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‘Noles in the NFL: Week 16

Merry Christmas Florida State fans! The NFL regular season is winding down to a close with only one week left of games. As it stands now, thirteen ‘Noles would be in the playoffs with five former FSU players fighting to make the playoffs.

The past NFL weekend brought all kinds of action and playoff implications which many Seminoles left their footprint on. Also this past week, the Pro Bowl rosters were announced, featuring two former ‘Noles in the secondary. Rookie safety, Derwin James, and CB Jalen Ramsey, in his second straight Pro Bowl selection, were both selected to the AFC roster. The two former teammates will play in the same secondary for the first time since the 2015 FSU season.

It was a slightly uneventful Christmas weekend on the offensive side of the ball for the ‘Noles in the pros, only scoring one touchdown. Running back, and FSU fan favorite, Dalvin Cook had another productive Sunday since coming back from his injury. The Vikings RB rushed for 73 yards on 16 attempts and caught two passes for 35 yards. Since returning from injury, Cook has gone for 655 total yards and four total TD’s in seven games. Jaguars WR, Rashad Greene, caught two passes for 22 yards in the Jaguars’ 17-7 win over the Dolphins. Redskins RB, Chris Thompson, has been reinserting himself in the Redskins’ offense since missing four weeks with an injury. Thompson ran 4 times for 20 yards and caught a pass for 8 yards, including the stiff arm of the weekend. Watch Here:

Jameis Winston has been playing well ever since taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick in week 11. In six games, Winston has put up nearly a 65% completion percentage, 250 yards per game, and nine TD’s. He has also extremely improved his ball protection, only throwing three interceptions (1 on a Hail Mary) and fumbling three times. This past weekend, “Famous Jameis” put up arguably his best performance since returning against the Cowboys’ 9th ranked passing defense. Winston completed 34 passes on 48 attempts for 336 yards. If it weren’t for two costly fumbles, Jameis would’ve most likely led the Bucs to an upset win. Former FSU WR, Bobo Wilson, connected with Winston on two receptions for 22 yards. Wilson, the Bucs main kick returner, ran back two kicks for an average of 34.5 yards per return. He also added a big hit on kick return coverage; Wilson has inserted himself as a weekly contributor on special teams for the Bucs. Winston made many impressive throws on Sunday afternoon; here is one of his deep connections with WR Mike Evans:

The FSU alums had a productive weekend on the other side of the ball and they put up just as many TD’s as the former offensive players did. FSU had three interior linemen have productive days on Sunday this weekend. Eagles DT, Tim Jernigan, continued to produce on the inside for the reigning champs as they look to defend their Super Bowl title. Jernigan had two tackles and one tackle for loss this past weekend. In San Francisco, Bears DT, Eddie Goldman, contributed one tackle. The former Nole is one of the top run stoppers in the NFL and will put it on display in the playoffs. Chiefs rookie DT, Derrick Nnadi, has proven to be a steal of a draft pick. He’s been terrorizing interior offensive lineman all season long. The former Nole had four tackles and a .5 tackle for loss this past weekend. He will also be playing in the playoffs.

FSU fans watched their current Noles’ LB corps struggle all season long, but the former ‘Noles have been playing at a high level. Lions LB, Christian Jones, added five tackles to his already impressive season. Jones has 66 tackles on the season, good for fifth on the team. Eagles LB, Nigel Bradham, put together a good day for the Eagles on Sunday with six tackles. The veteran linebacker continues his good play in his seventh NFL season, tied for the team lead in tackles with 93 on the season. Steelers veteran LB, Vince Williams, had a good day in arguably the best game of the day, with five tackles including one tackle for loss. Williams, in his sixth NFL season, is second on the team with 76 tackles and eight tackles for loss. Jaguars stud LB, Telvin Smith, provided the highlight of the day for the Noles. Smith undercut a bad pass from Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill and ran it 33 yards back to the house for a pick-six. It was the linebacker’s fourth TD in his five-year career, he also added six tackles on the day. Watch the pick-six here:

FSU will always be in the debate for the title of “DBU,” and the former Noles proved why this weekend. Former FSU walk-on, Javien Elliot, has continued to play the nickel CB well for the Bucs. He has seen a large boost in his playing time in recent weeks and has rewarded the Bucs for it. Elliot had two tackles this past weekend in Dallas. Safety Lamarcus Joyner has proven to be a key part of the loaded Rams’ secondary. Joyner has made big plays every week, including the game-ending interception of Patrick Mahomes in the game of the season. This past week, Joyner had three tackles including one tackle for loss. CB PJ Williams has played a key part in the Saints’ defense for the last couple of years, manning the slot for the defense. Williams put up five tackles, including one highlight tackle for loss of Antonio Brown. Watch the tackle here:

The Jaguars have struggled much more than many expected this season, but CB Jalen Ramsey remains one of the best in the league. As I mentioned before, Ramsey was selected to his second straight Pro Bowl Roster this week. Ramsey is one of the top lockdown corners the league has seen in a while. This past week Ramsey had three tackles and led a Jaguars’ secondary that allowed only 121 passing yards. Rookie Derwin James was also elected to the Pro Bowl, and is the front runner along with Colts’ LB Darius Leonard for Defensive Rookie of the Year. This past week, James was tagged with spying former Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson, for most of the game. James finished the night with six tackles and also showed his coverage skills with one pass defended, which you can watch here:

Former FSU Kickers, Dustin Hopkins and Sebastian Janikowski, both had good outings this past weekend. Check out how they did below:

Redskins’ K Dustin Hopkins: 3/3 FG (long 50), 1/1 XP

Seahawks’ K Sebastian Janikowski: 1/2 FG, 5/5 XP

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Offensive MVP: Jameis Winston (34/48, 336 yards, one TD)

Defensive MVP: Telvin Smith (six Tackles, Pick-6)

 


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