Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:
Chiefs need to harass Manning: Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said earlier this week his team needs to play perfect to beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That means the Chiefs, who have a solid pass rush, must make Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning uncomfortable. That won’t be easy. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Manning has been sacked or put under duress just 13.9 percent of his drop backs this season. It is the lowest rate in the NFL. The league average is 21.1 percent.
Bengals should be well prepared to face Palmer: Carson Palmer is badly going to want to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals traded Palmer to Oakland in October of last year. Palmer was the quarterback in Cincinnati from 2004 through the 2010 season before he essentially retired from the team because he wanted to be traded. Expect the Bengals to fiercely game plan for him. While Palmer knows the Bengals well, they have three coaches who know Palmer’s every move, instinct and thought -- head coach Marvin Lewis, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and defensive assistant Hue Jackson. They all coached Palmer. They all worked very closely with him or against him in practice. Palmer will have to be at his very best to beat the Bengals because of the intimate knowledge that will go into their game plan.
Chargers need to step up: The San Diego Chargers are 4-6 and have lost five of the past six games. But they are just two games out of a wild-card position, so if they can beat the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego could have some life. But the Chargers will be challenged to beat the 8-2 Ravens. The Chargers have not beaten a team that currently has a winning record. Their next three opponents are all AFC North foes. Cincinnati comes to San Diego next week and then the Chargers go to Pittsburgh. All three teams are .500 or better.
Denver stout against the run: The best thing going for the Chiefs’ offense is running back Jamaal Charles. Expect the Broncos’ defense to concentrate on stopping him. And Denver's defense is playing great against the run. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver’s run defense is second in the NFL with opposing teams averaging just 2.1 yards per rush before contact. Against San Diego last week, Denver hit the runner at or behind the line of scrimmage on nine of 23 rush attempts.
Ravens tough on the AFC West: Baltimore is 2-0 against the AFC West this season and 8-1 in its past nine games against the division heading into its game at San Diego. The good news for San Diego is the Ravens’ lone loss during that stretch came in San Diego in Week 15 last season. Also, the Ravens have won five straight games against teams with losing records. Yes, their last loss to a team with a losing record came in Week 15 of last season.