PFF Week: Up North, Week 6
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.
It certainly looks as though the race for the division crown in both the AFC North and NFC North will rage deep into season 2013. The top three teams in each division are tied on two losses, although the Packers’ bye and the Bears’ Thursday night victory does have the NFC North looking a little spread out at first glance. With each team in action this week, and playing foes outside their own division, will we see the true contenders emerge?
Week 5 Wrap
Before turning your attention to the weekend’s matchups, why not catch up on what Week 5 had to offer? PFF’s Re-Focused articles provide an accurate snapshot of how each game played out, although for the full explanation you’ll have to sign up for our Premium Stats.
- Buffalo at Cleveland
- New England at Cincinnati
- Baltimore at Miami
- Detroit at Green Bay
- New Orleans at Chicago
The divisions fared a little better in the Race for Rookie of the Year, with Larry Warford of the Lions and Giovanni Bernard of the Bengals firmly entrenched in the Top 5, and the Packers’ Eddie Lacy tipped as one to watch.
The good work of another, less hyped, Bengal was recognized in this week’s Secret Superstar feature. Former undrafted free agent Wallace Gilberry headined Gordon McGuinness’ regular look at the players who don’t get the credit they deserve, and he was praised for his pass rushing while filling in for the injured Michael Johnson.
In another PFF regular, Nathan Jahnke’s 32 Observations this week focused on receivers of all sorts from across the NFL. The feature reveals little known facts about each team in the league, such as Torrey Smith leading the league in receiving yards on third down, Calvin Johnson leading the way in yards on slant routes, and Alshon Jeffery’s emergence as the league’s most productive hitch route runner.
This year PFF is increasing its focus on special teams, with Neil Hornsby producing a weekly wrap of the top performances in the kicking game. This Week’s Third Phase honored the work of the Bengals’ Shawn Williams, and the Bears’ Blake Costanzo.
The past week saw the first of PFF’s annual series of articles evaluating the league’s offensive lines. Khaled Elsayed’s Ranking the 2013 Offensive Lines: First Quarter revealed the Bengals as the league’s top unit through five games, with the Lions (10th) and Packers (7th) also making the Top 10… while the Ravens ranked dead last.
The “Northerners” were also represented at the top in Michael Renner’s look at QB performance in the feature Signature Stats: Accuracy Percentage. Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford both made the Top 10 in the ranking of passing excellence when things such as drops, batted passes, and throwaways are taken into consideration. Joe Flacco’s rough start to the season is reflected in his rank of 29th, although he does have some illustrious company down that end of the spectrum with Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick all in the Bottom 10.
So, with each team having played at least a quarter of its schedule our PFF experts have placed Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Chicago within the league’s elite in the PFF Power Rankings. The Ravens and Lions sit just outside the Top 10, while the Steelers and Vikings clearly have some work to do to impress our resident experts.
Looking ahead to Week 6
Get yourself ready for Week 6 by taking a look at the key matchups we at PFF will be watching for this weekend in our Three to Focus On previews. The NFC North and AFC North teams are spread across five games this weekend:
And of course kicking off the action this week was the Bears win over the Giants. You can catch a review of the game in Ben Stockwell’s ReFo: NYG @ CHI, while Sam Monson’s second Analysis Notebook of the week highlighted just how breakdowns in the New York passing game helped pave the way for the Chicago victory.
If you’re looking for a little last-minute advice on your tips for this week’s games, our experts agree on eight matchups in this week’s PFF Pick ’em. They’ve gone a healthy 23-6 on such unanimous selections this year, so the Begnals and Packers could be good things in Week 6.
Fantasy football has earned its place on the NFL landscape, and PFF has a dedicated team looking over all the ins and outs, up and downs of the season. Over at PFF Fantasy you’ll find a heap of help to set your team for the weekend, find that missing piece on the waiver wire, and scout ahead as the bye weeks take their toll on lineups.
So here we are, Week 6 and no clear favorite in either of the two North divisions. Will this be the week the real contenders stand up?