Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 8:
Playing time has to be earned in Haley’s world: It will be interesting to see if Kansas City receiver Chris Chambers and defensive end Tyson Jackson play this Sunday against Buffalo. Both players have been healthy scratches in recent weeks. Jackson was the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2009 and Chambers was re-signed at a healthy price this offseason. Still, that’s the way it works on Todd Haley’s team. If you don’t produce, you don’t play, no matter when you were picked or how much money you make. It is working because the Chiefs are 4-2 and a very united team. So, unless Jackson and Chambers start working harder in practice, the team will move on without them.
Could Chris Johnson be right? The day after Oakland whipped host Denver 59-14 for the team’s greatest moment since the 2002 season, talkative right cornerback Chris Johnson said the Raiders are the most talented team in the NFL. It’s time for Johnson and his teammates to back up that talk. Oakland hasn’t won two straight games in the past 23 games. If the Raiders can beat visiting Seattle, even their record at 4-4 and win back-to-back games, perhaps the Raiders will be ready to take the next step. If not, Johnson’s big talk will sound rather empty.
A weekend in London: The Broncos’ reward for a 45-point home loss to Oakland? A long flight to London, where they will face San Francisco in the NFL’s annual regular-season game in England. Unlike other teams in the past, the Broncos are not spending the entire week in London. They departed after Thursday’s practice. The 49ers left earlier in the week. Denver coach Josh McDaniels said the organization researched the situation and decided to go this route. The idea is to make the week as normal as possible and keep the players comfortable working in their own surroundings as long as possible. Let’s see if it works.
Are the Chargers tough enough? Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. doesn’t think so. Horton thinks a big reason why the Chargers are 2-5 despite being ranked No. 1 in the NFL in both offense and defense is a lack of toughness. The Chargers have made countless mistakes this season. Here’s a taste of what Horton had to say: “When a team is not mentally tough and doesn’t do the little things to win, bad things usually happen. That is the story of the Chargers ... even though this team shows glimpses of being a good team on both sides of the ball, they don’t do it consistently and all those gaudy stats are meaningless.”
Chiefs have found the right mix on offense: In the past two weeks, the Chiefs’ offense has been balanced and the result has been very encouraging. After scoring just three field goals in a loss at Indianapolis, the Chiefs have scored 73 points in the past two games. A big reason for the offensive explosion is the pass is being setup by the run. The Chiefs have the No, 1 ranked run offense in the NFL. When the Chiefs scored 42 points in a win over Jacksonville on Sunday, they had 236 yards on the ground. That gave quarterback Matt Cassel the ability to make plays and he completed 13 of 18 passes. If the run continues to setup the pass in Kansas City, Cassel and the entire offense may thrive.