32 PFF stats to know for NFL Week 2
With Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season upon us, Director of Analytics Nathan Jahnke digs through the Pro Football Focus database to bring you 32 unique pieces off PFF data you need to know for the upcoming matchups.
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
1. Jets DT Leonard Williams owns the best pass-rushing productivity among NFL defensive tackles entering Week 2.
Williams had one of the league’s best pass-rushing performances in Week 1, thanks to three sacks, two hits, and two hurries on just 35 pass rushes. While the Bills have Richie Incognito, who is a solid pass-protecting guard, the rest of the offensive line isn’t as strong, meaning Williams could be in store for another big game.
2. Bills OLB Jerry Hughes had four pressures when lined up on the left side of the D-line in Week 1, tied for second-most for 3-4 OLBs.
With Mario Williams now in Miami, Jerry Hughes has made the switch from the right side of the Bills’ defensive line to the left. In his new spot, he was the only 3-4 outside linebacker with two sacks from the left side with an additional two hurries. The Jets are expected to deploy a rotation at right tackle, which simply means they don’t have a right tackle they’re currently happy with. It seems like a great opportunity for Hughes to take advantage of the situation.
New Orleans Saints @ New York Giants
3. Saints WR Brandin Cooks recorded 77 yards after the catch in Week 1, the most for wide receivers.
Fellow starting receiver Willie Snead wasn’t far behind at 51 yards, which was the fifth-most among NFL WRs. There has been a lot of change to Drew Brees surrounding cast in recent years, but the players stepped up which helped the Saints to 34 points. The Saints defense will be going up against the Giants; a team that allowed just 74 yards after the catch total against the Cowboys.
4. The Giants’ offensive line recorded the best pass-blocking efficiency among NFL O-lines in Week 1.
Going into the offseason, one of the biggest concerns for the Giants was the offensive line. As a group, however, they only allowed three hurries with no sacks or hits against the Cowboys in Week 1. While Dallas wasn’t expected to have a great pass-rush, neither are the Saints. Last year, when Eli Manning was under pressure, he produced an NFL passer rating of 78.3, compared to 100.6 without pressure. If he can keep that play up without pressure, this could be a very high-scoring game.
Tennessee Titans @ Detroit Lions
5. Titans DE Jurrell Casey recorded the highest pass-rushing productivity mark among 3-4 defensive ends in Week 1, as well as the second-best run-stop percentage.
All of that added up to Casey finding himself on our team of the week, and if he has his way, the Titan will make another appearance on next week’s team. Coming into the season, the Lions’ offensive line was a concern for the team, a unit full of high draft picks that haven’t fully panned out yet. Last week against the Colts, they looked good for the most part, but Indianapolis doesn’t have a disrupter like Casey on their D-line.
6. Matthew Stafford recorded the highest adjusted completion percentage (86.5) among QBs in Week 1.
After years of sitting at average to below-average in this category, Stafford finished in the top 10 last year, and looks like he will rank even higher in 2016 thanks to the short-passing game; his average depth of target of 5.2 was also the lowest for quarterbacks last week. The new Lions’ passing attack will face the Titans, a team who matched up against Minnesota’s Shaun Hill last week. Hill was one of the least-accurate quarterbacks in Week 1, so this will be a completely new test for Tennessee.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington
7. Cowboys C Travis Frederick has gone 151 straight pass-blocking snaps without allowing a pressure, currently the longest such streak for an offensive lineman.
The Cowboys center is known for his run blocking, but for over the last three games, he has been perfect in protecting his quarterbacks. There is certainly a chance that streak will continue for another game, as no Washington defensive linemen had more than two pressures in Week 1. Dak Prescott was just three for 13 on passes under pressure, so it’s very important for not just Frederick, but the entire Cowboys’ offensive line to remain to keep their QB clean.
8. Kirk Cousins completed all eight passes he attempted when throwing left outside the numbers.
Cousins recorded 83 yards on those completions, even though it wasn’t his strongest day passing. In 2015, he was also better throwing to the left than to the right, and in this game, he should be able to take advantage of that strength even more. In the Cowboys’ nickel defense, Brandon Carr was lining up at the right cornerback spot in Week 1. Over two games last year, Carr allowed 141 yards against Washington, so it’s likely Cousins will try to take advantage of that matchup again.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans
9. Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin has made 56 straight catches without a drop, the longest streak in the NFL.
