Final Word: AFC West

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 5:

Special day for Brees: Former San Diego quarterback Drew Brees can set a major NFL record when his former team travels to New Orleans to play his current team. Brees has thrown a touchdown passes in 47 straight games. He is tied for the NFL record with the legendary Johnny Unitas. It would be obviously special for him to set the record against the team that drafted him in 2001. Brees left for New Orleans in 2006. What was Brees’ longest TD streak as a Charger? Eight games in 2005.

[+] EnlargeNew Orleans' Drew Brees
Derick E. Hingle/US PRESSWIREDrew Brees can break a record held by Johnny Unitas when he plays his old team, the San Diego Chargers, on Sunday.
Will Manning keep it simple again? Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is coming off his best game as a Bronco. Will he take a similar approach to New England’s defense as he did against Oakland in Week 4? According to ESPN Stats & Information, Manning threw 33 of his 38 attempts less than 10 yards downfield. Manning completed 27 of those 33 throws for 274 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Oakland. Manning’s average pass traveled 4.6 yards downfield.

A bad matchup in Kansas City? The Chiefs are 1-3, making Sunday's home game against Baltimore a must-win. The numbers suggest Kansas City will be in for quite a challenge. According to ESPN Stat & Information, the Ravens have outscored their opponents by 28 points in the first three quarters of games, which is the fourth best in the NFL. The Chiefs have been outscored by 74 points in the first three quarters of games, which is, by far, the worst mark in the NFL. If the numbers play out similarly Sunday, this could be a blowout. Here’s more statistical bad news for the Chiefs: The Ravens are 6-0 under John Harbaugh in games following either a Thursday game or a bye week. The Ravens beat Cleveland on Thursday night in Week 4.

Will San Diego continue to start fast? While the other three AFC West teams have had their challenges in the first quarter, San Diego has flourished. It hopes to do the same Sunday night at 0-4 New Orleans. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chargers have outscored their opponents by 25 points in the first quarter this season. That is the best in the NFL.

Blitzing in New England: What will give? The Denver defense is excelling while rushing five or more pass-rushers. However, New England quarterback Tom Brady is excelling when being blitzed. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Broncos have sent five or more pass-rushers 42 percent of the time (third most in the NFL), and they have held opponents to the second-lowest completion percentage on those plays (47.5). However, facing Brady will be a different animal. Brady is completing 66.7 percent of his throws against five or more rushers. His plus-4 touchdown-to-interception differential is tied for best in the NFL when blitzed.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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