Two more teams (Minnesota and Houston) clinched playoff berths and there are now 10 spots filled with just two remaining. In the AFC, the Titans need to win against the Texans to clinch a spot, otherwise Pittsburgh could sneak in with a win over the Ravens (mathematically Indianapolis and the Raiders still have a chance as well). In the NFC, the Eagles need to win or have Dallas lose to clinch the division.
But most of you are here to see how the former boys of black and gold are doing in the NFL. This week there were 34 players on rosters and practice squads, no change from last week.
Player of the Week
OL Bryan Bulaga (Green Bay Packers, 10th season): Bulaga and the Packers defeated the Vikings 23-10 to improve to 12-3 and clinch the NFC North. The Packers travel to Detroit on Sunday.
As no former Hawkeye had a huge statistic day, Bulaga wins the Player of the Week for his efforts in helping the Packers win the division.
The Rest of the Hawkeyes
QB C.J. Beathard (San Francisco 49ers, 3rd season in the NFL): Beathard was inactive again this week, as he has been every week this season. Tragically, Beathard’s brother Clayton was murdered early Saturday morning in an incident at a Nashville bar.
Editor’s Note: Thoughts and prayers to the entire Beathard family. Such a terrible, senseless act.
OL Austin Blythe (Los Angeles Rams, 4th season): Blythe and the Rams fell to 8-7 and were eliminated from the playoff chase as they lost 34-31 to San Francisco. The Rams finish out the season when they host Arizona on Sunday.
OL Ike Boettger (Buffalo Bills, 2nd season): Boettger and the Bills fell to 10-5 as they were defeated by New England 24-17. Boettger was inactive for the game.
RB James Butler (Oakland Raiders, 2nd season): Butler is on the Raiders practice squad.
DE Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons, 9th season): Clayborn and the Falcons defeated Jacksonville 24-12 to improve to 6-9 on the season. Clayborn had one tackle in the victory. The Falcons finish their season on Sunday as they travel to Tampa.
DT Mike Daniels (Detroit Lions, 8th season): Daniels and the Lions lost 27-17 to the Broncos to fall to 3-11-1 on the season. Despite the terrible record, the Lion’s owner gave the “vote of confidence” to the general manager and manager for some reason. Daniels was put on the IR on December 16 and is done for the season.
C James Daniels (Chicago Bears, 2nd season): Daniels and the Bears fell to 7-8 as they were thrashed 26-3 by Kansas City. Chicago travels to Minnesota to close the season.
WR Nick Easley (Buffalo Bills, 1st season): Easley is on the Buffalo practice squad.
TE Noah Fant (Denver Broncos, 1st season): Fant and the Broncos improved to 6-9 as they defeated Detroit 27-17 in a battle of two teams going home for the playoffs. Fant had two catches for 10 yards in the victory. POTW =2.
C James Ferentz (New England Patriots, 4th season): Ferentz and the Patriots defeated Buffalo 24-17 to improve to 12-3. The Patriots are healthy on the front line so Ferentz only saw action in four plays for the special teams. POTW = 1.
TE Parker Hesse (Tennessee Titans, 1st season): Hesse is on the Titans practice squad.
LB Anthony Hitchens (Kansas City Chiefs, 6th season): Hitchens and the Chiefs defeated the Chicago 26-3. It was the second straight week that Kansas City allowed just three point. Hitchens had six tackles in the victory. The Chiefs host the Chargers on Sunday.
TE T.J. Hockenson (Detroit Lions, 1st season): Hockenson is out for the season after injuring his ankle earlier in the year. The Lions look to strengthen their draft standing as they host Green Bay in the last game of the season . POTW honors = 1.
S Amani Hooker (Tennessee Titans, 1st season): Hooker and the Titans fell to 8-7 as they lost 38-28 to New Orleans. Hooker didn’t have any tackles in the loss. The Titans play in Houston on Sunday fighting for their playoff lives.
S Micah Hyde (Buffalo Bills, 7th season): Hyde and the Bills lost to New England. Hyde had seven tackles and recovered a fumble in the loss. Buffalo hosts the Jets in their regular season finale on Sunday. POTW honors =2.
CB Josh Jackson (Green Bay Packers, 2nd season): Jackson and the Packers defeated the Vikings. Jackson was active for the game but didn’t record any tackles.
LB Josey Jewell (Denver Broncos, 2nd season): Jewell and the Broncos defeated the Lions. In limited action, Jewell didn’t record any tackles. POTW honors = 1.
DT Jaleel Johnson (Minnesota Vikings, 3rd season): Johnson and the Vikings lost to the Packers to fall to 10-4. Johnson had one tackle in the loss. The Vikings qualified for a playoff spot this week. POTW honors = 1.
CB Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers, 3rd season): King and the Chargers lost 24-17 to the Raiders to fall to 5-10 on the season. King had three tackles in the loss and returned kickoffs and punts with limited success. POTW honors = 1.
LB Christian Kirksey (Cleveland Browns, 6th season): Kirksey was placed on the IR earlier this season and is out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. The Browns continue their dumpster-fire of a season as they were defeated by Baltimore 31-15 to fall to 6-9.
TE George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers, 3rd season): Kittle had five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers victory over the Rams. San Francisco travels to Seattle for a Sunday Night Football game that will decide the winner of the NFC West. POTW honors = 4.
Editor’s note: We missed Christmas, but we’ve partnered with BreakingT on some pretty cool Kittle swag.
There’s the Lucha Kittle available in a t-shirt and hoodie.
And my personal favorite, the People’s Champ, also available in t-shirt and hoodie.
Alright, back to the performances.
LS Casey Kreiter (Denver Broncos, 4th season): Kreiter and the Broncos are a disappointing 6-9. Maybe they’ll “snap” out of it on Sunday when they host the Raiders.
DB Greg Mabin (Cincinnati Bengals, 3rd season): Mabin and the Bengals clinched the top pick in the 2020 draft as they lost to Miami 38-35. Mabin didn’t record any tackles in limited action.
OL Matt Nelson (Detroit Lions, 1st season): Nelson is on the practice squad for Detroit.
LB Anthony Nelson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1st season): Nelson and the Buccaneers defeated Detroit 38-17 to improve to 7-7. Nelson was active for the game for the first time in quite a while but had no stats to report.
LB Ben Niemann (Kansas City Chiefs, 2nd season): Niemann and the Chiefs defeated the Bears on Sunday. Niemann had three tackles in the victory. POTW honors = 1.
OL Riley Reiff (Minnesota Vikings, 8th season): Reiff and the Vikings lost to the Packers. The Vikings host the Bears in their last regular season game.
OL Keegan Render (Philadelphia Eagles, 1st season): Render is on the practice squad for Philadelphia.
OL Ross Reynolds (San Francisco 49ers, 1st season): Reynolds is on the San Francisco practice squad.
OL Brandon Scherff (Washington Redskins, 5th season): Scherff and the Redskins fell to 3-12 after losing 41-35 to the Giants. The Redskins travel to Dallas on Sunday to finish their season and most likely, Scherff’s career as a Redskin.
OL Marshal Yanda (Baltimore Ravens, 13th season): Yanda and the Ravens improved to 13-2 and clinched home field throughout the playoffs as they defeated the Browns 31-15. Baltimore hosts the Steelers on Sunday so beware if you have Lamar Jackson as your fantasy quarterback as he may sit some or all of the game. POTW honors = 1.