After each week of the NFL season, and once our exhaustive All-22 review process is in the books, PFF will be bringing you the insights from our play-by-play grading of every NFL game with our team of the week.
This year we will match the new and improved All-Pro system when it comes to offensive and defensive formation, with a flex player for both sides of the ball that can be either a receiver, slot weapon, tight end or running back on offense, and anybody in the defensive secondary on defense. This gives us the flexibility to reward the player that best deserves it across multiple positions, rather than shoehorning in somebody just to fit a slot receiver or cornerback role.
Quarterback – Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings
PFF Grade: 87.7
Elite Stat: Case Keenum had an adjusted completion percentage of 81.8.
There were some fantastic quarterback performances this week, but none more surprising than that of Keenum, who had one of the best displays of his career to lead the Vikings to a beat down of the Buccaneers. Keenum had a passer rating of 150.6 when kept clean in the pocket, and even when hurried he completed nine of 11 passes for 114 yards. On deep passes he completed three of five attempts for 107 yards and a score.
Running back – Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
PFF Grade: 90.5
Elite Stat: Kareem Hunt broke nine total tackles on 18 touches against the Chargers.
Hunt continues to be one of the stars of the season, breaking tackles and racking up big yardage against the Chargers. He only carried the ball 17 times, but amassed 172 yards on the ground, breaking eight tackles to average over 10 yards per carry. On the two carries that Charcandrick West spelled him, West managed negative yardage (-1).
Wide receiver – Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
PFF Grade: 89.7
Elite Stat: Stefon Diggs gained 5.97 yards per route run, by far the most in the league this week.
Even without his starting quarterback, Diggs was able to go off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Vernon Hargreaves in particular. Diggs looks more like Antonio Brown by the week, and once again broke loose with some slick route running, but also displayed an ability to go up over defensive backs and make tough contested catches that put much larger receivers to shame.
Wide receiver – A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
PFF Grade: 91.4
Elite Stat: Only four receivers saw more than the 13 targets that A.J. Green saw this week.
The Cincinnati Bengals almost sprung an upset on the Packers this week and a lot of the reason was getting Green going. He was thrown at 13 times, bringing in ten of them for 111 yards and a touchdown, beating five different Packers defenders for receptions, and notching 59 yards against rookie CB Kevin King.
Tight end – Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
PFF Grade: 90.3
Elite Stat: Marcedes Lewis gained 3.26 yards per route run, the most among TEs with 15-plus routes.
Lewis only ran 19 pass patterns this week in London, but he caught three touchdown passes for the Jaguars as they stomped the Ravens in their home away from home. He was only targeted five times, but caught four passes for 62 yards and beat three different defenders for touchdowns.
Flex O – Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
PFF Grade: 90.1
Cooks caught five of the seven passes thrown his way against Houston, scoring two touchdowns and racking up 131 yards, including what proved to be the game winner – a 25-yard touchdown as time wound down to snatch the victory back from the Texans. A true deep threat, the average distance of passes thrown his way this week was 26.1 yards down field.
Left Tackle – Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers
PFF Grade: 89.8
Elite Stat: Joe Staley didn’t allow a single pressure against the Rams.
Staley was one of a number of left tackles to have fine games this week, with Taylor Lewan in particular unfortunate to miss out. Staley didn’t allow any pressure on 46 pass blocking snaps against a formidable Rams defensive front this week, also run blocking well on the end of the line even if the running game as a whole wasn’t able to take advantage of it.
Left Guard – Andy Levitre, Atlanta Falcons
PFF Grade: 86.5
Elite Stat: Andy Levitre allowed just one hurry across 39 pass blocking snaps.
The Falcons once again had an excellent platform up front to work from, though the right side of the line struggled in pass protection. Levitre at left guard didn’t allow a sack or a hit, and surrendered just one hurry all game, while dominating in the run game, particularly against Lions DT A’Shawn Robinson, who was unable to hold the point of attack against his blocks.
Center – Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles
PFF Grade: 93.9
Elite Stat: Jason Kelce had a perfect day in pass protection against the Giants.
This was the best game Jason Kelce has put together in a couple of years now, and provided a solid reminder of just how good he can be at his best. That it came against the Giants defensive front, and Damon Harrison in particular, was singularly impressive. Kelce didn’t allow any pressure and was a machine in the run game, especially on the move on the team’s zone runs, pulling and locating linebackers in space.
Right Guard – Trai Turner, Carolina Panthers
PFF Grade: 85.7
Elite Stat: Trai Turner allowed no pressure at all from 37 pass blocking snaps.
The Panthers offensive line performed extremely well against the Saints, making Cam Newton’s awful day even less understandable. Turner was the best performer of the group, but the interior trio in particular were excellent, surrendering just one hurry between both guards and the center. Turner also performed well as a run blocker, and wasn’t flagged for any penalties.
Right Tackle – Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
PFF Grade: 84.5
Elite Stat: Lane Johnson had a perfect day in pass protection against the Giants.
Johnson was the best-graded right tackle of the week, but he was the fifth-graded tackle overall, with four better performances coming on the left side. Johnson had a perfect day in pass protection and effectively eliminated Jason Pierre-Paul from the game, limiting him to just one hurry (which didn’t come against Johnson) over the course of 36 pass rushing snaps.
Defensive interior – J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
PFF Grade: 89.5
Elite Stat: J.J. Watt didn’t get Tom Brady for a sack, but notched four pressures against the Patriots.
Watt now has the second-most total pressures in the league among players yet to record a sack (14). He has been a force as both a run stopper and a pass rusher, and even though he didn’t finish in the game against New England, you only have to watch the first two plays of the game to see cheat-code Watt in full force.
