The Raiders went into Minnesota and beat the Vikings Sunday, but even though they were able to pull out the win, it seemed as if they couldn’t catch a break from the officials. Well, a few hours later they would catch a big break as they found out next Sunday they will not have to face Chicago Bears starting quarterback, Jay Cutler.
The Bears started their AFC West swing this week when the Chargers traveled to Chicago. Cutler carved up the Chargers throughout the game, but late in the fourth quarter, he fractured the thumb on his throwing hand.
Several reports claim that he will require surgery on the injured thumb that will keep him out for 6-8 weeks. His next three games would have been against the other three AFC West teams. Next up is the Raiders.
This means the Raiders will be the first team to face Bears backup Caleb Hanie who has never started a game in his three year career. Hanie has appeared in seven regular season games with a total of eight completions for 66 yards and an interception.
Hanie may be best known for entering last year’s NFC Championship game when Cutler and primary backup Todd Collins had both left the game with injuries. He led the Bears to a touchdown in his first series and later led them on another touchdown drive. However, he also threw two interceptions including one that was returned for a touchdown to help the Packers get to the Super Bowl.
The Packers faced Hanie after preparing for Cutler. The Raiders will have the entire week to dissect Hanie and prepare for him.
The tables will be turned for the Raiders in a sense because they went through the same situation earlier this season when starter Jason Campbell went out with a broken collarbone. The result was Kyle Boller getting the start. He threw three interceptions in the first half, one returned for a touchdown and the Raiders were down 21-0 by halftime. Carson Palmer was given the ball in the third quarter and the Raiders were shut out 28-0.
The lucky thing for the Raiders losing Campbell was the timing. He went down just two days before the trade deadline. This allowed the Raiders to swing the deal that brought Carson Palmer to the Raiders and he has won his last two starts. One of those wins was against the Chargers.
Unfortunately the two losses before that were against the Chiefs and Broncos. So yet again, it is the Chargers who get the raw end of the deal while the other AFC West teams benefit.
And speaking of that loss to the Broncos, you can bet the Bears will be studying that game intently. Their best hope of beating the Raiders is a heavy dose of runs from Matt Forte and a few quarterback scramble plays by Caleb Hanie.