Wednesday NFL preview: How the Bears will prep for Brock Osweiler

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Wednesday has in store for each team.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills will be off again Wednesday before their preparations for Monday night's game against the Patriots begin in earnest Thursday. Rex Ryan said Tuesday that he believes his team has gotten better since the Bills' 40-32 loss to New England in Week 2, but called the team's first Monday Night Football game in six years "a barometer of how much we have improved." -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins (4-5) will begin their practice week Wednesday in preparation for the Cowboys (2-7) with a focus on pass protection for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Miami's offense line has allowed 15 sacks in the past four games, including four last week against the Eagles. These quarterback sacks have stalled drives and resulted in some big hits on Tannehill, who is very tough and continues to take a pounding. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: As the Patriots return to practice Wednesday for the first time since Sunday's win over the Giants, all eyes will be looking for LB Jamie Collins, who has missed the last two games with an undisclosed illness and hasn't been spotted at all over that time. That has led to plenty of speculation over what the illness could be. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: Wednesday is an important day for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will test his surgically repaired left (non-throwing) thumb in practice. He underwent surgery last Friday to repair a torn ligament, and the plan is to start him Sunday against the Texans. First, he must demonstrate the ability to take snaps from under center and use his left hand on handoffs. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens placed first-round pick Breshad Perriman on injured reserve, ending a frustrating season in which the rookie wide receiver never played a snap. Perriman sprained his posterior cruciate ligament on the first day of training camp, aggravated the right knee injury before the Sept. 27 game against the Bengals, and underwent arthroscopic surgery in early October. "He's had probably one of the all-time slowest-healing sprained PCLs ever," coach John Harbaugh said in early October. Without Perriman and Steve Smith Sr. (season-ending Achilles), Baltimore is starting Kamar Aiken and Chris Givens at wide receiver. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals will start to move past their first loss of the season during Wednesday's physical practice and a full day of interviews. With a Sunday night game on the road against the 7-2 Cardinals on the horizon, the 8-1 Bengals have motivation to get refocused quickly. But doing so might be easier said than done. Said defensive tackle Domata Peko: "Anytime you lose, it hurts. Especially after winning eight in a row, to catch our first 'L' against the Texans, it hurts. But guys are already talking about bouncing back." -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel heads to the bye week with a perfect set of circumstances. He was named the Browns starter and the NFL announced he would not be disciplined for the driving-domestic incident Oct. 12. He can start planning for a poor Baltimore Ravens defense with a clear and focused mind. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: After a long 10-game stretch full of injuries and close games, the Steelers plan to utilize the bye week well. The team practices today, then breaks until next week. Some players will grab their stuff from their lockers and head straight to the airport to catch some warm weather. Others will visit Columbus, Ohio, to watch Ohio State and Michigan State play. This week serves as a good mind break for many, and a good chance to heal wounds. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: Coach Bill O'Brien called QB Brian Hoyer "day-to-day" with a concussion he suffered in Monday night's win against the Bengals. The Texans are tied for the division lead with the Colts, and a healthy Hoyer would give them a better shot of staying atop the AFC South when they play the Jets' stingy defense on Sunday. O'Brien said for now the Texans are not planning to add a quarterback to their roster. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: Colts coach Chuck Pagano will have a better indication of Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams' injury status when the team practices Wednesday. Adams did not practice Monday because of an ankle injury suffered after intercepting a pass in the first half against Denver on Nov. 8. The Colts need Adams against Atlanta on Sunday becuase he's not only the leader of the secondary, he's also tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with five. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: RB T.J. Yeldon did not practice on Tuesday but was not wearing a protective boot on his foot and said he would be fine for Thursday's game against Tennessee. Even if he does play, expect RB Denard Robinson to get more reps. Robinson has just 15 carries for 50 yards this season. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: The Titans had three full-speed practice periods on Tuesday, their heaviest day in a quick turnaround for the Thursday night game at Jacksonville. They will rely on walk-through work, classroom time and rest to carry them into a game against a familiar opponent. With WR Justin Hunter out for the season, the Titans added two new receivers to the 53-man roster, Tre McBride from their practice squad and Andrew Turzilli, who was with them in camp, from the 49ers practice squad. Options for Marcus Mariota on the perimeter are dwindling, and corners are playing off and squatting on shorter stuff as the Titans fail to threaten defenses deep. