Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
Week 15 stats: 23/35 for 237 yards, 2 touchdowns
Another solid game - albeit inconsistent due to the revolving door at wide receiver for the Pats this year - for Tom, so let's just get to the "Brady Briefing" for the week:
- He's "the only [Patriots offensive] starter to not miss any time this season"
- He "needs players to catch the ball"
- He wasn't happy after the refs made a bad offensive pass interference call, negating a 70-yard reception
- All of the uproar over Brady, his personal trainer Alex Guerrero, and the Pats is unwarranted
- He made the Pro Bowl for the 11th time
- Here's the "10 greatest Tom Brady moments from his wild 2015"
Denard Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Week 15 stats: 14 carries for 28 yards, 8 receptions for 46 yards, 2 fumbles
Denard struggled in the starting running back spot for the Jags this week. From Big Cat Country:
Denard Robinson is a nice player. He can be a solid change-of-pace back. But when he is your No. 1 running back, your running game is going to suffer. That is just the blunt truth. Denard had a few nice runs today but ultimately his vision looked off and he couldn't create any yards on his own. Add on the two bad fumbles and it was just a really rough game from him.
Denard showed this week that while he can be an effective change of pace back, he can not be the foundation of your running game. He lacks the vision and overall consistency that you need...With Denard, there are far too many negative plays when he has a large workload. He has a place on the team, but it is not as the #1 RB.
He also suffered a left foot sprain during his disappointing performance, leaving the rest of his season up in the air.
Jason Avant (Kansas City Chiefs)
Week 15 stats: 2 receptions for 12 yards on 2 targets
After failing to record any stats for the last three and five of the last six games, Avant found the stat sheet in Week 15 in a critical win for the Chiefs. His 34 offensive snaps ranked third for Kansas City receivers this week, and he'll look to keep the catches coming against the Bills' bottom-third of the league passing defense next week.
Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers)
Week 15 stats: 2 receptions for 30 yards and 1 touchdown on 7 targets
You'd like to see more than two catches on seven targets, but I'm sure Funchess and the rest of the Panthers don't care after another win kept them undefeated. On his touchdown, Funchess "ran a nice skinny post route against veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromatrie, faking left before breaking right to get open in the end zone for a TD. Great route by the rookie..." It seems like Funchess will continue to get looks as long as he keeps making plays.
Alan Branch (New England Patriots)
Week 15 stats: 1 solo tackle, 2 assists
Branch "continued to contribute a bunch" this week for the Pats. While he did leave this week's game briefly with a right arm injury, he returned, and it doesn't seem to be anything serious. That's good news too as he's been a solid piece of New England's defensive line this year.
Mike Martin (Tennessee Titans)
Week 15 stats: None
Martin did not play this week. This is the eighth week in a row Martin failed to see any game action. He was placed on injured reserve this week for a knee injury, ending his season.
Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)
Week 15 stats: 1 solo tackle
Graham, along with the rest of Philly's defense, performed poorly in Week 15. He earned an ugly -2.1 PFF grade - third worst on the team - due to "bad run defense grades." With the Eagles playoff hopes dwindling, Graham and Co. will look to bounce back next week against Washington.
David Harris (New York Jets)
Week 15 stats: 2 solo tackles
Harris recorded a pair of solo tackles before leaving this week's game due to a back contusion. He's currently listed as day-to-day, and as he's considered the "glue that holds [the Jets] defense together," they will need him to return to action this week as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Patriots.
Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)
Week 15 stats: 7 solo tackles
In his third straight start, Ryan continued to rack up solo tackles, giving him 17 total in three straight Green Bay victories. He's being described as "an upgrade at inside linebacker" who "might be more than just a fill-in." Time will tell, but Ryan's play looks promising so far.
Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals)
Week 15 stats: 5 solo tackles
Hall continues to play even after missing practice during the week due to a back injury he suffered a few weeks ago. He did get beat on one of San Francisco's two second half touchdowns; however, it didn't matter in the end as Cincy won, clinching a playoff berth in the process.
Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders)
Week 15 stats: 3 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss
With Woodson announcing his retirement after the end of this season, take a second to relive his best moments at Michigan and read this wonderful retrospective by Ace at MGoBlog. He made the Pro Bowl for the ninth time in his final season, he's a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, and there's a decent chance he receives some offensive snaps next week in his final home game.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
With this win, Brady pulled within one of Peyton Manning for for most 12-1 win seasons by a quarterback (10).
Ryan continues to earn his keep on the Green Bay squad, finishing second on the team this week in tackles.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Devin Funchess caught his fourth TD pass of the season late in the first half against the Giants
WEEK 15 MATCHUPS REVISITED
Denard Robinson vs. the Falcons Defensive Line
Robinson was held to 28 yards rushing on 14 carries along with 46 yards receiving on Sunday. The Falcons defensive line was dominant at the line of scrimmage all game, only allowing one rushing touchdown to the Jaguars on Sunday.
WINNER: Falcons Defensive Line
Charles Woodson vs. the Packers Receivers
Woodson's game against his former team did not go as planned, as he only recorded three tackles (one for loss) against the Packers on Sunday afternoon. However, the Packers receivers were held to only 204 yards on the day against the Raiders secondary.
WINNER: Packers Receivers
Leon Hall vs. the 49ers Receivers
Hall finished third for the Bengals in tackles on Sunday, recording five total against the 49ers. However, Hall blew a few coverages on Sunday, including one that went for a touchdown against 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin. The San Francisco receivers had an impressive evening overall, recording 295 total receiving yards.
WINNER: 49ers Receivers
WEEK 16 MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Tom Brady vs. David Harris and the Jets Defensive Line
During the Patriots first matchup against the Jets this season back in October, Brady was sacked three times and threw for 355 yards. On the other side of the ball, Harris was held to only four tackles during the game. However, the Patriots travel to the Meadowlands for this game, and the offensive line for New England is more banged up now than it was during their first meeting. Look for David Harris and company to have their way against Brady this weekend.
ADVANTAGE: David Harris and the Jets Defensive Line
Devin Funchess vs. the Falcons Secondary
Funchess has four receiving touchdowns on the season for the Panthers. On Sunday, Carolina travels to Atlanta to face a Falcons secondary that is ranked 16th in the league. The Falcons have lost six of their last seven games, while Carolina will attempt to keep their undefeated season hopes alive for the final two weeks of the regular season. In Week 16, look for Newton and Funchess to continue to click with one another. Perhaps Funchess will nab his fifth touchdown of his rookie season.
ADVANTAGE: Devin Funchess
Jake Ryan vs. the Cardinals Offensive Line
Ryan has been extremely impressive during the last few weeks, scoring at or near the top in total tackles for the Packers. On Sunday, he will take on a Cardinals offensive line that is ranked seventh in run blocking and sixth in pass protection. Due to the dominance of the Arizona O-line as of late, Ryan may struggle this week.
ADVANTAGE: Cardinals Offensive Line