Bears vs. Raiders predictions: Can Tyson Bagent win first start? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Bears had opportunities to beat the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday at Soldier Field, but they couldn’t execute in high-leverage moments and ended up dropping to 1-5 on the season. Even worse, they lost Justin Fields to a dislocated thumb. Fields is doubtful to play this week– all signs point to Tyson Bagent drawing his first NFL start– and yet the Bears have another winnable matchup this weekend when they host the Las Vegas Raiders at Soldier Field. The Raiders are dealing with a QB injury of their own, as Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the game due to a back injury. Further, the Raiders have struggled to get their skilled playmakers Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams to produce consistently. Will that be enough for the Bears to notch their second week of the season? Here’s what the Under Center podcast crew thinks.
The battle of the backups. Brian Hoyer vs. Tyson Bagent. Bagent had a really good drive last week in the second half, but he also played like a rookie turning the ball over. Some questionable play calls didn’t help him either. With a healthy Justin Fields this was supposed to be a W in the win column for the Bears. The Raiders lack direction at this point. But with Cody Whitehair moving back to guard and perhaps Teven Jenkins moving back to right guard, that’s a lot of movement on the O-line to go along with a downgraded Darnell Wright. If Wright is healthy and plays well, I’d lean towards the Bears. Vikings saw how confused the O-line was versus the Vikings blitz packages last week. I’d expect to see some of the same.
Raiders: 21, Bears: 17
Never underestimate the mediocrity of the NFL.
That’s the theme of this week’s pick. Yes, I know Justin Fields is out with a dislocated thumb. Eddie Jackson, Nate Davis, and Roschon Johnson are also out. Undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent will make his first career NFL start behind a banged-up offensive line that hopes to have rookie right tackle Darnell Wright (shoulder) good to go against the Las Vegas Raiders.
All that, plus the Bears’ horrific 1-5 record and general ineptitude, should point me toward the Silver and Black. But I just have a feeling. I’m not expecting a lot from Bagent, but I do think he’ll get the ball out quick to neutralize his offensive line’s issues, and I think he’ll take care of the football. The Raiders plan to start Brian Hoyer at quarterback. He doesn’t move the needle. The Bears’ defense just held Kirk Cousins to 12 points (seven came on a scoop and score), and I think they can keep the Raiders’ offense in check, force a turnover or two, and give Bagent a chance to win the game with a modest showing.
Hell with it, give me the Bears.
Bears 23, Raiders 20
This is one of the few remaining games on the Bears schedule where you can see a way for the Bears to win. The defense has played better and better with Matt Eberflus calling a more aggressive game. Meanwhile the Raiders have struggled to get anything going on offense. Things probably won’t improve with Brian Hoyer under center. But Davante Adams’ public call to get the ball more won’t fall on deaf ears in Vegas and the Bears will need to be on high alert to stop him. Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson has played well to begin his career and there’s real reason to believe he can develop into a top-flight defender. But throughout the year we’ve seen opposing offenses pick on him and exploit him for big gains. That’s simply the life for a rookie cornerback, and that’s how things may go with Adams and the Raiders.
On offense, the Bears got good news that Darnell Wright is on track to play. However, they’ll still have their hands full with Maxx Crosby who’s one of the best edge rushers in the league. Crosby is tied for sixth in the NFL with 5.5 sacks. Both Wright and fill-in left tackle Larry Borom have struggled at times with premiere pass rushers, and they could have their hands full on Sunday. Bears coaches are high on Tyson Bagent’s processing, and it stands to reason that they’ll dial up quick passes to help him get in rhythm. But Bagent will need to take better care of the football than he did last week to give the Bears a chance. He’s capable, we just need to see it.
A lot of things need to go right for the Bears to have a chance to win games this year. They need to go one step further and capitalize on opponents’ mistakes to seal the deal. It’s been hard for them to do either thing consistently this season.
Raiders: 23, Bears: 20
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