PFF Week: Up North, Week 17
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.
This is an excellent stretch of time to be a fan of football. This weekend features an excellent set of games with numerous playoff games in the NFL along with the College Bowl season (for good and bad) which will be followed by the Wildcard round. Only one team knows its exact playoff seeding at this point (Chiefs) and there is a multitude of scenarios for every fan’s team, even those that are staring at a high draft pick in 2014.
That said the work isn’t done for PFF by a longshot as this is the first time that all 32 teams are playing together on the same day since the fourth week of preseason. Since then every player has been tracked, logged and graded on every snap. That means there is an extra edge in evaluation of those that sweat, strain, bleed and triumph on the field each game. So please take the time to check out the PFF Pro Bowl selections and feel free to comment on your favorite players below it. Please keep it civil and respectful for all of the readers though.
Wrapping up Week 16
Somehow it’s only fitting that Week 16 had a pair of matchups between the AFC and NFC North with each one having playoff implications. The Bengals locked up their third straight playoff berth by winning the AFC North with a big win over the Vikings. Baltimore was blown out by the Patriots at home setting their playoff hopes back a bit. The Steelers kept their longshot playoff hopes alive by staving off the Packers who helped with some questionable clock management at the end. However, the Packers’ hopes stayed alive as the Lions dropped their fifth game in six tries thanks to the Giants to be eliminated from the playoff hunt. The Bears were slammed by the Eagles on Sunday Night football which set up the NFC North Championship in the final week. The Browns found themselves facing a highly motivated Jets team on the road and suffered their sixth straight loss on the year. For a more detailed review of the games check out the 3TFO articles here.
So with another week in the books it’s time to check out just who made the cut for the PFF Team of Week 16 and which players struggles landed them on the infamous ‘Had a Bad Day’ Team. Also produced by Khaled Elsayed is the Race for Rookie of the Year update with a trio of players hailing from the AFC/NFC North’s making the top five. With the season winding to a close the PFF Power Rankings further solidifies itself as each team’s strengths, weaknesses, disappointments and surprises are all taken into account.
Now that doesn’t mean that some players who don’t get the same accolades as the big name players are left behind. Gordon McGuinness’ Secret Superstars ensures that those who grind it out get some recognition for their efforts. The 32 Observations series by Nathan Jahnke takes a common theme and checks to see how each team compares and contrasts with it each week. So as you can see, PFF is more than just a bunch of pretty stats to look at.
Looking Ahead to Week 17
It should be noted that the NFC North finished 17-23 vs. non-division teams while the AFC North ended just slightly better at 19-21 for 2013. That means the NFL’s shift to make divisional games matter just a bit more by having a slate in the final week is helping make things that much more interesting. While the Bengals are guaranteed a home playoff game they could snare a bye week with a win and Patriots loss. Even if they don’t get that prize they’ll be happy to keep the Ravens out of the playoffs for the first time in the John Harbaugh era. The Steelers need a win along with a bunch of help for the playoffs but the Browns won’t go quietly into the offseason as a win here would be something to rally around in the offseason.
The NFC North offers plenty of intrigue this week. This is a historical weekend as it will be the final game at the Metrodome for the Vikings who will be playing outdoors for the next two seasons at the Minnesota Golden Gophers venue while their new home is built. Will Adrian Peterson or Calvin Johnson play in this game though? The Packers may have swayed public opinion their way by announcing the return of Aaron Rodgers as the starter after missing seven games. Despite what last week’s results may have been the Bears are no slouches offensively. They are one of three teams with a 1,200 yard rusher and receiver (PHI, WAS) but they are also the only team that also has a pair of 1,200 yard receivers and a 1,200 yd rusher as well. Will that be enough to beat the Packers at home? Take a look at the 3TFO on each game for a further look and be sure to check out the PFF Pick’em to see what the analysis staff think will transpire.
It’s been a long and rewarding season here at PFF and a special thanks to all the subscribers who’ve helped make it happen. If you enjoy the site take a look at a year-long subscription for $26.99 to show your support. Also if you have suggestions for future articles log them below in the comments section so we can see about fulfilling those requests. Remember, if you aren’t getting better you’re just getting worse and enjoy watching your favorite teams this weekend.