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Friday, October 7, 2011
Final Word: AFC West

By Bill Williamson

» NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 5:

Raiders likely to miss Andre Johnson again: For the second straight season, the Raiders are expected to face the Texans without having to defend superstar receiver Andre Johnson. He has a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out of the Raiders' visit to Houston on Sunday. Houston beat Oakland, 31-24, in Week 4 of 2010. The Texans relied on 249 yards rushing in the game.

Chargers' Vincent Jackson
Vincent Jackson and the Chargers' receivers could be set for a big day running after the catch against Denver.
Yards after the catch available in Denver: The Denver Broncos’ defense must do all it can to keep the Chargers’ receivers in check after they catch the ball. San Diego’s’ receivers are strong after the catch and the Broncos’ defense has been one of the worst in the NFL in allowing yards after the catch. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver has allowed 96 catches that involved yards after the catch. It has allowed 556 yards after the catch in four games for an 8.4-yard average per catch. Of Denver's passing yards allowed, 48.1 percent come after the catch. Denver has missed left cornerback Champ Bailey in the past three games. He is an outstanding tackler and he is hoping to play Sunday.

Crucial Luck game: If the Kansas City Chiefs win at Indianapolis on Sunday, they will push further away from the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. The Stanford quarterback is considered as the best prospect to enter the NFL in years and he will surely be the No. 1 overall pick. The Chiefs beat Minnesota in Week 4 in a battle of winless teams. Now, the Chiefs play the 0-4 Colts. If the Chiefs lose this game, they’ll still be in contention for the Luck. Although getting Luck is one heck of a consolation prize, no one involved in Sunday’s game is hoping to have the No. 1 pick.

Raiders need to show they can win a non-divisional road game: The Raiders have ended a lot of nasty streaks lately and they are currently enjoying the NFL’s longest division win streak, which stands at eight. Oakland can end a bad streak at Houston. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Oakland has lost seven consecutive non-divisional road games since a win at Pittsburgh in Week 13 of 2009. Since the start of 2006, the Raiders are 3-23 in non-divisional road games. It is the worst record in the NFL during that stretch.

Chargers like playing in Denver lately: The Chargers are averaging nearly 23 points a game. They scored a season-high 26 points in a Week 4 win over Miami. Perhaps Sunday’s trip to Denver will spark an explosion by the Chargers’ offense. They have loved playing in the Mile High City the past five years. Since 2006, the Chargers have scored 179 points in five games in Denver. Their lowest output in that stretch is 32 points. The Chargers are 4-1 in their past five trips to Denver. Their only loss in the stretch was the infamous Ed Hochuli game in 2008 when the Broncos won, 39-38, in a classic game that was marred by a controversial late call by the official.