- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN .com's Bill Williamson
Here are four players to watch in the AFC West this week:
Denver running back Ryan Torain: Torain's NFL debut was nothing to remember. He had three carries for 1 yard Sunday against Miami. It was his first game of the season after he broke his elbow in training camp. But expect Torain to get more carries Thursday night at Cleveland. Denver starting running back Michael Pittman is dealing with a neck stinger so Denver may need Torain to carry the load. The Broncos are coming off a game in which they had 14 yards rushing, the second-lowest in team history. Denver has high expectations for Torain and against the Browns, there are hopes he shows why.
Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles: The third-round pick from Texas opened eyes in Kansas City's come-from-ahead defeat against Tampa Bay on Sunday. He broke the 100-yard rushing barrier and gave the Chiefs a much-needed spark on the ground after Kolby Smith went down with a knee injury that will keep him out of the rest of the season. The Chiefs' starter, Larry Johnson, is out for another game (he missed the past three games because the Chiefs punished him for off-field issues), serving an NFL suspension. So Charles will be needed Sunday in San Diego.
San Diego defensive tackle Jamal Williams: Williams played very well in the past few games. He started slowly because of knee issues. He looked slow and ineffective, thus the entire San Diego defense appeared slow and ineffective. Williams has long been one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL and he is the igniter of the San Diego defense. With him playing better, the Chargers have a chance to get on a roll.
Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski: He needs five more points to break George Blanda's all-time scoring record of 863 points. It's a major accomplishment considering Blanda is a Raider legend. Janikowski made no progress last Sunday against Atlanta in an Oakland shutout. Janikowski is at the mercy of the Raiders' awful offense and he could continue to wait to break this record. With five points Sunday against Carolina, Janikowski goes in the Oakland record book. And that's worth watching.
5dEric D. Williams