Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Cook, RB
Week 14’s Thursday Night Football featured two of the streakiest teams in the league, the Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the game could have gone either way, the Vikings saw red and put on absolute clinic in the first half. Dalvin Cook had his best game this year against arguably the worst rush defense in all the land.
Cook ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first two quarter alone. He finished with 205 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards on one reception. The Chef surpassed legendary running back Adrian Peterson for most rushing yards in the first half in Vikings history. Just 11 days back from injury he recorded his second 200-yard game with Minnesota. It couldn’t have been a Vikings game without a nerve wreaking ending as they allowed the Steelers to score 21 points in the fourth quarter but pulled away with a 36-28 win.
Los Angeles Rams: Jalen Ramsey, CB
In one of the toughest years to pinpoint the NFL’s clear No.1 team, two of the top candidates faced off in Week 14. The Rams were slated to play the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football in a battle of electric offenses featuring players like Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper Kupp, DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray. With that being said, the winner of this matchup would be the team with the best defensive showing.
One of the most talked about matchups in football between DeAndre Hopkins and lockdown corner Jalen Ramsey was on the horizon. While the fans may have brought their popcorn for that showing, Ramsey tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out for the game. Although the Rams were missing some key pieces, they came out on top with a 30-23 victory.
Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, SS / Asante Samuel Jr., CB
The Chargers hosted the banged up New York Giants in a much needed win to embed themselves into the playoff picture. After defeating the Giants 37-21 the Chargers now sit at a comfortable 8-5 record, just two games behind first place in the AFC.
Derwin James and Asante Samuel Jr. were both inactive for the contest as James deals with a hamstring injury and Samuel Jr. continues to recover from the concussion in Week 11 against the Steelers. Both of them should be easing their way back into practice as early as Week 15 to prepare for possibly their most important game of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Baltimore Ravens: Devonta Freeman, RB
The Baltimore Ravens were grounded in Cleveland, Ohio this Sunday to play a divisional matchup against the Browns. In a very important game that had the ability to take a demanding division lead or put a nail in Clevelands coffin, the Browns came out hot with 24 points in the first half. While the Ravens were playing with backup QB Tyler Huntley they managed to come from behind and turn an 18 point deficit into a painful 24-22 loss.
Veteran running back Devonta Freeman was met by a talented Cleveland front with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. After a tough first half, Freeman picked up the pace and logged 64 rushing yards on 13 attempts, and eight receiving yards on five receptions. Despite being past his prime he’s continued to add tricks to the bag, but he’ll need Lamar Jackson and a healthy O-line for a legitimate chance at closing the AFC North.
Denver Broncos: Ronald Darby, CB
The Broncos family was playing for more than just football this past weekend. Retired wide receiver Demaryius Thomas passed away just two games prior to their game against the Detroit Lions. Denver came out with an emotional edge and dominated the matchup, securing a much needed 38-10 victory.
Their defense gave up just one touchdown in a 60 minute ball game, grabbing one interception and one fumble recovery. Defensive back Ronald Darby came away with one pass defended and four solo tackles to help put the Broncos back in the winning margin. They’re just outside the wild card with a 7-6 overall record and a 1-2 divisional record.