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Wolverines in the NFL: Brady and Woodson are in a league of their own

Compared to other Wolverines playing professional football, Tom Brady and Charles Woodson are performing on another level completely. This week Brady continued his dominant start to the '15 season while Woodson finally picked off Peyton Manning.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

Week 5 stats: 20 of 27 for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 rushes for 3 yards and 1 touchdown

I don't really have anything left to say about Tom Brady. Against the Cowboys, he faced "constant pressure" and was sacked five times on the day. But Brady still found a way to dial in a commanding performance by "stepping around rushers and delivering big throws down the field." He's playing better than anybody else in the league right now, and there are no signs to indicate regression on the horizon. Next week should be fun as Belichick, Brady, and the rest of the Pats meet the Colts for the first time since Deflategate dominated headlines throughout the offseason. I expect Brady to be absolutely ruthless, shredding the Colts secondary for his best game yet this year. More from Pats Pulpit:

There is one starting quarterback that hasn't thrown an interception. He's third in passing yards and tied for third in touchdown passes. He ranks first in passer rating. He has also played one fewer game than his competitors.

Tom Brady is ascending to another level. When the offense wasn't great in the first half, he stoked the flames to burn the Cowboys in the second half. When he ran for a touchdown and started yelling at his teammates all over the field, it had a similar effect as Brady's slide on the opening drive against the Bengals in 2014. The game was already over.

Running Back

Denard Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Week 5 stats: None

Denard's still sitting on the sidelines with a sprained knee. He hasn't played since Week 2.

Wide Receiver

Jason Avant (Kansas City Chiefs)

Week 5 stats: None

One week removed from his best game of the season - 4 receptions for 43 yards - Avant wasn't even targeted on Sunday in a loss against the Bears. The fact that he played on just seven offensive snaps certainly didn't help. At 1-4 and Jamaal Charles-less, the Chiefs look like a complete mess, which probably doesn't bode well for Avant moving forward.

Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers)

Week 5 stats: Bye week

Offensive Line

Michael Schofield (Denver Broncos)

Schofield made his second consecutive as well as second career start in Week 5 and proceeded to earn a game ball from Mile High Report. They note that he should have been flagged for "human indecency...cruel and unusual punishment or brutal, lethal efficiency" rather than holding, which was questionably called on the play below. It seems that Schofield is getting the job done for now in Denver.

Defensive Line

Alan Branch (New England Patriots)

Week 5 stats: 2 solo tackles

Branch is performing well as a rotational member of New England's defensive line. In their first quarter season review, Pats Pulpit notes that he "is a solid veteran...who can clog up rushing lanes and collapse the pocket from the interior."

Mike Martin (Tennessee Titans)

Week 5 stats: None

Martin sat out this week on the inactive list. He wasn't listed on the injury report, so this looks like the outcome of his poor play so far this season.


Kenny Demens (Arizona Cardinals)

Week 5 stats: None

After playing on 12 special teams snaps against the (terrible, horrible, no good, very bad) Detroit Lions, Demens tore his ACL and will spend the rest of the year on injured reserve. The Lions are bad luck Kenny. Next time just pretend to be sick for a game.

Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)

Week 5 stats: None

After coming into the year with a new contract, a starting gig, and talk of breaking the NFL sack record, Graham has officially crashed back down to Earth. His year to date has been mediocre, and he seems to have lost his starting role after coming off the bench in Week 5.

David Harris (New York Jets)

Week 5 stats: Bye week

Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)

Week 5 stats: None

Ryan missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury.

LaMarr Woodley (Arizona Cardinals)

Week 5 stats: 1 solo tackle

Woodley was listed as probable heading into Sunday, and he only played on roughly one-third of Arizona's defensive snaps on Sunday. However, he, along with many of the Cardinals players, could have probably stayed home as they handled Detroit with ease this week.


Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals)

Week 5 stats: None

Hall barely played in Week 5, seeing the field on just 13 defensive snaps. There have been no official reports as to why, but it seems "to be a health issue."

Jordan Kovacs (Miami Dolphins)

Week 5 stats: Bye week

Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders)

Week 5 stats: 1 solo tackle, 3 assists, 2 interceptions, 2 passes defended

Just like Brady, there's really nothing more to say about Charles Woodson. It's a real shame he's spending his last years with an Oakland team going nowhere fast. Heading into Week 5, there was a lot of chatter about how Woodson has never picked off Peyton Manning, the former Tennessee quarterback that finished second behind Woodson in the '97 Heisman Trophy voting. Charles made sure to change that before Sunday ended, snagging not one, but two Manning passes. However, Woodson displayed the leadership he's known for after the game, stating that he didn't "want to talk about the interceptions, just because of the fact that we did lose the game."

The two interceptions give Woodson an INT in three straight games and four over that span. He's now tied for sixth all-time with Ed Reed at 64 career picks. I should remind you that these interceptions are coming with Woodson "fighting through the pain" after dislocating his shoulder in Week 1. If anyone deserves some rest heading into Oakland's bye week, it's #24.


Tom Brady

Brady has not thrown an interception yet this season. His stats through the first four games this season (1387 yards, 11 TDs, 0 INTs) are eerily similar to his MVP season back in 2007 (1118 yards, 13 TDs, 2 INTs).


Charles Woodson

On Sunday, Woodson became the first player in NFL history to record two interceptions in one game over the age of 39. And, he achieved this against the one quarterback who has evaded him for 18 seasons: Peyton Manning.


Woodson's First Pick

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Woodson's Second Pick

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Tom Brady vs. the Cowboys Defense

Cowboys DE Greg Hardy gave Brady all he could handle, sacking him twice (two of five total sacks for the Dallas defense on Sunday) and hitting him eight times. However, Brady performed well against the Cowboys defense, throwing for 275 yards with two touchdowns, and more importantly led his team to 4-0.

WINNER: Tom Brady

Michael Schofield vs. the Raiders Defensive Line

The shuffling offensive line of the Broncos continues to plague the team and running game. Denver's running backs only managed a total of 43 yards on the ground against the Raiders defensive front, and Manning was sacked twice. Although Schofield did appear to have a solid personal performance, he did commit an unnecessary roughness penalty during the game.

WINNER: Raiders Defensive Line

Charles Woodson vs. Peyton Manning

In an interview earlier this week with Around the NFL, Woodson stated the following about a possible interception of Manning:

"It would be great, man. He's eluded me for 18 years. It would be great. It would be even better if we could come out with the victory. But it would be great to get my hands on one of Peyton's balls."

And, he did just that. Woodson picked Manning off not once, but twice during Sunday's game.

WINNER: Charles Woodson


Tom Brady vs. Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck will return from injury this weekend to take on Brady and the Patriots on Sunday night. Luck has struggled through his first three games of the 2015 season, throwing five interceptions. Luck is 0-4 against Brady and about to face a passing defense that is ranked fifth in the league. Meanwhile, Brady is playing some of the best football of his career and has revenge on his mind after Deflategate.


Jason Avant vs. the Vikings Secondary

Coming off a season-best Week 4 performance of four catches for 43 yards, Avant was held without a catch on Sunday against the Bears. In Week 6, the Chiefs take on a Vikings defense that is tied for fifth in passing defense. Look for Avant to have another quiet performance this weekend.

ADVANTAGE: Vikings Secondary

LaMarr Woodley vs. the Steelers Offensive Line

Woodley is expected to see a significant increase in his playing time this weekend against his former team with fellow LB Alex Okafor expected to miss the game. Woodley has had a quiet season thus far, only recording seven tackles and one sack in the first five games. With a Steelers offensive line that is ranked 13th in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, look for Woodley to once again have an underwhelming performance.

ADVANTAGE: Steelers Offensive Line