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NFL 2011 Week 12 Bears vs. Raiders Key Matchup Review

Last week I pointed out a couple of key matchups that were very important to the Bears vs. Raiders game. The first was Jared Veldheer vs. Julius Peppers. The second was the punt team vs. Devin Hester.

Veldheer had great success the previous week against Jared Allen, but struggled against Peppers, who recorded two sacks and five total tackles. He was a terror in the backfield and the sacks really derailed a couple drives. Peppers is a challenge for even the best offensive tackle so it's difficult to judge Veldheer too harshly. Veldheer will need to perform much better against the edge rushers of the Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions in the upcoming week if the Raiders are to maintain their current level of success.

On the other hand, Shane Lechler utterly neutralized Devin Hester. Lechler recorded one touchback on an 80-yard bomb that sailed completely over the head of a rapidly retreating Hester. Lechler also downed three punts inside the Bears' own 20-yard line. Hester returned two punts for a grand total of seven yards. It's clear that Lechler is the best punter in the game, and even though the Raiders weren't scoring touchdowns Lechler kept the Bears totally out of the game by sticking them with terrible field position on every occasion possible. He may be one of the most important reasons the Raiders were able to record the victory.