Below is this week’s edition of the NFL’s top four Tar Heel performances. With week 14 now behind us every team has just three games left with several of them still fighting for playoff position down the final stretch.
Hakeem Nicks WR New York Giants
The Giants were able to shake off a road loss a week ago and put up a season high 52 points in a win against the Saints at home in MetLife Stadium. Behind Eli Manning’s four touchdown passes and an amazing overall performance from rookie running back David Wilson, New York was able to account for well over 600 total yards(487 yards on offense, 149 kickoff return yards) and hold New Orleans to just 27 points. Former Tar Heel Hakeem Nicks got in on the action grabbing four of Manning’s 22 completions for 67 yards and one touchdown. Nicks caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Eli in the 3rd quarter to making the score 35-13.
Quinton Coples DE New York Jets
Rex Ryan was able to get his defense to play solid for the second week in a row as the Jets went into Jacksonville and won 17-10 over the Jaguars. Yes, their opponents were the Cardinals and Jags, but nonetheless, New York was able to hold the two teams to just 17 points combined in back-to-back weeks. The Jets first round draft pick, former North Carolina standout Quinton Coples, was able to record his third sack of the season and finished the game with two tackles as well. Coples has had a sub-par season compared to the expectations placed upon you with a high draft selection. But I don’t place much of, if any of the blame on Coples for the Jets defense ranking 29th overall in the NFL with just 22 sacks as a team. The former Tar Heel is very talented with plenty of potential, yet, he will still need some additional help along the Jets defensive line and opposite of him rushing the passer consistently.
Robert Quinn DE St. Louis Rams
The Rams were able to get their sixth win of the season Sunday by defeating the Bills on the road in Buffalo 15-12. For the most part it was a defensive struggle mixed with some mediocre to poor offense. The St. Louis defense was able to hold the Bills to just 281 total NET yards of offense and 61 yards of that total on the ground. Buffalo’s running game ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing yards-per-game averaging over 141 yards and also ranks fourth in the NFL averaging 5.1 yards-per-rushing attempt. Overall the Rams showed what potential they have as a group under first year coach Jeff Fisher. Former Tar Heel Robert Quinn finished the game with two tackles and one sack. The sack was number 9.5 for Quinn leaving him now tied for 10th in the NFL in that category.
Greg Little WR Cleveland Browns
Cleveland continues to play well as of late winning their third straight game with this victory coming at home over a still grieving Kansas City Chiefs team 30-7. The win was the Browns fourth win in their out of the last six showing some promise late in the season under second year coach Pat Shurmur. Cleveland was able to accumulate over 350 total NET yards on offense against the Chiefs behind a solid team effort on the ground and rookie running back Trent Richardson’s two touchdown runs. Greg Little finished the game with 4 reception for 69 yards along with one rushing attempt for 17 yards. For Little, who happened to play a little running back at Chapel Hill his Freshman and Sophomore season, it was the longest rushing attempt of his career thus far(previous high was a 13-yard run). The former Tar Heel now has 39 receptions on the year with a 12.2 yard average every catch.