OLB DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions
DeAndre Levy leads the league in interceptions this season with five. Sunday, Levy (2005-08) didn't add to his interception total, but his total tackles on the season got a nine tackle bump after the linebacker's performance in the Detroit Lions' 24-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Levy is now seventh in the NFL with 66 total tackles on the season.
With one pass deflection on the afternoon, Levy continues to extend what is already a career-high in pass deflections with 11 on the season. Levy's next-highest deflection total in a season came when he had five in 2009.
Detroit hosts the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day in what is a pivotal matchup that could go a long way in deciding who ultimately wins the NFC North.
P Brad Nortman, Carolina Panthers
Often times, field position can play a huge factor in determining the outcome of a game. While I'm not implying the play of Brad Nortman (2008-11) is the reason why the Carolina Panthers are 8-3 this season, it certainly has helped.
Sunday, Nortman punted the ball seven times for 397 total yards (an average of 56.7 yards per punt), including one that traveled a career-high 72 yards in the Panthers' 20-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
"Career-high" has been a theme this year for the 2012 sixth-round draft pick, as he has put forth the best stats of his young career in average yards per punt (47.6), longest punt (72), percentage of punts inside the 20 (37 percent) and net punting average (40.3).
Nortman is fifth in the league in average yards per punt and his 72-yarder this past weekend was the second-longest in the NFL this season (the New York Jets' Robert Malone had an 84-yarder). Nortman is also one of just 13 punters in the league to have attempted 40 or more punts without having one blocked.
The Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8) in a Week 13 divisional matchup.
DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
It's been a frustrating season for the 2-9 Houston Texans, to say the least. With the Jacksonville Jaguars in town, many figured that Houston's eight game losing streak would finally come to an end. Instead, the Texans lost, 13-6, to the now-2-9 Jaguars and are owners of the longest losing streak in the league (nine).
J.J. Watt (2009-10) took out his own personal frustration on Jaguars QB Chad Henne on Sunday.
Watt was in Henne's face all day as he had five quarterback hits and one sack -- his sixth sack in the past five games. The sack was one of four on the day for the Texans, a lone bright spot for the defense.
The Pewaukee, Wis., native had nine total tackles on the day and two tackles for a loss, but perhaps the most impressive moment came in the third quarter when Watt blocked a 49-yard field goal attempt off the foot of Josh Scobee to keep the Houston deficit at just four points. It was Watt's second blocked field goal of the season (Week 9 vs. Indianapolis) and the third of his career.
Houston hosts the 8-3 New England Patriots in Week 13 of the regular season.
Other notes from Badgers in the NFL
- 2013 second-round pick Montee Ball had seven carries for 40 yards and one fumble on Sunday Night Football in the Denver Broncos' 34-31 OT loss to the New England Patriots. After the fumble in the third quarter, the bulk of the carries went Knowshon Moreno's way.
- 2010 fourth-round pick Garrett Graham had five receptions for 32 yards. He was targeted a team-high nine times on the night in Houston's 13-6 loss at home to the Jaguars.
- Scott Tolzien, an undrafted free-agent, was 7-of-17 for 98 yards and a quarterback rating of just 16.3 before Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy took him out of the game as the team found itself down 23-7 in the fourth quarter. Backup Matt Flynn came in and once again saved the day for the Packers, who clawed their way back into the game to earn a 26-26 tie.
- Jim Leonard, Chris Maragos, O'Brien Schofield, and Russell Wilson were all on bye this week.