NFL Pick: Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders Preview
The Bears might have a 7-3 mark and a relatively comfortable lead in the race for the NFC Wild Cards, but they really have a major problem on their hands starting this week. QB Jay Cutler is going to miss this one and probably the rest of the regular season as well with a fractured thumb that has required surgery. Now, that leaves QB Caleb Hanie as the only man with any experience on the roster. Hanie has only thrown a grand total of 14 passes in his career in the regular season, though he was forced into duty last year in the NFC Championship Game when Cutler was injured against the Green Bay Packers. Of course, the possibility could be there that QB Kyle Orton, who was ironically traded to the Denver Broncos in the deal that brought Cutler to town, could be back in the Windy City sooner than later, as he will be a free agent after getting cut by Denver on Tuesday. Regardless, it is clear that the key is going to be running the ball with RB Matt Forte and playing sturdy defense. The team is only No. 14 in the league in rushing at 116.9 yards per game and No. 25 in total defense at 371.9 yards per game, which really makes us wonder how legitimate this five game winning streak has been for Chicago.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have won back to back games with QB Carson Palmer at the helm, and all of a sudden, they are atop the AFC West with a real chance to take a two-game lead by the time the Thanksgiving leftovers are finished. Palmer has thrown for 911 yards and six TDs in his last two games, and though he is turning the ball over a ton, he is making up for it. It’s up in the air whether this will be the week that RB Darren McFadden comes back into the fold or not with his hamstring injury. It’s true that McFadden is one of the best backs in the league with 614 rushing yards and four scores, but the truth of the matter is that RB Michael Bush may be the better back. He has 599 yards and five TDs on the ground, and he also has almost double the receiving yards as the former Arkansas Razorback. The problem that Oakland has is its defense, ranking No. 24 in the land at 371.7 yards per game and No. 27 in scoring at 25.4 points per game.
Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders Pick: What we have to remember about these Raiders is that they have won some big time games this year. They have a win at the Houston Texans and two straight road wins in the last two and a half weeks. There’s no reason to think that, at home, the good times aren’t going to keep rolling against the Bears, who are a crucial piece of the puzzle short.
NFL Pick: Oakland Raiders -4.5 Bookmaker Sportsbook.