The Cowboys remained incredibly consistent from Week 11 to Week 12. The only player that had a significant change in snaps was Barry Church who typically plays as a dime safety. Over the last three weeks he played between 20-35% of snaps, but this week it was just 7%.
Miami saw a lot of changes along the defensive line. Randy Starks saw his lowest percentage of snaps last week at 39%, and this week it was the highest percentage with 73%. Paul Solali also saw those extreme changes from 28% to 57%. Tony McDaniel missed last week, but was back with 35%, while Igor Olshansky didn’t play. Safety Chris Clemons saw his first snaps of the season with nine. Defensive backs Will Allen and Nolan Carroll both saw significant decreases in snaps because they were no longer playing the Bills three receiver base set.
Packers 27, Lions 15
Both inside linebackers for the Packers suffered injuries in the game, so D.J. Smith played 69% of the game while Robert Francois played 42%. In his second game back defensive end Mike Neal was up to 44% of snaps, while Howard Green was down to just 3%. The Packers needed their nickel defense for almost the entire game so Sam Shields was up to 93% of snaps. This was the first time he had more than 80% since Week 3.
The Detroit secondary had some injuries which didn’t help against the Green Bay’s receivers. Both Chris Houston and Louis Delmas who played every snap last week played 23% and 9% respectively. In turn, safety Amari Spivey was up to 94% and cornerback Aaron Berry and safety Chris Harris up to 91%. At defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was down to 55% of snaps thanks to getting thrown out of the game. Corey Williams and Sammie Lee Hill took over, as they were both up to 61% and 42% of the game respectively. At defensive end Willie Young was back to action, and played 28% of game.
Ravens 16, 49ers 6
The Ravens just had a few changes, with Albert McClellan taking over the linebacker snaps from Dannell Ellerbe and played 53% of the game. Last week defensive backs Chris Carr and Haruki Nakamura saw very limited snaps, but didn’t play at all, while Tom Zbikowski played 10% of snaps after not playing the last two weeks.
As usual the 49ers make things easy, with nine of the eleven starters playing 95% of snaps or more. Because they were playing the Ravens who rarely use three wide receiver sets, they used a lot more base defense than usual. Outside linebacker Parys Haralson played 73% of snaps and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga played 66% of snaps; which were season highs for both players. While nickel cornerback Chris Culliver and pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith were both down to 27%. Safety Reggie Smith and cornerback Tramaine Brock both saw significant time against the Cardinals, but weren’t needed on defense in this one.
Bengals 23, Browns 20
The Bengals were without pass rushing defensive end Carlos Dunlap for the second time in three weeks. Michael Johnson picked up the slack, and played 71% of the snaps compared to 31% last week. Against the Browns, they needed more defensive backs, so cornerback Kelly Jennings was up to 43% of snaps and safety Gibril Wilson up to 25%. Players who are more used in running situations like defensive tackle Domata Peko (51%), defensive end Frostee Rucker (35%) and linebacker Manny Lawson (37%) all saw significant decreases.
The Browns have been having a number of younger players see the field that weren’t seeing it earlier in the year. Seventh round rookie Eric Hagg played 51% of the game at safety. At defensive tackle Brain Schaefering played 46% of the game which is the most he has seen this season. Defensive end Auston English was up to 31% of snaps after playing just 6% last week. In his second game this year linebacker Titus Young was up to 24% of snaps. Finally undrafted rookie Kiante Tripp made his debut with the defense and played five snaps at defensive tackle.
Broncos 16, Chargers 13
What the Broncos have been doing is working on defense, so it makes sense to not change it. The only major change was linebacker Robert Ayers who played 56% of the game after playing 71% last week.
After missing the last four weeks, linebacker Shaun Phillips returned and played 92% of the game. Travis LaBoy had been stepping up and playing nearly every down, but was back down to a more usual 68%. Antwan Barnes had been playing the other linebacker spot, but he was down to 40%. Every other significant change was due to the increase in nickel defense.
Panthers 27, Colts 19
The revolving door at linebacker continued to open and close, with Omar Gaither missing time yet again, and Dan Connor coming back and playing 40% of the game. Defensive end Charles Johnson had seen his snaps slowly decrease in November, but it was back up to 95% of snaps. Last week nickel cornerback Darius Butler didn’t play a down, but played half of the game this time.
The Colts defense has played poorly this year which makes their defensive players not the best plays, and the fact that they substitute people in and out so much makes things more difficult. 12 different players played between 40-61% of snaps this past week, and only five players playing more than that. Last week a few players strayed from the norm, but returned to it this time around. The only players playing every down are Antoine Bethea, Pat Angerer and Jerraud Powers.
