Bears vs. Raiders: Chicago Will Face Injury-Plagued Oakland Offense This Sunday
The Chicago Bears are not the only team dealing with injuries on offense. While the loss of quarterback Jay Cutler could be a crippling blow to the Bears and their playoff chances, the Oakland Raiders may be without the services of several key offensive players when they host the Bears this Sunday.
The Raiders own a 6-4 record, good for first place in the AFC West. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer will continue to try and improve after struggling in his first two performances. He will have to do it without some of the Raiders' young and talented offensive weapons.
According to NBC Bay Area, several Raiders who have been nursing injuries recently did not practice this week. Those who were not able to practice Wednesday include wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford. Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was signed at the beginning of November, also sat out Wednesday's practice, but that reason was not disclosed.
Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who has not played the last two games, also missed practice. His backup Taiwan Jones is also injured, and may sit out Sunday's game.
If none of these players are able to suit up against the Bears Sunday, the Raiders will have some serious depth issues on offense. The Raiders' recently acquired quarterback, Carson Palmer, may have to continue to adjust to his new team without some of their more talented players.
"You don’t get the same guys on the field from the week before, and the rhythm and timing slows down a little bit. So we have our work cut out for us," said Palmer (via NBC Bay Area).
The Bears offense will also be sporting a new look against the Raiders when Caleb Hanie takes the field for the first time this season at quarterback. The Raiders, however, may be without several starters on offense.
Here's a more in-depth look at who the Raiders may be playing without on offense in Week 12.
Jacoby Ford, Wide Receiver
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Second-year wide receiver Jacoby Ford has been nursing an ankle injury, which he suffered in the Raiders' Week 10 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Ford, who is also used as a kick returner, hasn't been all that productive in the Raiders offense this year. Through the first 11 weeks, Ford has only caught 17 passes for 260 yards, with one touchdown.
Ford injured his ankle after notching a 41-yard catch, thrown from Carson Palmer during the Chargers game.
Ford, who was carted off the field, was inactive for last week's Raiders game with the Minnesota Vikings.
Ford has made some big plays in his young career, including four career kickoff returns for touchdowns. If Ford is unable to go Sunday against the Bears, his presence will be missed by the Raiders on special teams, as well as on offense.
Denarius Moore, Wide Receiver
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During his rookie season out of Tennessee, Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore has been involved in some big plays, averaging 17.1 yards per reception.
Moore leads the Raiders this season with four receiving touchdowns. He also scored on a 23-yard rushing play in the Raiders' Week 3 win over the New York Jets.
Before he suffered a foot injury during the Raiders' win last week against the Vikings, Moore had hooked up with quarterback Carson Palmer for 10 catches in the previous three games, good for 198 yards.
While it looks like Moore is developing a nice chemistry with Palmer, it would be unfortunate for the Raiders and Palmer if Moore is on the sidelines for an extended period of time.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Wide Receiver
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Last week, the Raiders had one of their wide receivers carted off the field for the second week in a row. Darrius Heyward-Bey took a knee to the head from Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson during the Raiders' Week 11 win over Minnesota.
Heyward-Bey, in his third season out of Maryland, is currently the Raiders' leading receiver. Through last week, Heyward-Bey has 31 receptions and 477 receiving yards.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Heyward-Bey did practice Friday and appears to be ready for the Bears game Sunday.
It remains to be seen how Heyward-Bey will perform against the Bears after suffering the hit in Minnesota last week.
Darren McFadden, Running Back
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Coming off of a strong 2010, Darren McFadden was putting up some big numbers through seven games this season.
McFadden had rushed for 614 yards with seven touchdowns before being sidelined with a foot injury. He has not played in the last three games for the Raiders.
It appears that McFadden will be out for the Bears game as well in Week 12.
The Raiders will rely on Michael Bush, who has been effective in the Raiders rushing attack. Bush has racked up 266 yards over the last two games for the Raiders, carrying the ball 30 times in both games.