KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET
SURFACE: Natural grass
TV: CBS, Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
PREDICTION: Raiders 23-19
KEYS TO THE GAME: Browns QB Colt McCoy would love to have a few of the speed merchants lining up outside for Raiders QB Jason Campbell. Instead, the Browns have limitations attacking downfield but good size and power to move the ball methodically. RB Peyton Hillis remains a featured back in name, but hasn't proven worthy of the designation yet this season. The Raiders' issues tackling and containing outside runs could be exposed again. Oakland is content controlling time of possession with RBs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, who has impressed as a short-area receiver, but Campbell's receiving corps has evolved nicely. That includes former first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has 11 catches for 214 yards (19.5 yards per catch) and a touchdown in the last two games.
FAST FACTS: The Browns have won seven of the last nine meetings. ... The Raiders lead the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns.
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
The interior of the Raiders' defensive line is one of the best in the NFL, and unless things improve quickly, the Browns might have to face it without stalwart center Alex Mack.
Mack is recovering from an appendectomy performed Oct. 3, one day after he played against the Titans while feeling ill. Mack said whether he plays against the Raiders will be a game-time decision. He did not practice Monday, Wednesday or Thursday but was on the field all three days taking mental reps and watching the offensive line work. Mack did return to practice on Friday and is a game-time decision for the Browns.
"I generally want to play," Mack said. "It's what you're here for, and I don't want to let my team down. A strong part of that gets you motivated to heal quicker. I don't know how much motivation counts into these kinds of things, but you want to play."
Mack's surgery was performed laparoscopically. He said two incisions were made to extract his appendix. The incisions have to heal before he can play. Wearing a flak jacket could help, but Mack could suffer serious internal injuries if he takes a blow to the abdomen before healing.
Coach Pat Shurmur, knowing how tough Mack is, is hopeful his starter will be ready. Mack was ill with appendicitis symptoms before the Tennessee game (he did not get the diagnosis until a day later), took fluids intravenously and did not miss a snap. He has not missed a snap in the 36 games he has played with the Browns.
"I knew that he came to the stadium (Oct. 2) and that he saw his breakfast again," Shurmur said. "A lot of guys get sick and they play. I do know he's a very tough guy. He's a very fine center. We need to be strong up the middle here to be good, and I'm really glad that he's our center. I've got a strong appreciation for what he is as a player."
Steve Vallos is preparing to start at center Sunday in Oakland just in case Mack cannot play. The interior of Oakland's defensive line is very strong with Richard Seymour and Tom Kelly at defensive tackle.
"If I have to play, I'll be ready to play," Vallos said. "If I do, I do. If I don't, I'll be extra ready."
Vallos has been inactive all four games.
When the Browns traded Kamerion Wimbley to Oakland for a third-round draft pick in the 2010 draft, they had no idea at the time it was the move that would give them their quarterback of the future.
Cleveland used the selection it acquired in that deal to choose Colt McCoy, who will be pursued by Wimbley on Sunday when Oakland hosts the Browns.
In Cleveland, Wimbley created unrealistic expectations with an 11-sack rookie season. He had a total of 15.5 sacks over the next three seasons, never developing into the every-down presence the Browns had hoped for.
Wimbley flourished in a new role with the Raiders last year, starting at strong-side linebacker but playing right end as a nickel pass rusher. He finished with nine sacks, his highest total since his rookie season, and he was the Raiders' most consistent pass rush threat.
"I get to put my hand on the ground more often here, so that's good for me," Wimbley said. "But I also play in a two-point stance and do some of the same things I did in Cleveland."
Although not bitter by nature, Wimbley was mildly irritated about how he was informed he was no longer in Cleveland's plans.
"I wasn't shocked to be traded, but I think the way it was done was kind of a shock," Wimbley said. "I didn't expect to get a call from my new team before I heard from my old team. But I've made the transition, and I love this program."
For good reason. Wimbley's financial odyssey beginning in February is an amazing tale of being in the right place at the right time, a perfect circumstance for maximizing value.
In the last year of his original contract as a first-round draft pick out of Florida State, Wimbley's salary was $600,000. It included a $3.5 million "buyback" available to the Raiders. The Raiders invoked the buyback, meaning they would pay Wimbley $4.1 million.
The NFL, however, ruled that the contract violated a rule in place during the lockout that said salaries could not increase by 30 percent in a season. The deal was voided.
To keep from losing Wimbley, the Raiders made him their exclusive franchise free agent at a one-year cost of $11.3 million.
With the $11.3 million figure making for a tight fit against the salary cap, the Raiders extended Wimbley's contract five years, lessening the cap hit but upping the guaranteed money to a reported $29 million.
Wimbley conceded the contract surprised him "a little bit, but my first contract also surprised me. I don't worry too much about the numbers. I just go in and do my job and hopefully I can live up to the expectations that come along with the contract. I'm just excited to go out there and play, and that's all I think about."
--CB Joe Haden was held from practice again Friday because of a sprained left knee. Coach Pat Shurmur said Haden could miss practice and still play against the Raiders on Sunday in Oakland. Haden is listed as questionable on the injury report and could be a game-time decision.
--WR Joshua Cribbs was limited in practice Thursday and Friday because of a knee injury, but he expects to play without limitations against the Raiders.
--S Eric Hagg practiced without limitations for the third straight day. The seventh-round draft choice from Nebraska underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in August and has not played this season.
--DE Marcus Benard was discharged from Cleveland Clinic on Thursday. He was hospitalized Monday after crashing his motorcycle. The Browns are reporting Benard has a broken hand but nothing else. Benard was placed on the reserve/not-football injury list Wednesday. The Browns have agreed to pay him the balance of his $525,000 salary for 2011.
--WR Louis Murphy (sports hernia surgery) was full-go in practice for the third straight day. He probably will be active against Cleveland.
--LB Aaron Curry, acquired by the Raiders trade with the Seattle Seahawks will play Sunday and could start.
--FB Manase Tonga, promoted from the practice squad before the Houston game, earned positive reviews for his blocking from coach Hue Jackson.
--DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) did not practice again on Friday, and he will miss his third straight game Sunday when the Raiders play Cleveland.
--CB Chemdi Chekwa did not practice due to a hamstring injury, making DeMarcus Van Dyke the likely starter against the Browns.