PFF Team of Week 12
Each week the staff at Pro Football Focus watches over a combined 400 hours of football to ensure we know who the best players are. It makes us the premier outfit in player evaluation, used by NFL teams and fans alike to understand which guys are getting the job done and which guys aren’t.
It’s with this knowledge we can put out our Team of the Week, going beyond the box scores and the highlight reel plays to see who were the best players on every play of every game.
Here’s the Team of Week 12.
(Note: Team will be updated after Monday Night Football games are analyzed and on Wednesday when All-22 footage helps us study plays in even more detail where needed with an asterisk noting any change.)
Quarterback: Tom Brady, NE (+4.7)
In the 14th matchup of two sure fire Hall of Famers, it was Brady who came out on top leading his team back from the brink of a blowout for a memorable victory.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Fitzpatrick (TEN)
Running Back: Eddie Lacy, GB (+4.5)
With Aaron Rodgers out, where would this team be without Lacy? He put the team on his back and carried them to an improbable tie that could be crucial come the end of the year, breaking nine tackles in the process.
Honorable Mention: Knowshown Moreno (DEN)
Full Back: Rhett Ellison, MIN (+3.9)
After his impressive rookie year Ellison has struggled to impose himself this year. Well not against the Packers as he showed why the team picked him to replace Jim Kleinsasser.
Honorable Mention: John Kuhn (GB)
Tight End: Jared Cook, SL (+3.0)
It wasn’t the biggest of weeks for tight ends but Cook showed why the Rams spent so heavily on him, converting his four targets to 80 yards and a touchdown.
Honorable Mention: Martellus Bennett (CHI)
Wide Receivers: Michael Floyd, ARZ (+5.3) and Julian Edelman, NE (+4.0)
It’s happened rather quietly but Floyd is really catching the eye recently. His development opposite Larry Fitzgerald is threatening to really open up that Cardinals offense. Over in New England Edelman had a game he’ll not soon forget as he caught 9-of-11 for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Wes who?
Honorable Mention: Brandon Marshall (CHI) and Josh Gordon (CLE)
Tackles: Joe Thomas, CLE (+4.6) and David Stewart, TEN (+2.8)
The Browns asked Thomas to do an awful lot of pass protecting as they chased the Steelers. The end result? Another day at the office for the ever excellent Thomas who gave up just the one hurry. On the right side Stewart was the best of a flawed bunch on the strength of his work keeping his QB upright.
Honorable Mention: Eugene Monroe (BAL) and Phil Loadholt (MIN)
Guards: Logan Mankins, NE (+4.2) and Rodger Saffold, SL (+4.4)
While some on the Patriots line had days to forget Mankins stepped it up with some punishing blocking where he really bullied the Broncos linebackers at the second level. Saffold had to be excellent to keep Louis Vasquez out of the team and he certainly was.
Honorable Mention: Ben Grubbs (NO) and Louis Vasquez (DEN)
Center: Manny Ramirez, DEN (+7.7)
We still have our All-22 review to do but if the grade of Ramirez holds up then it will be the second-highest we’ve ever given a center. And he did it with a negative in pass protection. That was how dominant he was in the run game.
Honorable Mention: Chris Myers (HOU)
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (defensive tackles or 3-4 defensive ends) and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: J.J Watt, HOU (+11.6) and Gerald McCoy, TB (+8.8)
These two are both becoming fixtures at these positions as I get a strange feeling of déjà vu trying to explain just how good they’ve been. Six QB disruptions and eight defensive stops in the run game for Watt, while McCoy managed eight hurries of his own.
Honorable Mention: Akiem Hicks (NO) and Cameron Jordan (NO)
Defensive Interior – Nose: Damon Harrison, NYJ (+2.8)
Harrison earning a positive for his work against the run is about a sure a thing as death and taxes.
Honorable Mention: Vance Walker (OAK)
Edge Rushers: Robert Quinn, SL (+12.9) and Von Miller, DEN (+11.4)
He made Jermon Bushrod look very, very bad. A sack, two hits and eight hurries pretty much tell you all you need to know, yet at the same time don’t paint a picture of his dominance. The six QB disruptions of Miller look feeble in comparison but the speed at which he beat down the normally excellent Nate Solder was eye catching.
Honorable Mention: DeMarcus Ware (DAL) and Whitney Mercilus (HOU)
Linebackers: Lavonte David, TB (+3.3) and Brandon Spikes, NE (+3.2)
David is a playmaking machine, adding six defensive stops to his collection and an interception for good measure. For the Patriots, Spikes spent a little less time attacking gaps and a little bit more time cleaning up after his defensive tackles, while adding some surprising solid play in coverage.
Honorable Mention: Nick Roach (OAK) and Derrick Johnson (KC)
Cornerbacks: Corey Graham, BAL (+4.3) and Xavier Rhodes, MIN (+4.2)
Our duo took full advantage of some poor quarterback play, with Graham targeted three times, allowing zero receptions compared to one pass break up and two picks. As for Rhodes he gave up six catches for 40 yards, but also had himself four pass break ups in his best day as a pro.
Honorable Mention: Logan Ryan (NE) and Terrell Thomas (NYG)
Safeties: Troy Polamalu, PIT (+5.6) and Keith Tandy, TB (+1.7)
Tough luck on Eric Berry as we opted for a more traditional pairing of safeties, but there was no looking past Polamalu who stole a ball from Chris Ogbonnaya, picked up a sack and added a pass break up in a blast from the past type performance. Tandy had a crucial pick of Matthew Stafford as he filled in for Dashon Goldson.
Honorable Mention: Eric Berry (KC) and Ryan Clark (PIT)
Kicker, Blair Walsh, MIN: No longer a rookie, but still a weapon.
Punter, Thomas Morstead, NO: Proved a valuable weapon for the Saints in a surprisingly close contest against the Falcons.
Returner, Jacoby Jones, BAL: Edged out Cordarelle Patterson. Just.
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