How David Montgomery’s Injury Impacts the NFC North
The Bears star running back suffered a knee injury during their matchup with the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Montgomery is in his third year with the Bears after being drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
He was off to a great start this season for the Bears, with three rushing touchdowns in four games, adding two games with over 100 rushing yards (vs LAR and DET).
He played a big role in their offense, and the Bears will now have to survive without him.
How Long is Montgomery Going to Be Out?
Mongtomery’s knee injury is estimated to knock him out for the next 4-5 weeks, which is an extremely difficult stretch for the Bears.
That is going to be an extremely tough stretch for the Bears, especially with their top running back.
With Matt Nagy giving up play calling for the second season in a row, David Montgomery was set to go on another big stretch under Bill Lazor calling plays.
Montgomery rushed for almost 100 yards per game (99.67) from Week 12 to 17 in 2020, compared to his average of 52.4 yards per game from Week 1 to 9 (Missed Week 10 and Week 11 Bye). He also rushed for 7 of his 8 touchdowns in the back half of 2020 as well.
He was incredible in that span, and it was clear he was going to be a big part of their offense yet again in 2021.
Updated NFC North Odds
The NFC North Divisional Odds shifted a good amount before the season even began.
There were rumors of Aaron Rodgers potentially leaving Green Bay, increasing their odds of winning the division to -110 from the original -250.
The Bears odds were the lowest when they went down to +325 from +650 after drafting Justin Fields.
As of October 4 (after Sunday’s game), the Bears odds to win the division jumped all the way to +1000, with Montgomery’s injury playing a large role in that.
The Packers’ three game winning streak decreased their odds even more, as they became the clear favorite to win the division at -350. The Packers now have a substantial lead on the Bears specifically, while the Vikings come in second at +350 and the Lions in last at +10000.
Damien Williams to Take His Place
Damien Williams is set to take on most backfield duties with the Bears, with rookie Khalil Herbert playing sparingly as well.
Tarik Cohen is still recovering from his ACL tear last season, as his chances of returning this year appear to be slim.
Williams has been a backup running back for all of his career, but he has been impressive at certain spots. His most memorable moment was his performance in the 2020 Super Bowl with the Chiefs. He played a major role in that game and in the playoffs as well.
He rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, while adding 29 yards receiving and another touchdown. He scored four touchdowns in that three-playoff game span, with two more in Week 16 of that season as well.
The Bears would consider themselves lucky to get that kind of production when Williams takes over for Montgomery, but it isn’t impossible.
That being said, he is still a capable running back and should be more than good enough to take over the reins for the next four to five weeks.
How Montgomery’s Injury Shakes Up the NFC North
Now the Bears face a really tough string of opponents in the next part of the season, and being without David Montgomery is going to make it really difficult to win games.
The Bears were able to beat the Lions last week, but they shouldn’t hold their heads up too high, as they could easily lose the next five games or so.
Matt Nagy also said that Andy Dalton is the starter when healthy, so that extra dysfunctionality does not help their chances of winning the division.
The Packers look to have a stronghold on the division title so far this season, with the Bears struggling to keep up without their best running back.
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