NFL

NFL Studs and Duds Week 12

Rodgers a dud, Fournette a stud.

Studs

QB Kirk Cousins

In a virtual must-win game for both sides, Cousins led the Vikings to an important victory over the division rival Packers. Throwing for 342 yards and three touchdowns, Cousins made a statement that the Vikings, despite having a down year, are still a contender in the NFC. It seemed as though he was on the same page with his plethora of weapons. More specifically, Adam Thielen, who continues to have a great season as a consistent weapon. Cousins and the Vikings offense will need to stay red hot heading to New England next week to keep pushing towards a wild card spot.  

 

RB Leonard Fournette

Fournette did not even play a full three quarters and made his mark on this game. Rushing for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, he led the Jaguars offense as Blake Bortles continued to struggle. However, his incredible performance has been overshadowed by his ejection late in the third quarter. A 24-21 loss for the Jaguars could have been a different outcome had Fournette been on the field. Fournette was one of the best running backs in the league this week and should continue this production even in a year that seems to be a lost cause for Jacksonville. There is no doubt that Fournette is one of the keys to the Jaguars success, and they will need him to be stellar in seasons to come.

 

WR Amari Cooper

Cooper seems to be fitting into the Cowboys offense quite nicely since his trade from the Oakland Raiders. His performance on Thanksgiving was one of the best out of any receiver all season. With eight receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns, Cooper helped down the Redskins in an important battle that could decide the fate of the NFC East. He has allowed the Cowboys offense to play a more vertical game, something that plagued their offense early this season. They did so Sunday as Cooper had two long touchdowns including a 90-yard score late in the third quarter. His addition has made the Cowboys a legit playoff contender, and a serious threat to now win their division.

TE Zach Ertz

Ertz continued an impressive season with a standout performance against the Giants on Sunday. Keeping their playoff hopes alive, the Eagles were able to defeat the Giants on a last-second field goal. Ertz was a huge reason why the Eagles snuck away with a win. With seven receptions for 91 yards and yet another touchdown, Ertz was a primary target for Carson Wentz and should continue to be so if the Eagles will have any shot at the wildcard. The Eagles, however, will need more than just Ertz producing if they plan on doing any real damage.

Duds

QB  Aaron Rodgers

I am not saying by any stretch that Rodgers was the worst quarterback in the NFL this week. But for a man that is considered by some to be in the conversation for greatest ever, the excuses continue to pile up. With a loss to the Vikings on Sunday, Rodgers fell to 0-37 when trailing by more than one point in the fourth quarter to a team with a winning record. This stat is astounding. Rodgers looked hopeless on Sunday Night Football against the Vikings taking four sacks, many of which were avoidable, and holding the ball far too long. Not to mention Rodgers missed a wide-open Davante Adams for a touchdown near the end of the game. He once again folded in a must-win game for the Packers, and it leaves me wondering why his disappointment of a season is not garnering more criticism. Yes, I said it, Aaron Rodgers has been a disappointment this season.

 

RB Tevin Coleman

Coleman has put together a pretty good season in the absence of Devonta Freeman. But his Thanksgiving performance against the Saints was not one to remember. He rushed eight times for a total of six yards and had just three receptions for 17 yards out of the backfield as well. The Falcons practically saw their season slip out of their hands with this loss and Coleman’s lack of production was an evident reason as to why. Coleman, a free agent this offseason, is a candidate to be a lead back elsewhere next season so Atlanta may lose him and will need Freeman to pick up the slack next season.

 

WR Alshon Jeffrey

Jeffrey, unlike Zach Ertz, played a minimal role in the Eagles offense against the Giants on Sunday. With just three receptions for 39 yards, it seemed as though the Eagles had to rely on Ertz as they have many times this season. While Ertz producing is a massive plus for the Eagles offense, they will need more than just their tight end if they want to make a serious playoff push. Jeffrey could be part of the solution, he has shown his ability to bolster the Eagles offense in the past and he will look to do so again in a huge matchup with playoff implications against the Redskins next week.

 

TE Trey Burton

It was almost another Jimmy Graham dud week. But due to his broken thumb, I thought I would give him a pass and focus on the healthy Trey Burton. Burton has put together a nice season for the surprise Chicago Bears, but this week against the Lions he was a bit of a disappointment. In a big Thanksgiving matchup, Burton had only four catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns. While Mitchell Trubisky was inactive and the Bears still won the game, the Bears are an even better team when Burton is able to produce. Look for Burton to get more targets down the stretch and into the playoffs.

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