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is a question mark this week because of an ankle injury and a lingering shoulder issue. As such, the Broncos will need Andre Caldwell, Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer to be ready to spilt snaps as the No. 2 receiver in the offense if Sanders isn't full speed or doesn't play Sunday in Chicago. Sanders is expected to be limited at least some in practice this week. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Offensive production could increase now that the Chiefs are finished playing against many of the NFL's best defensive teams. The Chiefs have played five games this season against teams in the top five in scoring defense, but six of their last seven games are against teams in the bottom 10 in that category. Sunday's opponent (the Chargers) rank 28th in points allowed. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders' fourth quarter issues continued in a 30-14 loss at Minnesota on Sunday. The Vikings outscored Oakland 10-0 in the fourth, bringing their deficit the last four games to 57-17. Oakland is 2-2 in those games, as the Chargers and Jets scored a lot of garbage time points in the fourth quarter of Oakland wins. But fourth-quarter runs by propelled the Steelers and Vikings to victories over the Raiders. Tightening up the final part of the game for crucial for the 4-5 Raiders moving forward. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: One of the adjustments for Melvin Gordon this season has been performing the majority of his running plays from the shotgun instead from the I-formation, which he had success with in college at Wisconsin. Gordon -- who has taken 73 of his 114 rushes this season either from shotgun or pistol formation -- said he's making the adjustment, but the transition has taken some time. "I probably ran during my time at Wisconsin maybe two plays out of the gun," Gordon said. "You come here and the majority of the plays our out of the gun. That's different for me, but every great player is able to adjust." -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: With Darren McFadden coming off a 17-carry, 32-yard effort against Tampa Bay, it hardly seemed like the right time to part ways with a backup running back, but nonetheless, Christine Michael was sent packing late Tuesday afternoon. He had 15 carries for 51 yards and never had more than five carries or 20 yards in a game. The Cowboys gave up a seventh-round pick to get him from Seattle at the start of the season, but the coaches never gained trust in using him for more than short bursts or in the passing game. Now what? The remaining tailbacks after McFadden are rookies Rod Smith and Trey Williams. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The return of Hakeem Nicks to the receiving corps is exciting for fans who remember how great Nicks was before and during the Giants' last Super Bowl run. But keep expectations in check. Nicks is taking the roster spot of a player (Victor Cruz) who was inactive for all 10 games this year. Plus, Nicks will have to earn his way up the WR depth chart ahead of younger players who contribute on special teams. Could he surprise and make a major contribution? Sure. But the Giants didn't sign him to start. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson expects to be at his normal position Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Against Miami, Johnson found out just before kickoff that he would be playing left tackle. Jason Peters warmed up and was held out at the last minute by coach Chip Kelly. Peters is expected to practice Wednesday. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins are 1-11 on the road under coach Jay Gruden, not a good sign entering Sunday's game at 9-0 Carolina. There are many contributing issues, but one this season involves their opponents: The Redskins' four road games have been against teams with a combined 25-12 record and none are under .500. Meanwhile, their home opponents to date have a combined 20-26 record. Their lone road win under Gruden occurred last season versus Dallas. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: The Bears will hit the practice field on Wednesday in advance of what they consider to be their biggest game of the season against the Broncos. This is a reunion game for Bears head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who both left Denver after the 2014 season. Gase is sure to provide Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with a detailed scouting report on new starting Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler. Gase coached the unproven Osweiler for three years in Denver. The Bears defense could use linebacker Pernell McPhee back on the field this weekend. McPhee did not travel to St. Louis in Week 10 because of a lingering knee issue. Wednesday is also an opportunity to update the health conditions of running back Matt Forte (knee) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (knee). -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: For the first time in almost a quarter-century, the Lions will return to practice after beating the Packers in Green Bay. Building on it could be tough, though, as Detroit must start preparing for Oakland. The Raiders are one of the surprise teams of the year and have a strong passing attack -- something that could give the Lions