NFL’s Top 4 Tar Heels in Week 16


Zach Brown LB Tennessee Titans

The Titans were blown-out by the Packers in Green Bay 55-7 Sunday in Lambeau Field. Though the Titans didn’t do much defensively to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, rookie linebacker Zach Brown was still able to play at a high level and finish the game with a team-high 8 tackles. The former Tar Heel is now tied for the most solo tackles on the team with 67 now on the season. Overall, Zach Brown has been one of the few positives for the Titans throughout the season with 4.5 sacks to go with his 89 total tackles(including solo and assisted).

Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans linebacker Zach Brown (55) celebrates with corner back Alterraun Verner (20) after recovering a fumble against the New York Jets during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jets 14-10. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Quinton Coples DE New York Jets

The Jets lost their second game in a row in week 16 with this loss coming at home against the San Diego Chargers 27-17. Coming into this match-up the Jets were already eliminated from playoff contention, making the game meaningless in the standings for New York, but overall many players and coaches could be playing these final few weeks for a job in the future. For rookie defensive end Quinton Coples, he may be one of the few players defensively who has played well the last three weeks and has all but guaranteed himself a roster spot in New York for 2013. The former Tar Heel standout Coples finished their Sunday loss to the Chargers with 2 tackles and 1.5 sacks. This was the third straight game for Coples in which he recorded at least one sack. Prior to Sunday, Quinton Coples had only recorded two sacks through 13 games. The final stretch of the season has proved to be his most productive. Coples now leads the Jets in sacks with 5.5 and now has 28 total tackles on the season.

Greg Little WR Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns lost in Denver 34-12 in week sixteen to the Broncos. Yet, the loss and overall dominating performance put on by the Broncos did not stop Cleveland wide-out Greg Little from having an overall productive game. Little still managed to grab 6 receptions for 58-yards and caught the only touchdown scored by the Browns in the game. The former UNC Tar Heel was on the opposite end of rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden’s 6-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. The score would give the Browns just 12 points and was not nearly enough to forge a positive comeback. The second-year receiver out of Chapel Hill, Greg Little, now has 50 receptions, 609 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns on the season. Little also has a 12.2 yards-per-reception average on the season entering week 17.

Julius Peppers DE Chicago Bears

The Bears were able to go on the road Sunday and keep their Playoff hopes alive by beating the Cardinals 28-13 in Arizona. The win came behind a dominating performance from Chicago’s defense led by Julius Peppers. There were times during the game in which Peppers looked like a man among boys on the Cardinals offensive line who were trying to block him. The former two-sport star at UNC just seemed to be un-blockable for the better part of four quarters. Peppers finished, what most would consider his best game of the season, with 5 tackles, 3 sacks, one pass defended, and one forced fumble. Talk about filling up a boxscore when your team needs you the most! One can only imagine what he has planned for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions next week to end the regular season. Peppers is in his eleventh season in the NFL and has now recorded double-digit sack totals in all but 3 of his 11 seasons in the league. On the season, he now has 11.5 sacks, 39 total tackles, and one forced fumble. All of which has now resulted in Julius Peppers being selected to his eighth Pro Bowl since entering the NFL in 2002 with the Carolina Panthers.