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Friday, December 14, 2012
Final Word: AFC West

By Bill Williamson

NFC Final Word: East | West | North | SouthAFC: East | West | North | South


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. His new team, the Denver Broncos, 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, including the postseason, at Baltimore. 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.

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is 8-2 with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions against the Ravens.
Chargers miss Tolbert: The Chargers' running game is struggling. They haven’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 that can get tough yards. San Diego misses Mike Tolbert. They will see him Sunday. He left San Diego in free agency for Carolina, butáhasn’t helped the Panthers much. He has 90 yards rushing on 30 carries and he has 24 catches. He was a big part of the Chargers’ offense in recent seasons. He was always there for tough yards, timely catches and he was a special teams star. Not signing Tolbert goes down as one of the team’s bigger recent miscues.

Oakland draft status will be closely watched: The Raiders, 3-10, are currently 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. Kansas City is on pace for the No.1 pick. Carolina is on pace for the No. 5 pick and the Chargers are on pace for the No. 9 pick. Thus, each Oakland game will have a direct impact and in tiebreakers in 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. The Chiefs have been outscored by 53 points in division games. Heading into Week 14, that was the worst division-game point differential in the NFL. However, the Cardinals left the Chiefs off the hook by taking a 58-0 drubbing at Seattle. The Cardinals are now 0-5 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.