Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 15:
Manning and Broncos have had different Ravens results: Peyton Manning was great against the Ravens in his career while with the Colts. The Denver Broncos, his new team, have not been great against the Ravens in Baltimore. Including the playoffs, Manning is 8-2 with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions against the Ravens, and he has won eight straight games against them. Denver, on the other hand, is 0-5 at Baltimore, including the postseason. Something has to give. The Broncos will feel good about their chances of getting their first win against the Ravens on the road if the game is close in the second half. Manning has been masterful in the second half of games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Manning has 19 touchdowns in the second half of games this season. In the fourth quarter, Manning has thrown nine touchdown passes with no interceptions.
Chargers miss Tolbert: The Chargers' running game is struggling. San Diego hasn’t had a 100-yard rusher this season, and the run game has been particularly flat in recent weeks. Ryan Mathews has been just so-so, and there is a need for a back who can get tough yards. The Chargers miss Mike Tolbert and will face him Sunday. He left San Diego in free agency for Carolina but hasn’t helped the Panthers much, with 90 yards rushing on 30 carries as well as 24 catches. Tolbert was a big part of the Chargers’ offense in recent seasons. He was always there for tough yards and timely catches, and he was a special-teams star. Not signing Tolbert goes down as one of the team’s bigger recent miscues.
Oakland's draft status will be watched closely: The Raiders, at 3-10, are on pace for the No. 3 pick. But they can end up anywhere in the top 10. The Raiders’ three final games are at home against Kansas City on Sunday, at Carolina and then at San Diego. The Chiefs are on pace for the No. 1 pick, Carolina the No. 5 pick and the Chargers the No. 9 pick. Thus, each Oakland game will have an impact, directly and in tiebreakers, on determining the top 10 picks.
Chiefs are lousy in divisional games: The Chiefs hope their AFC West luck changes Sunday at Oakland. The 2-11 Chiefs are 0-4 against AFC West opponents, and the games have not been close. Heading into Week 14, the Chiefs had the worst division-game point differential in the NFL in being outscored by 53 points. However, the Cardinals let the Chiefs off the hook by taking a 58-0 drubbing at Seattle. The Cardinals are 1-4 in NFC West games and have been outscored by 103 points in division games. The Chiefs certainly don’t want to overtake the Cardinals in that category this week.
Broncos, Ravens going in different directions: Denver, which is 10-3 and on pace for the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs, has won eight straight games, which is the current longest win streak in the NFL. Baltimore saw its 15-game home win streak snapped against Pittsburgh in Week 13. The Ravens haven’t lost two straight at home since 2007.