The Examiner breaks down the Raiders-Bears game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.
THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY
1. After a dreadful Week 9 performance against the Titans (13 for 27 with three interceptions against one touchdown for a whopping 158 yards), is Josh McCown on the hot seat already? Talk of starting the JaMarcus Russell era will only increase if McCown has another stinker. Then again, this Bears pass defense might just allow a big day — anything’s possible.
2. Justin Fargas has ripped the starting running back job from LaMont Jordan and last week’s 104-yard performance — his second game north of the vaunted barrier — showed why. He’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry for the Raiders and could have a big day.
3. What happened to the Bears’ rushing attack? The days of Thomas Jones seem like a distant memory. While Jones has been so-so as a New York Jet, his old backfield mate Cedric Benson has been flat-out disappointing as the featured back (3.1 yards per carry).
BRIAN GRIESE vs. KIRK MORRISON
Griese: Rex Grossman’s replacement has been shaky and faces a good pass defense.
Morrison: Leads team in tackles (59), second in picks (three), but has yet to get a sack.
GREG OLSEN vs. ROBERT THOMAS
Olsen: Rookie is third on team in reception yards. Second? The other tight end, Desmond Clark.
Thomas: Had best game in Week 9, with nine solo tackles against Texans. Can he be consistent?
BRIAN URLACHER vs. ROBERT GALLERY
Urlacher: Team-leading 58 tackles shows Bears’ leader still takes pride in job, but unit has struggled.
Gallery: Big man will have to stay strong in front to stop defense that is tied for second in league for sacks.
Lane Kiffin needs to stop the bleeding. Sure, the losses have been close, but they’ve dropped four straight and the fans are getting restless. Fair or not, he might be getting second-guessed for sticking with McCown.
Like Kiffin, Lovie Smith is feeling heat to get a win. From NFC champs last year to tied for last in the North, the first half has been a disaster. If the Bears fall to 3-6 against the Raiders, expect Smith’s doubters to pipe up more.
THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …
Well, no one will mistake this one for pro pigskin at its finest, but sometimes two underperforming teams make for a great game. This one will almost certainly be ugly, but the Raiders will succeed in running the ball while Griese will struggle again. RAIDERS 16, BEARS 15
Bears at Raiders
Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
TV: KTVU (Ch. 2)
Radio: KSFO (560 AM)