PFF Week: Up North, Week 11
It’s your last chance to get caught up on the happenings at PFF before the next slate of games is upon us, and our new ‘PFF Week’ posts provide quick access to the week that was. The ‘Up North’ edition covers all things pertaining to the AFC and NFC North divisions for a one-stop Saturday shop built to keep you in the loop and on top of your football-watching game.
The NFL season, more than most pro leagues, is a war of attrition. The race for the NFC North title is currently led by the Lions, who happen to be the only team in the division to have their No. 1 QB start each game this year. Over in the AFC North, the Bengals’ grip on a division title is slipping thanks to a two-game losing skid, a slide that coincides with the loss of Cincy’s Top 2 defenders. With the knowledge that one play can so radically impact a team’s fortunes, the raw win and loss totals probably offer a safer indication of what’s to come in the playoff race, rather than reputation. And in that regard both divisions are still in play.
Week 10 Wrap
Week 10 was highlighted by the Lions’ pivotal win over the Bears and their limping QB, the Packers’ losing behind a third-string QB, and the Ravens and Steelers closing the gap on the Bengals. As always, PFF offered up three key elements to the performance of every team across in the league in the Re-Focused series.
The performances above resulted in eight players from the Northern squads earning a spot on the PFF Team of the Week, with five of those nominations coming on the back end of the defense — including both Baltimore CBs. The Ravens duo’s big day pushed Cincy QB Andy Dalton to the head of the ‘Had a Bad Day’ Team for Week 10, and he was joined by seven others from the AFC and NFC North.
Khaled Elsayed also put forward a few names to another prestigious team, naming his selections for the end-of-year festival in the PFF Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet. He nominated nine players from the AFC and NFC North, including three WRs, Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown, and Jordy Nelson.
Staying with the individual honors, and Giovanni Bernard may not have hit his usual heights during the loss in Baltimore, but he is still firmly entrenched in the Top 3 of our Race for Rookie of the Year. The Lions’ Larry Warford, and the Packers Eddie Lacy sit at No. 6 and No. 7 respectively.
There was also some love shown this week to Cincy’s Vincent Rey, who made it on to Gordon McGuinness’ weekly list of the under appreciated, the Secret Superstars.
And rounding out the individual highlights this week, Nathan Jahnke turned his regular 32 Observations feature over to the league’s QBs. Each week Nathan provides a unique statistically insight from each team in the league — for example, did you know Brandon Weeden has the deepest average depth of drop-back in the NFL; that Ben Roethlisberger has the most overthrown incompletions; or that Aaron Rodgers has the fewest passes defensed, just six all year.
With 10 weeks of football in the books the PFF experts have ranked the Brocnos, Seahawks, and Saints as the best teams in the league on the PFF Power Rankings. The Lions and Bengals find themselves clinging to places in the Top 10, while the Bears and Packers are tied together in 11th.
Looking Ahead to Week 11
Everybody from the AFC North and NFC North is in action this weekend, and the division standings could really tighten up if outcomes fall against the Lions and Bengals. Of course, PFF has the entire round covered, so if you want to know what’s happoening in the bigger pictrue check out the Three To Focus On series.
For the record, our experts are strongly behind the Bears and Bengals this week, while only 1 in 8 thinks the Packers can overcome the Giants and the loss of Aaron Rodgers. You can see all the tips in the PFF Pick’em.
Week 11 got under way Thursday night when the Colts staged another comeback victory, this time against the Titans. Ben Stockwell provided a look inside the game in his Re-Focused article, and Sam Monson highlighted the return to form (for a half anyway) of Chris Johnson in his Analysis Notebook. Sam also had an in-depth look at the continued rise of Arizona’s Patrick Peterson in the first edition of the notebook for the week.
Neil Hornsby continued his regular assessment of the special teamers across the league, and once again found time to praise the efforts of another Cardinal, Justin Bethel, in this week’s Third Phase.
So there it is, we’re within sight of the final third of the season and there’s still much to be decided.