Defensive interior – Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
PFF Grade: 88.6
Elite Stat: Chris Jones had two hits on the QB from 16 pass-rushing snaps against the Chargers.
Jones was the most dominant member of the Kansas City defensive front that put Philip Rivers under duress for much of the game and bottled up their running game by forcing the Chargers to gain 69 of their 104 yards on the ground after contact. Jones took Rivers to the ground twice, and though he didn’t start, he saw 11 more snaps than Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
Edge defender – DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys
PFF Grade: 90.9
Elite Stat: DeMarcus Lawrence led all edge rushers this week with a pass-rush productivity score of 25.0.
Lawrence took advantage of a poor Cardinals offensive line to go to town as a pass rusher, notching three sacks, two hits and eight hurries in this game alone, a stat line plenty of edge rushers haven’t matched over the three game season yet. Lawrence led all edge rushers in PRP and total pressures, with 13 of them on 42 pass rushing snaps.
Edge defender – Brian Orakpo, Tennessee Titans
PFF Grade: 88.5
Elite Stat: Brian Orakpo had 11 total pressures despite failing to record a sack of Russell Wilson.
Russell Wilson is a tough quarterback to bring down, and despite Orakpo failing to finish with a sack this week, he was second among all edge rushers in the league with 11 total pressures, three knockdowns and eight hurries across 37 pass rushing snaps. His 22.3 pass-rush productivity score was the second-best mark this week among edge defenders.
Linebacker – Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
PFF Grade: 90.8
Elite Stat: Luke Kuechly allowed negative yards per coverage snap this week!
At his best, Kuechly is the best coverage linebacker in the game, and arguably the best linebacker, period. This week he was in coverage for 29 snaps against a high-octane passing offense like the Saints, and actually allowed negative yards in coverage, because the one catch he allowed lost yardage on the play. Kuechly also recorded a pass breakup and tied for the team lead in defensive stops with three.
Linebacker – Demario Davis, New York Jets
PFF Grade: 93.5
Elite Stat: Demario Davis had a run stop percentage of 21.4 against the Dolphins, fourth-best mark in the league.
It turns out there is life in the New York Jets after all, with Davis in particular playing out of his skin this week against the Dolphins. Davis led all linebackers in the league this week in solo tackles (12) and defensive stops (10), while missing just one tackle attempt over the game. Davis also notched a pass breakup in coverage.
Cornerback – Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
PFF Grade: 87.5
Elite Stat: The passer rating when targeting Jalen Ramsey this week was 0.0.
It is becoming pretty hard to complete a pass on Jaguars CB Ramsey. When the Ravens tried it this week, Joe Flacco had a passer rating of 0.0. In fact, for the season, Ramsey is now allowing a passer rating into his coverage of just 9.8, and he hasn’t allowed a reception longer than 8 yards.
Cornerback – Ken Crawley, New Orleans Saints
PFF Grade: 88.9
Elite Stat: Ken Crawley was thrown at ten times, but allowed just four receptions for 30 yards..
The Panthers went hard after Saints CB Crawley this week, throwing the ball into his coverage ten times, in particular trying to get the ball to WR Devin Funchess. Funchess was targeted six times with Crawley in coverage, but could only come up with two of them. Overall, Crawley allowed just three yards per target, and notched himself a pass breakup too.
Safety – Terrence Brooks, New York Jets
PFF Grade: 89.2
Elite Stat: Terrence Brooks was thrown at three times in primary coverage this week, and came up with two interceptions.
Brooks had himself a game against the Miami Dolphins this week, coming up with a pair of interceptions on passes intended for Jarvis Landry and Leonte Carroo. Brooks was only the primary coverage defender three times, and he caught two of those for interceptions, meaning when he was targeted he gave up a passer rating of 0.0, almost 40 points lower than if the ball had just been thrown into the stands instead.
Safety – Montae Nicholson, Washington Redskins
PFF Grade: 88.6
Elite Stat: Montae Nicholson didn’t allow anything into his coverage this week.
Nicholson had the highlight reel interception of QB Derek Carr on a deep shot on Sunday night, but he was also in close coverage numerous other times in the game, forcing an overthrow on another deep pass, as well as forcing the ball out on a third as Michael Crabtree tried to go up to bring it in. Nicholson also notched a pressure on the blitz.
Flex D – Kendall Fuller, Washington Redskins
PFF Grade: 90.1
Elite Stat: Kendall Fuller was thrown at four times, allowing just two catches for 17 yards against the Raiders.
Thrown at four times, Fuller allowed just two catches for 17 yards and intercepted a pass against Derek Carr and the high-flying Oakland Raiders offense. He spent the majority of his time covering Seth Roberts, who was the receiver that caught the two passes he did surrender. Fuller also forced a fumble on Roberts after he caught one of the two passes.
Kicker: Matt Prater, Detroit Lions
While Philadelphia's Jake Elliott kicked a 61-yard game winner for the Philadelphia Eagles, he wasn't perfect from 50 yards and beyond on the day. Prater was, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts, including the two from distance against the Atlanta Falcons.
Punter: Brett Kern, Tennessee Titans
In a game against one of the toughest opponents the Titans will welcome all year, Kern was a weapon with his leg. Average 48.2 net yards per punt, Kern dropped three of his six punts inside the Seahawks 20 yard line.
K/PR: Adoree' Jackson, Tennessee Titans
Giving the Titans a special teams double on the PFF Team of the week, Jackson averaged 10.2 yards per punt return against the Seahawks, including a long of 22 yards. He might not have scored, but he helped earn the Titans some hidden yardage between drives.