PFF Week: Up North, Week 4
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.
In a way, the teams from the AFC North and NFC North exacted the maximum return from Week 3’s action. Five teams came away with victories, including a key first win for the Browns, while the only losses were suffered in-house — the Bengals beat the Packers, the Bears trumped the Steelers, and the Browns got that ice-breaker over the Vikings. With the dust of the season’s first three weeks settled, the North divisions stand as a microcosm of the league — the Bears are perfect, the Steelers and Vikings are winless, and everyone else sits somewhere in the middle.
Week 3 Wrap
You can catch up on what our PFF analysts had to say about every game from Week 3 by clicking on the links to our Re-Focused articles below. However, to get a true feel for what’s happened on the gridiron you’ll need to sign up for our Premium Stats — where else could you find out how long Matthew Stafford takes to throw his average pass, how frequently Charles Tillman gives up a pass into his coverage, or how Terrell Suggs’ Pass Rushing Productivity compares across the league?
Those performances led to four players from the North divisions getting a nod from Khaled Elsayed in his PFF Team of Week 3. Cincinnati boasted two members, Michael Johnson and Leon Hall, while the Steelers (Antonio Brown), and the Browns (T.J. Ward) each netted one.
On the flip-side, four players made it in to the ‘Had a Bad Day’ Team, Week 3. In fact some of the biggest names in the divisions made the PFF ‘naughty list’ this week, including a D-line trio of B.J. Raji, Geno Atkins, and Jared Allen… fickle game this football.
You can take an in-depth look at how Geno Atkins earned his place on that infamous team by checking out Sam Monson’s Analysis Notebook. This week Sam detailed the variety of blocking schemes the Packers used to keep Atkins in check.
Each week of the regular season, Nathan Jahnke’s 32 Observations offers up a unique insight on each team. This week he revealed Matthew Stafford has gained more yards throwing to the middle of the field than any QB in the game, that Joe Flacco leads the league in third-down passing yards, and that Andy Dalton has the third-worst completion percentage in the NFL when passing under pressure.
There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic for the future Up North, as the divisions field half the Top 10 players in PFF’s Race for Rookie of the Year. The Bengals’ Giovanni Bernard sits in third place, while his teammate Tyler Eifet is 10th. The Lions also have two in the running, Ezekiel Ansah (seventh) and Larry Warford (eighth). Kyle Long of the Bears sits in sixth spot, while Packer David Bakhtiari was in the Top 10 until last week. You can have a look at how each 2013 first-round pick is faring by reading Khaled Elsayed’s First-Rounders in Focus: Week 3.
Also, Neil Hornsby gives a glimpse of the work done by the league’s top special teamers in The Third Phase.
All that action and analysis led to our experts placing the Packers, Bears, Bengals, and Ravens inside the Top 10 in the PFF Power Rankings: Week 3. Predictably, the poor starts from Pittsburgh and Minnesota leave them in the bottom seven, but as they play each other in London this week there’s hope at least one of them can begin a move upward.
Looking Ahead to Week 4
With the Packers on a bye there’s only four games involving teams from the AFC North and NFC North this week. If that’s not enough football for you, you can check out our game previews for every matchup this week in the Three To Focus On series.
- 3TFO: Baltimore at Buffalo
- 3TFO: Cincinnati at Cleveland
- 3TFO: Chicago at Detroit
- 3TFO: Pittsburgh at Minnesota
And if you’re looking for a positive omen heading into the weekend, take a look at who our experts think will emerge victorious this week in the PFF Pick’em: Week 4 — Cincinnati are one of only three unanimous selections this week, and our tipsters have hit on 17 of 20 such choices this year.
Each year stars emerge from unlikely places on rosters across the league, and as we approach the quarter mark of the season several players are starting to showcase their talents. Gordon McGuinness reveals the best of each round’s hidden gems in his Secret Superstars feature, and this week he has reserved applause for Johnathan Franklin of the Packers, and Cleveland’s John Hughes.
Peter Damilatis has his Injury Report: Next Man Up, Week 4 which fills you in on the key players that have to step up in the face of adversity.
Finally, if you’re interested in a little football philosophy, Steve Palazzolo has used this week’s Palazzolo’s Pitch to discuss the new “big nickel” packages defenses are employing to combat ever evolving NFL offenses.
So there it is, another week down and another big weekend of action ahead of us. Hope your team wins this week, whether they’re playing at home or far across the ocean.