The Chiefs might not have the most exciting offense, but they are consistent, and Maclin’s catch streak is a prime example of that. A year ago against the Texans he had a decent game of five catches for 52 yards. With how good the Texans front seven was rushing the passer against Chicago, the Chiefs will need Maclin’s consistency to keep drives going.
10. Texans LB Benardrick McKinney recorded four QB pressures last week on eight pass rushes; no other inside/middle linebacker had more than two.
Last week was arguably McKinney’s most impressive outing as a pro, thanks to both his play against the run and his pass-rushing. When Chiefs QB Alex Smith was not under pressure last year, he recorded an NFL passer rating of 110.5; with pressure, that dropped to 57.5. Keep in mind that the NFL’s passer rating doesn’t account for the 44 times Smith was sacked, either. Having one more player who can get pressure on the quarterback will be helpful in slowing down the Kansas City offense.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
11. Dolphins DE Cameron Wake recorded the top pass-rushing productivity mark among 4-3 DEs in Week 1.
New Dolphins teammate Mario Williams also put up a strong performance in his first game with Miami. If the Patriots have one weakness, it’s at offensive tackle. Nate Solder was still limited in practice after missing Week 1, which leaves the most likely lineup of Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon. While the tackles would likely get help, it might take more than a tight end staying in to block to stop Wake and Williams.
12. Patriots CB Justin Coleman was the only cornerback to have three or more passes thrown into his coverage last week and not allow a catch.
The Patriots already have one of the deepest secondaries in the league when just considering their top two cornerbacks and top three safeties. Coleman was a 2015 undrafted rookie who produced an average level of play last season, but now if he can emerge as an asset at the third cornerback spot, that will help make the Patriots’ defense even better. Coleman will be matched up against Kenny Stills in Week 2, and potentially DeVante Parker, if the Dolphins’ WR makes his season debut. You would have thought this would be an area of the New England defense to attack, but that may no longer be the case.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
13. Ravens CB Shareece Wright recorded eight stops last weekend; no other cornerback had more than four.
That was a stat line you won’t see out of an NFL cornerback every day. Wright allowed all four passes thrown his way to be caught, but for a total of only 13 yards. He had an additional stop away from his coverage in the passing game, as well as three against the run. The most impressive skill player for the Browns’ offense in Week 1 was Terrelle Pryor, so stopping the former-QB-turned-WR should be a top priority. Wright will be one of the players tasked with shutting Pryor down.
14. The Browns averaged 5.7 yards per carry in Week 1, second-most in the league.
While part of that high per-carry average came from Robert Griffin III’s rushing contributions, both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson averaged above 5 yards per carry each, partially thanks to some good run blocking. The pair will have a much harder time against a Ravens’ defense that just held LeSean McCoy and the rest of the Bills to 2.7 yards per carry. For the Browns to win, they will likely need to do a better job running than the Bills did in Week 1.
San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers
15. 49ers DE Quinton Dial recorded the best run-stop percentage (21.4) among 3-4 defensive ends.
Dial is a player who typically sees more running downs than passing downs for the 49ers, so he didn’t receive as much playing time as others in Week 1. Going up against the Carolina Panthers, who run more than most, Dial should see the field more and have a chance to continue his good play against the run. If the 49ers want to keep this game close, both he and the rest of the San Francisco D-line will need to produce a strong outing.
16. Panthers TE Greg Olsen recorded 60 receiving yards when lined up in the slot in Week 1, more than any other tight end.
Despite the return of WR Kelvin Benjamin, Olsen still played large role in the Panthers’ offense on Sunday, helping him to the highest grade for any tight end in Week 1. Last week, the 49ers only allowed 15 yards to the Rams TEs, and San Francisco had an interception when Los Angeles’ Lance Kendricks was targeted. This game will go a long way in determining whether the 49ers looked good because they were playing the Rams, or if they are actually much improved.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah averaged a position-high 2.57 yards per route run in Week 1.
The 2015 fifth-round pick has already played more offensive snaps in 2016 (52) than he did all of last season (51). Even without Tyler Eifert, who will miss the upcoming game, the Bengals kept the tight end as a big part of the offense. The Steelers surrendered 917 passing yards to opposing TEs in 2015, ninth-most in the NFL, meaning Uzoma could again put up decent numbers for the Bengals in Week 2.
