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AFC West: Final Word

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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 8:

Will the Chargers challenge Nnamdi again? Last season, few teams challenged Nnamdi Asomugha. But the Chargers went after the star Oakland cornerback in a game at San Diego. Early in the game, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers went to receiver Vincent Jackson deep, who burnt the Pro Bowl player. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Rivers and Jackson take on Asomugha again Sunday. Rivers and Jackson have been connecting on the deep ball all season and they are one of the better tandems in the league. Jackson has already proven he can beat Asomugha, and I’m sure he is anxious to try to do it again.

Broncos know they are in for a fight: The Broncos are about to face one of their most physical opponents of the season at Baltimore on Sunday. It will be a huge challenge for Josh McDaniels’ 6-0 team. McDaniels has gained a reputation early in his head-coaching career for preparing well for opponents. All week, he has been readying his troops for a smash-mouth affair Sunday. Let’s see how Denver, who has answered every challenge this season, handles the physical Ravens.

Will the Chargers bring out the best in the Raiders again? The Raiders played arguably their best game of the season in Week 1 when they hosted San Diego on "Monday Night Football." The Raiders beat up San Diego. It seemed every other play a Charger was on the grass in pain. Oakland looked like it was going to be a potential playoff contender in the game despite losing in the final seconds. Since then, the Raiders have been blown out four times. Perhaps the Chargers will inspire Oakland again. But, last season, the Raiders played San Diego tough early in the season at home before being blown out by the Chargers in San Diego later in the season.

Will the Chargers bring the house against J-Russ? The Chargers ignited their anemic pass rush by using the safety blitz extensively against the Chiefs last Sunday. It will be interesting to see if San Diego continues to use the same plan to mess with Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who will be fighting to keep his starting job. Russell hasn’t reacted well to surprise attacks, so the Chargers may want to unleash the safeties again.

Ray Lewis could have been a Bronco: When free agency started, the Broncos were connected to both Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins and Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis. The Broncos immediately went after Dawkins and signed him. The Lewis talks never really took off and he ended up back in Baltimore. Dawkins has been a major part of Denver’s resurgent defense and Lewis is playing well for the Ravens. It would have been interesting to see Dawkins and Lewis together on the same team. But we’ll just have to settle for seeing them on the same field Sunday.