Week 12 is now complete and the playoffs are right around the corner. Today we’re taking a look at some storylines coming out of the week, some injury updates, and the top 3 Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates leading up to week 13.
After losing 7 straight, the Jaguars said enough is enough and decided to make some internal changes. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was the first domino to fall, as he was relieved of his job Monday afternoon.
Almost immediately after, the Jaguars decided to go with Cody Kessler over Blake Bortles as the starting quarterback this coming week. Hackett is notably very close to head coach Doug Marrone, and if the Jags lack of success continues, Hackett may not be the only coach to be let go.
Hue Jackson is on the losing side once again as his former team, the Cleveland Browns, handled the Bengals 35-20. The Browns were obviously not fans of Jackson’s move to immediately go and help out their rivals, as Damarious Randall picked off an Andy Dalton pass near the Bengals sideline and handed the ball to Hue, and quarterback Baker Mayfield seemed to awkwardly avoid Jackson’s attempt at a hug after the game.
Mayfield was vocal about it following the game stating,
He left Cleveland, goes down to Cincinnati. I don’t know. That’s just somebody that’s in our locker room asking for us to play for him and then goes to a different team we play twice a year. Everybody can have their spin on it, but that’s how I feel.
Rivers Sets New NFL Completion Mark
In the Chargers 45-10 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday, Rivers did something no quarterback has ever done. To start the game, Rivers completed his first 25 passes before misfiring on his 26th attempt, and finished the game 28/29 for 259 yards and 3 TDs.
Rivers’ 25 completions broke Mark Brunell’s mark of 22 straight to start a game, and tied Ryan Tannehill’s mark that was set over a 2 game span.
Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY)
Saquon Barkley (RB)
New York Giants
The obvious choice, and who will most likely end up with the award come January, Barkley has over 1400 yards from scrimmage (829 rushing, 581 receiving) and 12 TDs thus far (8 rushing, 4 receiving) and has been a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing Giants squad.
Baker Mayfield (QB)
A polarizing pick, Mayfield has proven he was worth the #1 overall pick, leading the Browns to 4 wins and (mathematical) playoff relevancy. Mayfield has 2242 passing yards, 17 TDs, and 7 INTs on the year with a 93.2 passer rating.
Phillip Lindsay (RB)
Undrafted out of Colorado, Lindsay is 2nd in the NFL in YPC at 5.8 (min. 100 carries). He has 780 rushing yards and 6 TDs on 135 carries as well as 187 receiving yards and 1 TDs on 24 catches.
Honourable Mention – Colts G Quenton Nelson, Panthers WR D.J. Moore, Cardinals QB Josh Rosen
Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY)
Darius Leonard (LB)
2nd round, 36th overall pick out of small South Carolina State, Leonard was knocked for his inability to read/react and shed blockers. It has shown to be a non issue, and while tackles are kind of an overrated stat, he leads the league with 114 (17 more than anyone else), and is credited with just 5 missed tackles. His impact goes beyond just tackles however, as he flies sideline to sideline and consistently makes stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. To add to his case, he also has 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 INT.
Derwin James (S)
Los Angeles Chargers
A close second, James is a true “do it all” player, totaling 59 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INTs, and 4 PBUs. For a while, he was the Chargers 2nd best option as a pass rushing threat, consistently beating offensive tackles around the edge. In coverage, he is allowing just 65% of targets his way to be caught for a total of just 207 yards and 1 TD on the year.
Jaire Alexander (CB)
Green Bay Packers
A bit of an under the radar guy, Alexander may not stuff the stat sheet, but some of the things he does are extraordinary, such as blowing up a screen pass by taking the blocker and receiver out in one hit, and staying in the hip pocket of receivers such as Brandin Cooks, Stefon Diggs, and Tyler Lockett to force incompletions without penalties. Alexander should be a lockdown corner in a few years time.
Honourable Mention – Broncos EDGE Bradley Chubb, Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch, Browns CB Denzel Ward
ATL LB Deion Jones (foot) – questionable
BAL QB Joe Flacco (hip) – questionable
CHI QB Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) – questionable
CIN QB Andy Dalton (thumb) – placed on IR
CIN WR A.J. Green (toe) – questionable
DAL T Tyron Smith (neck) – questionable
DEN TE Jeff Heuerman (ribs) – placed on IR
DET WR Marvin Jones Jr. (knee) – placed on IR
DET RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) – questionable
GB DT Mike Daniels (foot) – out
GB EDGE Nick Perry (knee) – placed on IR
IND TE Jack Doyle (kidney) – placed on IR
JAX RB Leonard Fournette (suspended) – out
JAX G Andrew Norwell (ankle) – placed on IR
KC S Eric Berry (foot) – questionable
LAR CB Aqib Talib (ankle) – designated to return, questionable
LAC RB Melvin Gordon (knee) – doubtful
NO T Terron Armstead (shoulder) – questionable
NYJ QB Sam Darnold (foot) – uestionable
PIT T Marcus Gilbert (knee) – questionable
WAS RB Chris Thompson (ribs) – questionable
There’s some news and storylines following the week 12 action. Check back Thursday for an updated injury report, more news/notes, and a look at the playoff picture leading into week 13.