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NFL Picks Week 12: Oakland Raiders in Must-Win Battle with Chicago Bears

George SeligaCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2017

NFL Picks Week 12: Oakland Raiders in Must-Win Battle with Chicago Bears

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    The Oakland Raiders have a big game ahead this weekend. They face a tough Chicago Bears team who is also competing for a spot in the NFC playoff picture. The Raiders are coming off of a big win against the Minnesota Vikings and they are on a two-game winning streak. Here is a look at why Oakland must beat the Chicago Bears this weekend.

Oakland Is Leading the Division

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    The Raiders have a one-game lead over the Broncos and a two-game lead over the Chargers and Chiefs. Last year, Oakland swept the division but missed the playoffs because they could not win enough games outside of their division. 

    The Raiders need to keep winning in order to go to the playoffs. The Broncos have been playing really well and have a chance to steal the division if Oakland can't produce enough wins.

The Raiders Rushing Attack vs. the Bears Defense

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    The Raiders enter this game with the third best rushing attack in the NFL. The Bears enter the game with the 10th best rushing defense in the NFL. This should be a great matchup to watch as Michael Bush will try to run through Brian Urlacher and the rest of the Bears defense.

The Bears' Quarterback Controversy

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    The Bears suffered a huge loss with the thumb injury of Jay Cutler. They have Caleb Hanie scheduled to start the game, but this could all change with the possible addition of Kyle Orton.

    The Bears really need Hanie to play well against an injury-filled Oakland secondary to win this game. If the Raiders' secondary can put pressure on Hanie and force turnovers, they will pull out the victory.

The Raiders' Passing Offense vs. the Bears' Passing Defense

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    The Raiders' passing offense has shown improvements over the past few weeks. Carson Palmer has settled into the offense and is starting to look confident in his receivers.

    The Chicago Bears' passing defense has suffered a bit this year as they have given up over 2,700 yards through the air. The matchup to watch will be wide receiver Denarius Moore going up against veteran cornerback Charles Tillman.

The Special Teams Battle

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    The special teams for both teams will be fun to watch. Devin Hester does it all for the Bears. He is a threat every single time he catches the ball. Oakland has struggled on punts this season and has given up two punt returns for touchdowns. 

    Shane Lechler is the best punter in the NFL. It should be interesting to see how Lechler punts the ball to Hester and whether Sebastian Janikowski will be able to kick the ball past Hester on kickoffs.

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