AFC West: Final Word AFC 2011 Week 12

Final Word: AFC West

November, 25, 2011
11/25/11
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:

Are Jackson and Rivers on the same page when it counts? San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson is coming off a strong game in which he caught seven passes for 165 yards. For the season, Jackson has 42 catches for 800 yards (for a whopping 19.0 yards per catch average) and seven touchdowns. However, there are some things to worry about. Jackson and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers had a difficult time connecting on critical fourth-quarter plays in the end zone in the past two games. Both plays ended up in interceptions. Against Oakland in Week 10, Jackson couldn’t locate a pass. In Week 11, Rivers’ body language indicated that Jackson didn’t run the correct route. These are two special players who often have good chemistry. But they must connect when it counts Sunday against Denver.

[+] EnlargeSan Diego's Vincent Jackson
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PRESSWIREVincent Jackson caught seven passes for 165 yards against the Bears last week.
Chargers to face Tebow again: Tim Tebow-mania in 2011 began against the Chargers in Denver. Tebow relieved former starter Kyle Orton and nearly got a comeback victory, but San Diego won 29-24. Tebow completed 4 of 10 passes for 79 yards and had six carries for 38 yards. It was enough for Tebow to be inserted in the starting lineup the next game. Denver is 4-1 since the change and San Diego is 0-5.

The Raiders must bring the heat: The Raiders have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. Oakland has 11 sacks in the past two games. Caleb Hanie probably is starting for Chicago with Jay Cutler out with a broken thumb, and Oakland has a chance to control this game with a strong pass rush. If the Raiders can make Hanie uncomfortable, the Bears will have a difficult time winning.

Chiefs must do the same: If the Chiefs are to have a chance to knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, they will have to pressure quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. And it’s possible. Roethlisberger -- who is dealing with a thumb injury -- has been sacked 31 times in 10 games. He is tied with St. Louis’ Sam Bradford for being sacked the most this season. Kansas City pressured New England’s Tom Brady in the first half with three sacks Monday night, but couldn’t get to Brady in the second half. It must bring consistent pressure Sunday night.

Tebow, Rivers go different ways in the fourth quarter: The story of Tebow and Rivers this year has been completely different. Tebow has stalled for much of the first three quarters of games, then come alive in the fourth quarter. Tebow always seems to make the right play during crunch time. Rivers has made critical mistakes in the fourth quarter during all six of the of the Chargers’ losses. It will be interesting to see if both trends continue Sunday.

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