- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10:
Audition time for Mike McCoy? Denver coach John Fox clearly is going to be motivated to win Sunday at Carolina. He was the Panthers' coach for nine years before getting fired after the 2010 season. And he isn’t the only Denver coach with something to prove. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was an assistant in Carolina from 2000 to 2008. He likely is going to be a head coaching candidate in a couple of months. If the Panthers fire Ron Rivera, I’d think McCoy would be on their short list. He could impress ownership with a good showing by his unit Sunday.
Chargers hope for three-receiver success: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers had great success (10-for-10 passing for 143 yards) in the three-receiver set in Week 9 against Kansas City. It was his best effort using the set in 16 weeks. In the first seven games of the year, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Rivers completed 63.5 percent of his passes and averaged 6.8 yards per completion using three receivers. In Week 9, Rivers averaged 14.3 yards per completion. Expect the Chargers to have a lot of confidence using the set against the Buccaneers.
Raiders try for rare win in Baltimore: The Raiders have not beaten the Ravens in Baltimore in four tries. The previous time the Raiders won in Baltimore (when it was the Colts) was in the 1977 postseason in the famous “Ghost to the Post” playoff game. The Raiders won on Christmas Eve in double overtime. (I remember it like it was 35 years ago.) Will things change for Oakland? It won’t be easy. The Ravens have won 14 straight home games, the longest current home streak in the NFL.
Chiefs going down easy: If the Chiefs are going to pull off a massive upset at Pittsburgh Monday night, their running backs must be tougher. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chiefs have gained an average of 3.3 yards per rush before first contact this season. It is the fourth-best rate in the league. However, the Chiefs have gained an average of just 1.4 yards per rush after first contact. That is tied for the sixth-lowest in the league. Perhaps getting bigger back Peyton Hillis back after he missed several weeks with an ankle injury will help. Hillis had some decent runs in Week 9. He was brought in for his toughness, and the Chiefs are still looking for it.
The power of Manning: We’ve all seen several statistics showing the impact Peyton Manning has made on Denver’s offense in the first half of the season. But this one is stunning: Denver has punted 31 times this season and is on pace for 62. Last season, Denver punted 101 times. Anyone in Denver miss all of those Tim Tebow-led three-and-outs? Didn’t think so.