Best players at every position from Week 12

Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson highlight our list of the best positional performances in Week 12.

| 11 months ago
(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Best players at every position from Week 12

There were some big box score performances on Sunday, as the yards flowed for quarterbacks and the sacks flowed for pass rushers. But going beyond that, who would the tape determine worthy of a place in the PFF Team of the Week?

Let’s find out.

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Lions (+7.3)

As bad as the Eagles were, Stafford made them look worse. It was the kind of display that makes you forget all the bad we’ve seen this season, as he threw for five touchdowns to kick off Thanksgiving’s slate of games.

Running back: Adrian Peterson, Vikings (+3.4)

The Falcons’ run defense has been a point of pride this year, but the way Peterson ran through it nearly made us forget about their past success. He forced nine tackles in a powerful effort.

Fullback: Patrick DiMarco, Falcons (+2.0)

There aren’t many full backs who generate as much movement on contact as DiMarco, a truly brutal lead blocker.

Tight end: Travis Kelce, Chiefs (+3.3)

Other TEs had more yards, but Kelce turned his four receptions into significant plays, and did a nice job with his blocking to edge out the competition.

Wide receivers: Markus Wheaton, Steelers (+4.3) and Calvin Johnson, Lions (+3.9)

You could pick six or seven other guys this week for the receiver spots, and we’d have no complaints—such was the high standard of play in Week 12. But Wheaton, with a 200-yard day, and Johnson, who scored three touchdowns, did just enough to win out.

Tackles: Matt Kalil, Vikings (+4.3) and Marcus Gilbert, Steelers (+5.6)

After a tough 2014, Kalil is rebounding with better play this year, with his effort against the Falcons a high point in that regard. Gilbert was expected to be in for a tough day, but did a great job in pass protection.

Guards: Andrew Norwell, Panthers (+4.9) and T.J. Lang, Packers (+6.4)

Norwell just holds off the more esteemed Josh Sitton and Logan Mankins, with his excellent run blocking being the difference. What a pickup he has proved. Lang, the often overlooked lineman in Green Bay, is having another excellent season, and this was his best grade of the year.

Center: Jason Kelce, Eagles (+3.9)

Too little, too late? Kelce hasn’t hit the heights of his superb 2013 season, but since a poor start to the year, he’s been run blocking as well as any center in the league.


Each week, we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles), and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).

Defensive interior – ends: J.J. Watt, Texans (+7.6) and Mike Daniels, Packers (+8.4)

Two men on the roster for very different reasons. Watt owes it all to his pass rushing, where he recorded two more sacks, a further six hits, and three additional hurries. Dominant. Daniels had four hurries himself, but his work disrupting the Bears’ running game stood out just as much.

Defensive interior – nose: Damon Harrison, Jets (+4.3)

When you have three first-round picks on the line, it’s easy to forget about the undrafted guy. Harrison is playing so well right now, he’s simply not letting you do that.

Edge rushers: Aaron Lynch, 49ers (+5.1) and Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins (+5.1)

These two just get the nod over the excellent Ziggy Ansah. Kerrigan did more damage rushing the passer, with eight disruptions (including two sacks). Lynch, who had himself nine total disruptions, was a bit more balanced with some strong work in the run game.

Linebackers: Anthony Barr, Vikings (+3.7) and Luke Kuechly, Panthers (+4.5)

Barr gets in over Tahir Whitehead on playing time, but also because he made some big plays that were pivotal in a Vikings win. As for Kuechly, what can be said about him that hasn’t already been said? The best linebacker in the league last year, he’s taken his game to another level that is as good as anything we have ever graded.

Cornerbacks: David Amerson, Raiders (+5.9) and Will Blackmon, Redskins (+4.7)

A crazy day for Blackmon, who may have been beaten for two touchdowns, but had a big pick of his own, as well as breaking up three passes. His day didn’t compare to former Redskin David Amerson. He was thrown at nine times, but allowed just one reception for 5 yards, while intercepting one ball and breaking up four more.

Safeties: Landon Collins, Giants (+3.4) and Kurt Coleman, Panthers (+2.6)

Coleman is proving to be one of the best pickups of the offseason, and added another shrewd interception to his total for the year. Over in Washington, Collins seemed inspired, earning the best grade of his young career.

Kicker: Graham Gano, Panthers

Gano was automatic, with his field goal kicking and kickoffs in supreme form.

Punter: Kevin Huber, Bengals

Only four punts, but he made them count.

Returner: Jeremy Kerley, Jets

Kerley made some nice moves on his punt returns.

Thanks to the support from Ohio Film Office.

  • T. Kothe

    Just curious…does this include DEN vs NE? I’d think CJ Anderson earned himself the RB spot this week with his +4.5

    • Ryan

      Yeah, that would seem to be higher than Peterson’s +3.4

    • Chazzthaviking

      The grading inclues the little things like blocking and catching. AP had a drop but aside from that carried the offense to the win and both players had the game winning scores. I don’t personally live by these grades it is obvious AP did more for his team over half his yards came after contact.

      • T. Kothe

        That’s fine for you personally. But this is PFF’s “best players” team and it follows their grades. CJ deserves to be on this list, by their own estimation, more than AP does. And I disagree with that last statement- I don’t think that’s obvious at all.

      • Names Unimportant

        Shouldn’t blocking/drops/catching already be in the grade? I mean, I think pretty much everybody would prefer Peterson to Anderson as players, but why don’t the grades match up to the players of the week roster?

  • crosseyedlemon

    Is there a QB in the league who wouldn’t love to face the Eagles right now?

    • Chazzthaviking

      Yeah the QB facing the Saints lol

    • SkolBro

      Rodgers cause the refs wouldn’t hand him free plays… SKOLz!

  • Backinmd

    Redskins CB are unbelievable .. One week they’re dreadful ; next week they make the hit parade ..

    • etyb

      As a Redskins fan, I’ll take that over consistently awful, as they have been for several years before this season.

      • Backinmd

        They were great this weekend …Looks like Cousins has turned it around .. I had season tckts. @ RFK for years –And a couple of years at Fed Ex ..RFK was better place to see a game and a lot easier to IN and OUT .Too many fans take that for granted …Should have built Fed EX next to RFK- 500 yards away as planned ..Plus they had the Metro stop next to the Armory ..Fed EX is too big ..Same builder who built RFK built Veterans Stadium .. The Vet was a larger version of RFK ..with same style from the outside anyway ….On paper the Eagles were the best team in the NFC East ..Can we stick a fork in Kelly ?