Publish date:

David Montgomery's Loss Too Big for Bears

Considering the Bears have been terrible on the road so far, the loss of running back David Montgomery could be too big to overcome at Las Vegas against Jon Gruden's Raiders.

Facing the Raiders for the Bears means playing four full quarters as it did last week against Detroit.

Except in the case of Las Vegas, the talent level is much higher. Las Vegas never seems to be out of games.

Here's who wins the Bears-Raiders matchup and why.

Bears running the ball

No David Montgomery and although Damien Williams appears a suitable backup and rookie Khalil Herbert has potential, that confidence factor between offensive linemen and the No. 1 back is hard to replace without a full game together. Too bad for the Bears, too, because the Raiders are 23rd at stopping the run and it leads to some of their problems against play-action in the passing game. No edge.

Bears passing the ball

Justin Fields is facing a pass defense with a heavy zone-coverage emphasis, one greatly improved over last year. The Bears have had pass blocking problems in both road games and there is a lack of timing between Fields and receivers so far. The Raiders managed to mostly keep Lamar Jackson in the pocket, so expect them to use similar tactics against Fields. Edge to the Raiders.

Raiders running the ball

Josh Jacobs may or may not be healthy after an ankle injury and they're saying he is, but the Raiders do have Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber if he isn't. The Raiders offensive line can't pass block at all but they aren't bad as run blockers. Expect them to run double-team with run blocks all day and mix in illegal chop blocks as they are prone to doing. The Bears will be without defensive end Akime Hicks, never a plus on run defense and it puts more pressure on Eddie Goldman in his second game this season. Edge to the Raiders.

Raiders passing the ball

When Alex Leatherwood is moved inside from right tackle to right guard to avoid making him block Khalil Mack, and the replacement is Brandon Parker, you've really got problems protecting your quarterback. The Bears' secondary is ripe for the picking, but not if Derek Carr is laying on his back when he's supposed to throw. Edge to the Bears.

Special teams

Hunter Renfrow is sure-handed but not the dynamic force as a punt returner that he is as a receiver. And the Raiders have searched for a kick returner, while the Bears have two good ones now. Cairo Santos is still miss-free since Week 3 last year but Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson has missed only once and from 50-plus. No edge.

Coaching

Jon Gruden had the Bears' number last time the teams played and no doubt will have something special in store for them. Matt Nagy has stepped out of the way so Bill Lazor can call plays and it gives the Bears a better chance to win this way. No edge.

Final score

Raiders 26, Bears 24

The line: Raiders by 5 1/2. Over/under 45.

Bear Digest record to date: 4-0 vs. the spread, 4-0 straight up.

It will be a wild game. Justin Fields is no longer filtered and will make big plays but Bears fans must learn to endure inevitable rookie mistakes.