Falcons 24, Vikings 14
The major change in Atlanta came at cornerback where Brent Grimes suffered an injury early, and was replaced by Dominique Franks who played 95% of the game. Linebacker Mike Peterson got to see the field for the first time since Week 6 and played 13% of the game, while third round rookie Akeem Dent made his debut with the defense with one snap.
At linebacker Erin Henderson returned to the lineup, but only played 28% of snaps. Kenny Onatolu took over for him last week didn’t play at all. The Vikings needed a lot more defensive back sets, and Asher Allen and Tyrell Johnson both suffered injuries. This left Benny Sapp playing 91% of the game in his second game with action, Mistral Raymond playing 68% of the game in his third game of action, and Marcus Sherels playing 58% which is the most he has seen.
Texans 20, Jaguars 13
At safety Daniel Manning returned to the lineup and played 55% of snaps, while the player who replaced him Troy Nolan was down to 45%. They had slight changes in snap counts mostly due to a little less nickel defense, which mostly led to DeMeco Ryan up to 57% of snaps, while Shaun Cody was up to 44%. Little used players Tim Bulman and Tim Dobbins didn’t see any defensive snaps in this game.
The injures have kept piling up for Jacksonville in the month of November. Matt Roth, Derek Cox and Clint Session all missed this game. At cornerback Ashton Youboty played 97% of the game, and undrafted rookie Kevin Rutland who last played in Week 5 took over the nickel snaps and played 26% of the game. On the defensive line, Leger Douzable took over and played 72% of the game, while at linebacker Russell Allen also played 72% of the game. Both defensive end George Selvie and undrafted rookie T.J. Heath made their debuts with the defense on very limited snaps.
Jets 28, Bills 24
Whenever a team plays the Bills, they typically use an extra defensive back on plays. When the Jets feel the need to have a pass defense, they use a lot of defensive backs. This meant Brodney Pool and Donald Strickland both played this week after not playing last week, playing 62% and 44% of snaps. Kyle Wilson was also up to 78%, while also all of the defensive ends and Bart Scott had significant decreases. Pass rusher Aaron Maybin was up to 38% of snaps, which was the second most he has seen. The most was also against the Bills.
After such a strong start, everything has gone wrong for Buffalo. Terrence McGee, Danny Batten, Torell Troup, Antonio Cromartie and Kirk Morrison all saw snaps for the Bills last week but didn’t this time around. Second round pick Aaron Williams saw 98% of snaps at cornerback which is the most he’s seen. After having a down week, defensive end Alex Carrington was up to 75% of snaps which is a new high for him. Taking over the slot cornerback role was seventh round rookie Justin Rogers who played 45% of the game.
Raiders 25, Bears 20
The Raiders defense has remained relatively healthy recently, so they didn’t see much change. The biggest was at defensive tackle where Richard Seymour played 80% of the game, while John Henderson was down to 29%. At defensive end there was a less extreme change, with Trevor Scott seeing his snaps increase to 41%, while Lamarr Houston was down to 57%.
The Bears haven’t been able to consistently have the same backup defensive linemen play. Matt Toeaina hasn’t played the last two weeks, but played 51% of this game, while Anthony Adams didn’t play. At defensive end Mario Addison had been a backup the last two weeks, but Chauncey Davis took over and made his season debut playing 21% of the game. At safety things have stabilized some with Major Wright playing 80% of the game and Brandon Meriweather playing the other 20%.
Cardinals 23, Rams 20
The Cardinals were without Dan Williams in this game, but they played more extra defensive back sets which led to no individual linemen stepping up in his absence. Defensive backs Richard Marshall (89%), A.J. Jefferson (70%) and Michael Adams (57%) all saw significant increases in snaps. On the flip side safety Rashad Johnson was down to 43% of snaps, while linebacker was O’Brien Schofield was down to 36%.
The Rams had defensive tackle Justin Bannan and slot cornerback Marquis Johnson miss action. In their place, Dorell Scott played 36% of the game as a backup defensive tackle, and Roderick Hood took over when they needed a third cornerback and played 40% of the game. The most notable change in snaps was Chris Long who played 91% of the game, which is back to a more normal amount for him.
Redskins 23, Seahawks 17
The Redskins mess at safety got a little more figured out in this game. LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe each had 69% of snaps, while Reed Doughty had 57%, and DeJon Gomes didn’t play a down. Byron Westbrook didn’t play at all, so slot cornerback Kevin Barnes saw an increase to 43%. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh who was benched for Perry Riley a few weeks back didn’t play a single down on defense for the first time this year.
