Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 9:
Where’s V-Jax? Much of the Chargers’ offensive woes are being pinned on quarterback Philip Rivers. Yes, he is off to the worst start of his career. But he is getting a lot of help. The Chargers’ playmakers have not been making big plays. Top receiver Vincent Jackson has slowed down. He had 17 catches in the first three games of the season for 266 yards and two touchdowns. In the past four games, Jackson has 10 catches for 206 yards and one touchdown. If the Chargers are going to be able to keep up with high-flying Packers on Sunday, Jackson is going to have to increase his production.
Can Raiders break another streak? A byproduct of the Raiders’ terrible run from 2003-09 was that they built a lot of bad streaks. The good news, for Oakland, though, is since last season, they have been busting several negative streaks. Oakland, which hosts Denver on Sunday, has a chance to end another bad streak. It has lost eight straight games after its bye week. It is the longest streak in the NFL dating back to 1990, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It would be an upset, though, if this streak extends to nine.
Prater is getting his kicks: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver kicker Matt Prater is a perfect 18-for-18 on kickoffs going for touchbacks in Denver this season. Prater has 26 touchbacks on 30 kickoffs overall (86.7 percent). The Broncos have 59 return yards against them this season, which is an average of 2.0 yards per kickoff. Prater could be challenged in Oakland on Sunday, though. Oakland return man Jacoby Ford has four career kickoff returns for touchdowns and he has shown he is not afraid to take the ball out of the end zone.
Who needs Luck? A month ago, the Chiefs’ home game against the Miami Dolphins would have had major Andrew Luck Sweepstakes ramifications. The forecast was the loser of the game could end up being the big winner and land the Stanford quarterback, who is widely considered the best NFL prospect in years. But the Chiefs have won four straight games, are 4-3 and are tied for first place in the AFC West. The Dolphins have lived up to their end of the Luck bargain, though, at 0-7. The Chiefs have another prize on their mind -- beating the Chargers and moving a game closer to the postseason.
Tebow not moving the chains: There are a lot of reasons why the two-game Tim Tebow starting era is not working in Denver. There are delivery, accuracy and pocket issues. But the truth is, he is not moving the ball. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tebow has converted 3-of-17 third-down chances this season. It is a league-worst 17.6 percentage. He has been sacked six times on third down. He has the same amount of completions on third down.