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Friday, November 27, 2009
Final Word: AFC South

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:

Manning
Peyton Manning was limited in practice this week but appears ready to face the Texans.
Peyton Manning was limited in practice this week with a sore backside. It doesn’t look to be a big deal. But if Mario Williams plows through and buries Manning on his butt, maybe it turns into more of a problem. Williams didn’t wreak much havoc in the first meeting between these teams but seemed to come out of the bye week feeling better after dealing with a shoulder injury for most of the season. If the Texans finally break through, they are going to need a contribution from Williams. Indy is 14-1 against Houston.

Chris Johnson has five consecutive games in which he gained at least 125 yards rushing while averaging at least five yards per carry. In NFL history, the only other player to do that in five straight games was Jim Brown for Cleveland in 1958. Can Johnson keep it up? Arizona’s rush defense is eighth in the league, giving up 103.2 rushing yards a game and 4.3 yards a carry.

The Jaguars will be shooting for their first four-game win streak since Week 2-6 of the 2007 season. Look for a big day for the David Garrard - Mike Sims-Walker connection. The 49ers have yielded an average of 286 passing yards in their last six games, including four 300-yard games. Walker is dealing with a knee injury, but practiced with it. Jacksonville’s last trip west was a disaster. Here’s their chance to maintain control of their playoff fate and show they’ve grown into a team that can handle such a trip

It would be great if the Texans could get Kris Brown a mid- or short-range field goal chance. It’s impossible to dictate such things. But after long misses against the Colts and Titans that could have forced overtime, odds are he’s in one of those places where kickers go when things are tough. To mentally get him back, it’d be nice to send him out for a relatively easy three points. His last five tries: 56 good, 42 wide left, 49 wide right, 26 good, 49 wide left.

If home field advantage still exists for the Titans, it should show itself Sunday against Arizona. Tennessee is 2-2 at LP Field this year, but the Cardinals are the last team making its first trip to the venue. The Titans are 23-7 in such situations. Also in the Titans’ favor: They are 11-2 against the NFC since 2006, second only to the undefeated New England Patriots.