issues considering their depleted cornerback corps. Wednesday will be a big strategy day for defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who will have to figure out how to fit his new secondary pieces together to try and stop Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: The Packers already played three games without starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who missed Weeks 2-4 because of a knee injury. When left tackle David Bakhtiari hobbled off the field during Sunday's loss to the Lions, it looked like they might have to go without him for a while. Although he did not return to the game, he later insisted that he was fine, and coach Mike McCarthy said Bakhtiari avoided a major injury. We'll see if he can practice on Wednesday, when the Packers begin preparations for the Vikings. If not, Don Barclay, who struggled at times in place of Bulaga at his natural right tackle, will have to play out of position on the left side. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer has proven over the years he can slow down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But with Green Bay looking to end a three-game losing streak on Sunday, Zimmer knows his defense, which has given up the fewest points in the NFC, can't take Rodgers lightly. "The great players are always tough to defend," Zimmer said. "I wish he wasn't so great. Hey, I'm just being honest." -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: During the bye week, Falcons coach Dan Quinn asked for every player to reflect on whether he was happy with his individual performance. For quarterback Matt Ryan, he admitted during his weekly radio appearance that his self-reflection revealed a need to be more accurate. He had two games (Tennessee and Washington) during the first nine when he completed just 57 percent of his passes, which is well below his career average of 64.3 percent. Although the Falcons won both those games, there were struggles, and Ryan threw a pair of interceptions in each contest. Ryan, who has thrown five interceptions in the last five games, will try to get back on target against the Colts. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: Coach Ron Rivera is sticking to his plan of a lighter workload on Wednesdays to give players more time to recover from the previous week's game. Starting left guard Andrew Norwell is expected to return on a limited basis either Wednesday or Thursday after missing the past few games with an ankle sprain. Expect defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (ankle) to increase his workload after returning on a limited basis last week. He could be ready to go on Sunday against Washington. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: Players were given the entire bye week off -- a formula that has served the team well over the years. The Saints were 0-3 after bye weeks during Sean Payton's first three seasons as coach, when he used to hold some bonus practices before giving players a long weekend. Then in 2009, Payton switched to the current routine, which he borrowed from bye-week master Andy Reid. The Saints went a perfect 5-0 after the bye from 2009-2013. Their streak ended last year at Detroit, when they came out strong and played one of their best games of the season before blowing a 13-point lead in the final 3:38. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will this be the week the Bucs see either wide receiver Vincent Jackson (knee) or tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) return from injuries? Wednesday's practice will offer the first clue. Consider it a good sign if Jackson is seen on the field, because he didn't participate in all three practices last week. Seferian-Jenkins was limited in those practices leading up to Week 10, and is still waiting to be cleared for more contact. Tampa Bay needs both back as soon as possible to complement wide receiver Mike Evans. -- Andrew Astleford


Arizona Cardinals: Carson Palmer should expect another game chock full of pressure from the Bengals, who rank ninth overall in pressure percentage (27.9 percent of dropbacks). But Palmer was excellent against Seattle's pressure Sunday night, completing 18 passes, per Pro Football Focus. No other quarterback had more than nine. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: Aside from the change at quarterback, the Rams also have to do some reshuffling along the offensive line this week. Injuries to guard Jamon Brown and tackles Rob Havenstein and Darrell Williams forced the Rams to add three new linemen to the active roster. None of the new additions figures to have to start this week, but the Rams still must spend some time figuring out the best combination of five for Sunday's game at Baltimore. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: Did the 49ers actually make the right call, as painful as it was at the time, in cutting Aldon Smith following his August arrest? With Smith being slapped with a yearlong suspension on Tuesday, almost three months after his latest legal incident, Smith's suspension is now the Oakland Raiders' problem, not the Niners'. Still, you have to wonder if the 49ers' offer to stand with Smith through his trials and tribulations remains. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: Through nine games, Jimmy Graham is averaging 54.6 receiving yards per game, which ranks 10th among tight ends. On Sunday night, he dropped two balls and had a potential touchdown ripped out of his hands in the end zone. If the Seahawks are going to find any consistency on offense, they need more from Graham in the final seven games. -- Sheil Kapadia