18. Ben Roethlisberger was a perfect four-for-four on deep passes (traveling 20+ yards in air) in Week 1, recording 118 yards and two touchdowns on such throws.
While we certainly don’t expect Big Ben to stay perfect when throwing deep, he did record the best adjusted completion percentage on deep targets in 2015, at 50.7. While the deep passing game has been—and continues to be, judging by Week 1—a big asset for the Steelers’ offense, the Bengals have been able to slow it down in the past. In three games against Cincinnati last season, Roethlisberger completed just three deep passes and threw two interceptions. If the Steelers maintain their deep-passing game success against the Bengals, who have been able to limit it, they’ll likely win the major AFC North battle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals
19. Bucs RB Doug Martin forced a league-high seven missed tackles in Week 1.
Last season, Doug Martin led the league in missed tackles forced, with 57. On Sunday, his elusiveness helped lead the Buccaneers to a victory. Martin will have more trouble than usual against the Cardinals, however; almost every aspect of Arizona’s play is talked about more than their run defense, but against the Patriots, they did a great job holding New England RBs to just 3.4 yards per carry, and never surrendered a run longer than 13 yards.
20. Cardinals RB David Johnson averaged an NFL-best 4.1 yards after contact per carry last week.
Even though Chris Johnson is back form injury, the Cardinals made it clear Sunday night that David Johnson is their workhorse back. That decision has paid off thus far, as David Johnson was among the best running backs in Week 1. This Sunday, he’ll be facing a Tampa Bay that played remarkably well against the Falcons. The Buccaneers held RB Devonta Freeman to 1.8 yards per carry and Tevin Coleman to 2.8, thanks in part to the duo of Kwon Alexander and Lavante David. Chances are high that the team that produces the best rushing effort on Sunday will walk away with the win.
Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams
21. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett recorded seven pressures in Week 1, the most for 4-3 defensive ends.
Meanwhile, Bennett’s teammate, Cliff Avril, recorded six pressures in Week 1, tied for the second-most. For the last few years, Bennett and Avril have been among the top pass-rushing duos in the NFL, and they are on their way to claiming that for another season. The upcoming game against the Rams will give them a chance to add to their stats, as LT Greg Robinson had a poor start to his season with four pressures allowed in Week 1, and RT Rob Havenstein allowed seven, the most ever for him in a single game.
22. Rams DE William Hayes has made 38 consecutive tackles without missing one, the best rate for a defensive end.
While Aaron Donald gets much of the attention on the Rams’ defensive line (and deservedly so), Hayes has been a very consistent player. All game long, he will likely go up against Seattle OT Garry Gilliam, who allowed one sack and four hurries in Week 1, and also earned a below-average grade against the run. The Seahawks will be favorites in this one, but the Rams won both meetings last year with excellent play from their D-line. In the last game, Hayes recorded four sacks, two hits, three hurries, and three additional stops. If the Rams keep this one close, Hayes will likely be a big reason why.
Atlanta Falcons @ Oakland Raiders
23. Falcons RB Tevin Coleman recorded 101 yards after the catch in Week 1, the most for any player regardless of position.
It was a surprise to many that Tevin Coleman received as much playing time as he did in Week 1, and in that time, he made a strong impact as a receiving back thanks to multiple long gains. Last week against the Saints, the Raiders allowed just 7.3 yards per catch when the RB was the receiver, the former Hoosier may not be able to find as much success against Oakland.
24. Raiders LT Donald Penn did not allow a single sack, hit, or hurry in Week 1.
Year after year, Donald Penn has been one of the best run-blocking left tackles in the NFL, but since joining the Raiders, he has also become a very good pass-blocking tackle. On clear passing plays, he will be going up against veteran Dwight Freeney. In 2014, when Freeney was in San Diego, the two faced off in two games, with Freeney managing just two QB pressures. If Penn can hold him off again two seasons later, that will go a long way towards keeping Derek Carr upright.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Diego Chargers
25. Chargers CB Casey Hayward recorded two pass defenses in Week 1, tied for the most among cornerbacks.
One of the biggest free-agent additions made by the Chargers this past offseason was Casey Hayward, who had a strong first game, allowing just a 50 percent catch rate. Having this much depth at cornerback is important for a meeting with Jacksonville, a squad that has multiple effective receiving options. In Week 1, the Chargers used Hayward as an outside cornerback rather than in his typical slot role, which means he will likely see a lot of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in Week 2—with Jason Verrett seeing the other—making for intense WR-CB battles on both sides of the field throughout the game.
