Joe Flacco, QB (Ravens)

MIA 6 at BAL 38

The 31-year-old QB in the 9th year of his NFL career had the best game of the season during Week 13.  He set franchise records with 36 completions, 381 passing yards, 4 TDs, and a 119.2 passer rating.  The uptick in his performance comes just in the nick of time with the post season right around the corner.  The 7-5 Ravens are tied for 1st in the AFC North with the Steelers.  But, because of a stellar wins record in the division (4-0), the Ravens are projected to be seeded 3rd compared to Pittsburgh projected as 8th seed.  Welcome to the list, Flacco.

LeSean McCoy, RB (Bills)

BUF 24 at OAK 38

It was a heartbreaking loss for Buffalo on the road against the Raiders during Week 13, especially when they had Oakland on the ropes in the first half of the game.  But, QB Derek Carr and his crew mounted a comeback and took the game from the reeling Bills.  Certainly, RB McCoy did all he could to help his team prevail.  On 17 attempts, he ran for 130 yards including a 54 yard run in the 2nd half that set up a TD.  After the loss, McCoy was crushed and said, “You work so hard. I wanted to win so bad as a statement. The game was in our hands and we lost it.”  At this point, for the 6-6 Bills, the post-season is likely not an option, especially after this loss.  Word is that Head Coach Rex Ryan’s job is on the line, since the owner reportedly declared “it’s playoffs or bust” at the end of 2015.

Ty Hilton, WR (Colts)

IND 41 at NYJ 10

Hilton had the most receiving yards this week with 146 yards and 9 catches helping his Colts beat the Jets on Monday Night Football.  But, even more impressive than his on-field performance during Week 13 was how he rallied the troops before the game.  The 27-year-old WR called for an impromptu meeting with the Colts’ receiving corps to emphasize the strategy prior to taking on NY at home.  Remarkably, he is the oldest receiver on the active roster by 4 years and many of the youngsters are inexperienced.  Hilton will need to continue to show tremendous leadership and keep the other receivers in line if Indy hopes to mount a comeback for a playoff berth.  Currently, the Colts are tied with the Texans & Titans for 1st in the AFC South, all with 6-6 records.

Eric Berry, SS (Chiefs)

KC 29 at ATL 28

Berry was a star during Week 13’s game when he had a pick-6 near the end of the 2Q (and returned it 37 yards for a TD) and later in the 4Q, he had the first “pick-2” in NFL history when he picked off QB Matt Ryan and returned it 99 yards. Berry also had two tackles in the game.  This tremendous performance helped his team improve to 9-3 and won him his 2nd AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award this year (Week 10).  He said he was driven by a flood of emotions as he returned to the place where he grew up and the 80 friends and family who were in the stands to support him 2 years after he survived Hodgkin lymphoma.  “Eric is the heart and soul of this team, the embodiment of what we’re about,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “That’s selflessness, hard work, giving it up for the guy next to you. That’s all Eric talks about, and it’s real, it’s sincere … and it’s from the heart.”

Akiem Hicks, DE (Bears)

SF 6 at CHI 26

Hicks’ dominant performance last week during a snowy Chicago Sunday when he had 11 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB hits and 1 forced fumble resulted in an NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award.  The 6’5, 318 lb. defensive lineman now has 6 sacks for the season and 2 multi-sack games.  Signed as a free agent in the offseason to a two-year $10 million contract, he has become a bright spot on a team that hasn’t seen many this season.  But, he’s been putting on a big enough show for PFF to notice – they ranked him the 8th best performer during Week 13 and feel he is having the best year of his career so far.

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR (Giants)

NYG 14 at PIT 24

When I first saw Beckham smile on the sidelines after Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown scored a TD to put the Steelers up 11-0 in Week 13’s game, it gave me a bad taste in my mouth.  I wasn’t sure if Beckham was enjoying Brown’s TD dance, but seeing him stand there with a big grin on his face when the opposition got the best of his Giants was frankly, weird.  Of course, much of the supremely talented WR’s behavior has me confused this season.  I just know that when a player smiles on a play that puts his team down by 2 possessions, it doesn’t feel right and looks disrespectful to the fans.  For this, Beckham gets another dubious distinction on this list from me this season.  Some may say that it’s not a big deal, but collectively, I think Beckham’s behavior(s) hurts the team and borders on offensive.  Meanwhile, his team is precariously close to missing the playoffs this year, especially since they face the Cowboys, Lions, Eagles, and Redskins the rest of the season and hover at the top of a tough division.




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