Bears/Raiders Game Scout

The Bears will have to overcome a tough road test in Oakland to pick up their sixth straight victory. We go over everything you need to know to prepare yourself for this weekend's matchup.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 11/27/11
SURFACE: Natural grass

TV: FOX, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa

KEYS TO THE GAME: The smart money is on the Bears throwing RB Matt Forte at the Raiders' 25th-ranked run defense early and often as QB Caleb Hanie makes his first career start. Look for Forte to be heavily involved in the underneath passing game as well. Hanie will likely rely on short drops and quick throws with Oakland coming off a five-sack game. Raiders QB Carson Palmer's longest completion at Minnesota was 21 yards and Chicago's secondary focuses on keeping completions in front of them. That means another heavy workload for RB Michael Bush, who has 79 games in three starts with Darren McFadden (foot) sidelined.

FAST FACTS: Forte leads the NFL with 1,391 yards from scrimmage. ... Palmer has completed 72.1 percent of his passes the past two games.


Jared Veldheer was largely left alone with Jared Allen when the Raiders played the Vikings, but he had plenty of help during the week.

The Raiders got Veldheer ready for the NFL sack leader with lots of practice reps against frontline defenders such as nickel rusher Kamerion Wimbley, starting left end Lamarr Houston and defense end Trevor Scott.

The drill will be the same to get Veldheer prepared for Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.

"It helps a ton," Veldheer said. "If you already see it, and you've repped it, you don't spend as much time thinking and you have more time to react and be in the position you need to be in. It's huge."

A third-round draft pick out of tiny Division II Hillsdale in Michigan, Veldheer has become the answer at left tackle for a team that hasn't had one make the Pro Bowl since Art Shell in 1980.

Three times since the franchise returned to Oakland in 1995 they've spent a first-round draft pick on a left tackle -- Mo Collins (No. 23 overall out of Florida in 1998), Matt Stinchcomb (No. 18 overall out of Georgia in 1999) and Robert Gallery (No. 2 overall out of Iowa) in 2004.

Collins and Gallery became guards and Stinchcomb never became a regular player at tackle, guard or center.

Veldheer took over in Week 7 last season, a 59-14 win over the Denver Broncos, and in the words of offensive coordinator Al Saunders, should hold the job a "long, long, long time."

There were some difficult moments as a rookie, most notably against Pittsburgh's James Harrison, Miami's Cameron Wake and Kansas City's Tamba Hali. There were also games in which the 6-8, 315-pound Veldheer played exceptionally well, especially considering his Division II background.

The way Veldheer played against Allen was a big step in his development.

"He is what a Raider is, what a Raider is all about," coach Hue Jackson said. "You play against the best, and when you're able to hold your own, you realize you're starting to become something. I'm not surprised by what happened. He's done a great job all year."



--WR Devin Hester (shin) didn't practice Thursday but that was considered a precautionary move, and he is expected to play Sunday.

--CB D.J. Moore (ankle), the Bears' No. 1 nickel corner, did not practice Thursday and is not expected to play Sunday.

--CB Corey Graham, who took over at nickel in Week 10 when D.J. Moore was ejected for fighting and again last week, should take his spot Sunday.

--SS Brandon Meriweather (concussion) went through a full practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday, but he has not yet been cleared to play.

--QB Josh McCown was signed to be a veteran backup, eventually moving up to No. 2 behind Caleb Hanie, but there is no timetable for him to move past rookie Nathan Enderle, the current No. 2.


--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh returned to the team after his wife gave birth to a baby.

--WR Jacoby Ford did not practice because of a foot injury and appears unlikely to face the Bears.

--WR Denarius Moore did not practice because of a foot injury and appears unlikely to face the Bears.

--WR Darrius Heyward-Bey practiced for the first time since his neck injury against Minnesota and will be re-evaluated before determining if he can face Chicago.

--DT Richard Seymour did not practice and chances are he will play a role as a reserve interior lineman in pass-rush situations.

--RB Darren McFadden did not practice with a mid-foot sprain and will almost certainly miss his fourth consecutive game.

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