Three players to watch

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

Denver quarterback Kyle Orton: Will Orton still have his mojo working when Denver plays at Baltimore after having a bye? Orton was getting better each week prior to the bye. Believe it or not, Orton was one of the most effective quarterbacks in the entire league. The Ravens defense can be tough on quarterbacks, so this will be an excellent test for Orton.

Kansas City has a bye.

Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell: Hate to pile on here, but who else could it possibly be this week? Russell will be the most watched player in the division and one of the most watched players in the league when Oakland visits San Diego. Coming off a game in which he was benched, Russell will get another chance. He is the starter in Oakland. But if he bumbles his way through another quarter or two, will he get the hook again? It will be fascinating to watch.

San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson: This is a chance for Tomlinson, who has been showing signs of busting out the past two games, to improve. Oakland gave up a whopping 316 yards on the ground to the Jets last week. Tomlinson had an up-and-down game against the Chiefs. He struggled in short-yardage situations. He had one run of 36 yards but he gained just 35 yards on 22 other carries. If he struggles against the Raiders’ porous run defense, it may be time to worry about Tomlinson.