Final Word: AFC West
December, 11, 2009
By Bill Williamson | ESPN.com
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Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 14:
Rivers can achieve an impressive feat: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who turned 28 on Tuesday, has thrown 99 career touchdown passes. If he throws a touchdown pass at Dallas on Sunday, he will have 100 touchdown passes in 65 NFL games, tying Dave Krieg and Jim Everett as the eighth fastest to reach that mark.
Kyle Terada/US PresswirePhilip Rivers is one touchdown pass away from 100 for his career.
Will the Broncos fare better against Manning this time? Peyton Manning has long been a Bronco killer. The Colts' quarterback has sliced this team up in the regular season and postseason. In two playoff games, after the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Manning was brilliant against Denver, throwing for 835 yards and nine touchdowns. Denver, though, has an improved pass defense this season. The Broncos have the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 180.2 yards per game.
Raiders miss a chance to get revenge on Hall: Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was a disaster in his eight-game tenure with the Raiders last season. However, Oakland won’t get an opportunity to pay Hall back for his lousy tenure in Oakland. He is out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Oakland gave up two draft picks and a huge contract to Hall. But he never fit in with the Raiders and was cut. Hall cost the Raiders $8 million for eight lackluster games.
Can Cassel bounce back? Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel will try to bounce back from perhaps his worst game as an NFL player. Cassel was awful Sunday against mentor Josh McDaniels and the Broncos in a 31-point Kansas City loss. Cassel completed 10 of 29 passes for 84 yards and was intercepted twice. He was yanked in the third quarter with the game out of hand. Cassel had been making steady strides before the disaster against Denver. He needs to bounce back.
Will Phillips upend the Chargers? Dallas coach Wade Phillips is very familiar with the Chargers. He was their defensive coordinator before leaving to become the head coach in Dallas in 2007. Many people think Phillips would have been the choice to replace the fired Marty Schottenheimer instead of Norv Turner had Phillips not left for Dallas before Schottenheimer was fired. Phillips is familiar with the Chargers’ offensive players. Expect him to go back to the future and throw some wrinkles at the Chargers.