- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 14:
Can the Oakland Raiders beat the Green Bay Packers at their own game? The 12-0 Packers are winning because they have perhaps one of the most dangerous passing games in the history of the NFL. If the Raiders are going to be the team that knocks Green Bay off its historic pace, they may have to beat the Packers with their passing. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer is leading the NFL with an average pass of 10.9 air yards. Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell was among the league leaders in the category before he was injured. The Packers have allowed 21 pass plays of 30 yards or more this season -- the most in the NFL. Raiders coach Hue Jackson likes to air it out, so don’t expect him to get shy in Green Bay as the Raiders try to pull off the upset.
Will Tebow’s epic fourth-quarter heroics continue? The allure of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is how he has become such a clutch performer. Denver has won five games in a row. Of the past seven matches, five were decided late in the game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tebow has a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or in overtime in five of his 10 career starts. He is tied with Scott Brunner and Marc Wilson for the most by any player in his first 10 career starts since the 1970 merger.
Could the San Diego Chargers try to beat the Buffalo Bills with the shotgun? Chief among Philip Rivers' struggles this season was passing from the shotgun. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that was not an issue in a 38-14 win at Jacksonville on Monday night. Rivers completed 14 of 15 passes, averaged 13.6 yards per attempt and threw touchdowns from the formation. In the first 11 games of the season, Rivers completed just 60.3 percent of his passes and averaged just 7.6 yards per attempt in the shotgun. He has also thrown 14 of his 17 interceptions in the formation.
Coaching class of 2009 battle: When the Kansas City Chiefs visit the New York Jets on Sunday, it will pit two of the more successful coaches of the 2009 class. Nine coaches were hired after the 2008 season, including Todd Haley in Kansas City and Rex Ryan with the Jets. Many of the nine coaches have struggled, including Denver’s Josh McDaniels and the Raiders' Tom Cable (who was hired as the full-time coach after ending 2008 as the interim coach). McDaniels and Cable have already been discarded. Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts' Jim Caldwell are the only coaches in the class to have a winning percentage above .500. Ryan’s winning percentage is .613. Caldwell, of course, is in danger of being fired with his team 0-12 without star quarterback Peyton Manning. Haley joins Ryan and Caldwell as the only coaches in the 2009 class to take their teams to the playoffs. Haley is 19-25 as the Chiefs’ coach. A win over Ryan in New York could keep at bay the speculation that Haley could be fired at the end of the season.
Raiders need to get Bush going: In addition to hitting big plays in the passing game, Oakland will need to run the ball well to control the clock. The Raiders have one of the best running attacks in the NFL, but it was kept in check at Miami. Oakland had just 46 rushing yards and Michael Bush had just 18 yards on 10 carries. Bush has to have a big day in Green Bay. He has been mostly good as Darren McFadden's injury replacement. Bush has two games this season with 30 carries. The only player in Raiders history with more is Marcus Allen, who had three in a season. If Bush ties Allen’s mark Sunday, it would go a long way in keeping the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands.
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