Run stopping defensive tackle Alan Branch missed his first game of the season, which led to Clinton McDonald’s snaps skyrocketing to 90% of the game. After not playing last week, Tony Hargrove returned to his backup defensive tackle role and played 26% of the game. The Seahawks needed significantly less nickel defense compared to last week, so linebacker K.J. Wright was up to 85% of snaps, and slot cornerback was down to 21%. The lack of nickel defense also meant there was less of a need for a pass rush, so defensive end Raheem Brock only played 41% of the game while Red Bryant was up to 70%.
Steelers 13, Chiefs 9
Early on in the game, Troy Polamalu had concussion like symptoms, so Ryan Mundy took over and played 86% of the game at safety. On the defensive line Cameron Hayward didn’t play a down last week, but was up to 27% of snaps which is the most he’s had since Week 4. This meant Ziggy Hood (84%) and Brett Keisel (86%) who played every down last week didn’t play as much this time around. At inside linebacker, we saw Larry Foote (29%) come in for James Farrior (81%) much like we did early on in the season before all of the injuries happened.
The biggest change was at safety, where Jon McGraw got the start and played all but one down, while Donald Washington didn’t play at all. After missing last week Glenn Dorsey returned to the lineup and played half of the game which meant rookie Jerrell Powe was back to not playing. Safety Travis Daniels returned to the dime defense and played 42% of the game. At defensive end Allen Bailey played 38% of the game which is the most he has seen since Week 3, and Amon Gordon was down to 12% which is the lowest he has seen all season.
Patriots 38, Eagles 20
While the Patriots have been a mess in terms of snap counts for most of the season, they have slowly started to stabilize in recent weeks. The only player seeing significant time after not playing last week was safety Sergio Brown (44%). Seeing significant increases was linebacker Tracy White (23% to 88%) and cornerback Philip Adams (43% to 70%). On the other hand both Antwaun Molden and Andre Carter played every down last week but played less than 70% of the game this week, while linebacker Gary Guyton played just 15% of the game.
While Nnamdi Asomugha played, he only had 26% of snaps. This meant Brandon Hughes had his first major role this season by playing 79% of snaps, while Joselio Hanson played all but one down. Linebacker Keenan Clayton had a significant role last week with 44% of snaps at weak side linebacker, but almost all of the snaps this week went to Brian Rolle hwo played 70% of the game.
Saints 49, Giants 24
The bye week gave Patrick Robinson a chance to get healthy, and he played 78% of the game. Jabari Greer typically plays close to every down, but only played 70% of the game at cornerback. Scott Shanle also saw a significant decrease down to 53%, as he was taken out for some nickel defense plays, as well as getting taken out so Ramon Humber (32%) and Will Herring (14%) could both see their most significant playing time of the season. In some nickel defenses the Saints used four down linemen, which included Tom Johnson, so his snaps increased to 42%. Defensive end Jeff Charleston also saw a big increase up to 37% of snaps, while Cameron Jordan was down to 38%.
The biggest news out of New York is Osi Umenyiora’s injury, which led to him playing just 27% of the game. Taking the most snaps from him was Jason Pierre-Paul who played 82% of the game. This was the most snaps he has seen since Week 4. The Giants used five or six defensive backs the majority of the game, which brought Aaron Ross up to 89% of snaps, while Prince Amukamara played 44%. Seeing the biggest decrease from these formations was middle linebacker Mark Herzlich who played just 29% of the game.
Titans 23, Bucs 17
At middle linebacker Barrett Ruud missed his second game in three weeks, so Colin McCarthy played every down and again played well. After missing the last two weeks Dave Ball returned and played 65% of the game. This basically took Malcolm Sheppard out of the game plan, as he only played two downs. Tennessee used more base defense against the Buccaneers, so nickel cornerback Alterraun Verner was down to 43% of snaps, while outside linebacker Will Witherspoon was up to 56%. At defensive tackle Jurrell Casey saw a decrease down to 49% compared to 67% last week, while defensive end Derrick Morgan went from 25% to 40%.
At safety Tanard Jackson returned to action after missing last week, so he played every snap while Corey Lynch went to the bench. Defensive end Michael Bennett missed his first game of the season, so Da’Quan Bowers saw a significant increase in snaps from 42% to 76%. Defensive tackle Brian Price suffered an injury after playing 24% of the game, so Roy Miller took over and played 59%. This is about how much Miller was seeing prior to the move for Albert Haynesworth (60%). At linebacker Dekoda Watson missed the past two weeks, but played 19% of the game.