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Bears-Raiders matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's battle between the Bears and Raiders.

Bears' pass rush vs. Raiders' pass protection

The Bears' pass rush was barely noticeable for much of the game against the Chargers. Philip Rivers, who was sacked six times by the Raiders one week earlier, was hit only once, and the Bears failed to register a single sack even though San Diego was starting a patchwork offensive line because of injuries.

DE Julius Peppers, who had the Bears' lone QB hit in Week 11, can be one of the more dominant pass rushers in the league, but the team is lacking another player who provides a disruptive pass-rush presence every week.

Peppers will be lining up across from one of the league's top young tackles on Sunday.

Raiders second-year OLT Jared Veldheer kept Vikings DE Jared Allen quiet in Week 11, ending Allen's streak of games with at least one sack at 11, and Veldheer has been playing at a very high level all season, routinely shutting down edge rushers. Peppers will need to get low, gain leverage and use his power and quickness to beat the 6-foot-8 Veldheer.

Although Allen didn't record as much as a QB hit in Week 11, the Raiders gave up a season-high four sacks in the game. Other Minnesota rushers stepped up when their star struggled, hitting QB Carson Palmer eight times in the game.

Peppers' supporting cast — DE Israel Idonije and DT Henry Melton, among others — may need to do the same Sunday, and don't be surprised if defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli turns up the heat with frequent blitzes. Linebackers accounted for two of the Vikings' four sacks vs. the Raiders.

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