In the meantime, the Chicago Bears have been playing brilliantly in the league over the past month, but have also been hampered with injuries after Jay Cutler sustained an injured thumb that will keep him sidelined for the next several weeks.
Oakland has revamped their roster, assigning the quarterback responsibilities to a two-time Pro Bowler. The Raiders, allowing Carson Palmer to anchor and manage the offense, possess a lead in the AFC West standings despite a few losses.
Before capturing last Sunday’s 31-20 victory over San Diego, Cutler fractured the thumb on his right throwing hand while attempting to make a tackle on an interception in the fourth quarter.
Caleb Hanie will make his first NFL start for Chicago Sunday when they visit Oakland, currently on a five-game winning streak entering the contest.
The Bears (7-3) are closer in capturing one of the NFC’s wild-card spots if they continue their hot streak. The Raiders (6-4), losers of two straight in Oakland, are faced with much uncertainty left with merely three receivers in Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy and rookie Eddie McGee — while the status of Denarius Moore, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey are unknown.