26. Chargers RB Danny Woodhead gained 3+ yards on 81.3 percent of his carries, the second best rate for running backs in Week 1.
While Melvin Gordon had a great Week 1 outing, Woodhead ended up having more snaps and was consistently helping the offense. The Jaguars greatly improved their coverage and pass-rush over the offseason, but they didn’t gain as much in the run game. With Keenan Allen injured, San Diego’s rushing attack is now even more important, and while Gordon will continue to get several carries, Woodhead has earned a chance to see more attempts.
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos
27. Colts WR Phillip Dorsett caught two deep passes (traveling 20+ yards in the air) for 84 yards, the most deep receiving yards for any receiver in Week 1.
In fact, that’s already more deep receiving yards than Dorsett received all of last season. In Week 1, the Colts made it clear that Dorsett will be a bigger part of their offense in 2016. On Sunday, the former Hurricane will be going up against a Broncos’ defense that didn’t allow a single deep reception last week. After how well the Indianapolis offense performed last week (albeit in a losing effort), this will be an exciting matchup of strength versus strength.
28. Broncos LB Todd Davis recorded an 18.5 run-stop percentage in Week 1, the second-best rate for middle/inside linebackers.
One of the biggest question marks for Denver heading into the 2016 offseason was how they would replace the players they lost in free agency. One of those departures was Danny Trevathan, who left for Chicago. 2014 undrafted free agent Todd Davis has always looked good in his very limited playing time, and again performed well against the Panthers in Week 1. Despite Frank Gore’s age, he averaged 4.2 yards per carry, despite no runs of double-digit yardage. If Davis and the Broncos’ defense can slow Gore even more, it will force Luck to face the Denver secondary.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
29. Packers LT David Bakhtiari has gone 453 straight pass-blocking snaps without surrendering a sack, the longest current streak for an NFL left tackle.
Coming into the season, this title was held by Cleveland LT Joe Thomas, who allowed a sack in Week 1. It was a big week for Bakhtiari, who signed a contract extension after taking this title. In Week 11 of last season, when the Packers faced the Vikings, Bakhtiari had his typical good pass-protection game, allowing just one hurry in the Packers’ win. In the Green Bay Week 17 matchup against Minnesota, Bakhtiari was out, Josh Sitton moved to left tackle, allowed two sacks, one hit, and four hurries, and the Packers lost. If David Bakhtiari keeps his streak up, Aaron Rodgers’ jersey will be a lot less dirty this time around.
30. Vikings WR Adam Thielen averaged 3.71 yards per route run from the slot last week, second-best for receivers with more than 12 snaps in the slot.
Thielen worked his way up the Vikings’ depth chart to earn time in their three-WR sets, and he played arguably the best game of his career against the Titans. The importance of Minnesota’s receiver depth will be on display Sunday night, with Green Bay’s top cornerback Sam Shields in the concussion protocol. Every other cornerback on the Packers’ roster is either in their first or second season, so Green Bay’s third cornerback may be a position to attack.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears
31. Eagles RB Ryan Mathews was the only running back in Week 1 with 15 or more carries to gain yardage on every attempt.
A rookie QB’s best friend is often a solid running back, and Ryan Mathews was able to put together a decent game for Carson Wentz last Sunday. Mathews never broke a run for big yardage, but he was also never tackled for a loss. He will be more challenged this week against Chicago; both of the Bears’ inside linebackers were among the top-five in run-stop percentage in Week 1. If the Bears are able to stop Mathews, Philadelphia will have to rely even more on Wentz.
32. Neither Bears LG Josh Sitton nor RG Kyle Long allowed a sack or hit in Week 1, just one hurry apiece.
The Bears are just one of three teams who had a pair of guards see success in pass protection during Week 1. This offseason, Chicago moved Long back from right tackle to right guard, and added Sitton just before the start of the season. The Bears will need good play from the pair again this week going against Eagles DT Fletcher Cox, who recorded the third-best pass-rushing productivity among defensive tackles last week. QB Jay Cutler had a passer rating of 102.6 without pressure and 47.9 with it, so keeping him away from defenders goes a long way to helping the offense.
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