they do match up, Gipson could draw Waller and this is a mismatch. Gipson is coming off a hamstring pull and is 31 years old. Waller has struggled over the last three games after getting off to a spectacular start against Baltimore with 10 catches, after he made 197 catches over the past two seasons. The Bears were one of the few teams able to cover him well in 2019, as they allowed him only four receptions for 39 yards. But that was when they had either Ha Ha Clinton Dix or Eddie Jackson covering Waller. One possible play might be to put Jackson on Waller all over the field on third downs, but then they'd be left with Gipson covering the deep middle coming off an injury—probably not a good situation when Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs was the fastest man at the 2020 combine. Another danger the Bears have is in their short zones, Waller could get matched up instead on Shelley and this would also be a problem in numerous ways.
Bears LT Jason Peters vs. Raiders DE Maxx Crosby
If Pro Football Focus is to be believed, Crosby is the best edge player in the game now. He is rated No. 1, a position Khalil Mack had last year. Yet, Crosby has just two sacks. He does generate pressure and has 13 quarterback hits. At 6-5, 255 pounds, Crosby has good speed (4.66) for someone his size, and he plays to the echo of the whistle. His pressure often comes from not quitting. Peters is 39 and had real problems in the last Bears road game trying to handle Myles Garrett, who is graded behind Crosby by PFF. Grading Crosby better than Garrett really requires some imagination. Crosby doesn't have the kind of speed Garrett has and this could allow Peters to make use of his hands in pass protection and prevent a rush from far to the outside, which is where he has had his problems. Last week Peters showed you don't need to be young to run block. He put on a clinic in the first half with his ability to use his size and leverage to overpower. He'll need to do something like this again against an edge who isn't necessarily at his best using his strength. Peters has been anything but a disappointment as PFF gives him the eighth-best grade average among tackles but he has looked bad on occasion against the Rams and Browns, both in road games.
Bears OLB Khalil Mack vs. Raiders RT Brandon Parker
Mack has a foot sprain and was limited to 48% of snaps last week and has practiced only on Friday each of the last two weeks and then on a limited basis. He then suffered a rib injury against Detroit and has been nagged by lesser injuries that he's managed to handle. Last year he was Pro Football Focus' top edge rusher. This year his grade has placed him well back in the middle of the pack among all edge rushers as he has had to cope with health issues. Nevertheless, he remains an effective pass rusher and has four sacks. Parker is a backup left tackle who was moved to right tackle because Alex Leatherwood has struggled there and was moved inside to right guard. Parker has been a reserve the last two years but in 2018 gave up 10 sacks when he was a full-time starter. Leatherwood had been the lowest graded tackle in the league according to PFF.
Bears DT Mario Edwards Jr. vs. Raiders LG John Simpson
Edwards wore the silver and black when Mack did and left for the 2018 season as Mack did. While he probably didn't live up to their expectations for a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, he has definitely found a niche with the Bears as a situational player, a three-technique defensive tackle when they switch to the four-man front for pass-rush situations. Although Edwards couldn't play the first two weeks due to suspension, his impact was immediately felt in Weeks 3 and 4. He has had at least half a sack in each game he played. His speed off the ball as a lighter, 280-pound interior rusher, has made an impact. Because he's a three-technique, he is lined up over the outside shoulder of the left guard and it's more difficult this way for the center to support the guard when they're pass blocking. Simpson is part of a real problem for the Raiders. They haven't been able to come up with a way to replace injured Denzelle Good (ACL) and Richie Incognito (calf) and are using backups at both guard spots. Simpson has committed two penalties and allowed a sack. He has a PFF grade of 46.1.
Bears OLB Robert Quinn vs. Raiders LT Kolton Miller
Quinn is on a rampage now that he is of sound mind and body. The league has him at 4 1/2 sacks, but seems to like taking away a sack here or half a sack there from him. He has seven quarterback hits and 10 pressures already after he had only two sacks, six quarterback hits and 10 pressures for the full 2020 season. The Bears make matters worse for those contending with Quinn at times by lining Mack up alongside him. Miller has come a long way since 2018, when he was a gridiron turnstile. He committed eight penalties and PFF had him at 16 sacks allowed that year. He improved but not even to an adequate status when he allowed seven sacks the following season, but last year made great strides with just two sacks allowed. Miller has graded out the best pass blocker the Raiders have. Still, on a line with great problems and one that may not be able to provide him with much help, Miller's task appears daunting this week.