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Northwestern in the NFL: Week 15

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JJTBC and the Franchise play key roles on playoff hopefuls, and Tyler Lancaster completes an amazing journey to Green Bay’s starting ranks.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We haven’t done this in a while. Here are some Week 15 updates, as well as other tidbits you need to know about NU alumni in the NFL:

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

The Ball Carrier played a key role in Los Angeles’ comeback road win over Kansas City on Thursday night. Starting in place of the injured Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, Jackson carried 16 times for 58 yards and logged three catches for 27 yards. He also had a key touchdown run that pulled the Chargers within one score late in the fourth quarter.

Jackson has played an important role in the Chargers burst towards the top of the AFC standings. He’s up to 197 rushing yards on 43 carries, and his two career touchdowns have come at key times against daunting opponents. It looks like Gordon will return for Los Angeles next week, but JJTBC has definitely proven he can stick around.

Anthony Walker Jr., Indianapolis Colts

Walker has become an integral part of an Indianapolis defense that shut out the Cowboys on Sunday. The linebacker was mic’d up for Sunday’s contest, in which he totaled six tackles.

Walker is 20th in the NFL with 103 tackles on the season, to go with one sack and one interception. The Colts have won seven of eight to surge back into the AFC playoff picture at 8-6.

Sherrick McManis, Chicago Bears

After an injury to Bryce Callahan, McManis was thrust into the nickel corner spot on Sunday. He tallied two tackles and two passes defensed as Chicago earned the NFC North title, the first in McManis’ seven-year Bears career.

“I’ve been around,” McManis told The Athletic. “It feels good to get one of these under the belt. I’m blessed. It’s awesome. It’s great. It’s my first time getting one here. I’m very excited.”

Normally a special teams player, McManis has been asked to do more on defense in 2018. He’s earned praise from head coach Matt Nagy and amassed 21 tackles and one interception this year.

Tyler Lancaster, Green Bay Packers

The defensive tackle has made the remarkable journey from the Green Bay practice squad to the defensive line rotation to the starting ranks. If you’re a subscriber to The Athletic, take the time to read this Josh Tolentino story on Lancaster’s journey. Lancaster didn’t get promoted to the 53-man roster until early October, and made his first start in late November due to injuries. On Sunday, he saw the field on 51 snaps and tallied a career- and team-high seven tackles.

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Brought home the W

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He’s also been excellent at doing what he did best in Evanston — pushing linemen back at the point of attack and taking on double teams. Lancaster has absolutely earned his spot on the Packer roster, something we didn’t think he could do back in April. His rise has been one of the best Northwestern-related NFL stories of the season.

Dean Lowry, Green Bay Packers

Lancaster’s partner on the Packer defensive line is Dean Lowry, who logged 53 snaps against Chicago on Sunday. His production has been solid all season, highlighted by a four-week stretch in which the 2016 draftee amassed three sacks. Against the Bears, Lowry recovered a fumble, though Green Bay couldn’t turn the turnover into points. He has 35 tackles on the year.

Dan Vitale, Green Bay Packers

To the chagrin of many NU-Chicago Bears fans, Green Bay is becoming Wildcat central. The Packers added Vitale to the practice squad in October, and he was promoted to the active roster as a fullback before the Arizona game. Vitale has appeared in three games, but hasn’t accumulated any stats. Most of his snaps have come on special teams.

Ibraheim Campbell, Green Bay Packers

Campbell has been cut by the Texans, Cowboys, and Jets at some point in 2018, but the fourth-year pro tallied 18 tackles and forced a fumble for Green Bay before being placed on injured reserve two weeks ago.

Austin Carr, New Orleans Saints

Carr tallied back-to-back touchdowns in Weeks 11 and 12, but his role has diminished in recent weeks. He wasn’t active for the Saints’ Monday Night Football win over Carolina, and he only played 14 snaps the week before against Dallas. On the season, he has nine catches for 97 yards with two scores.

Brian Peters, Houston Texans

Peters remains one of Houston’s special teams stalwarts. He’s got nine tackles for the AFC South-leading Texans.

Joe Jones, Denver Broncos

Jones has been primarily a special teams player with Denver, but he got to step in at inside linebacker two weeks again against Cincinnati because of injuries. The second-year pro tallied four tackles. More importantly, the Broncos are pushing for Jones to make the Pro Bowl as a special teams player. So go vote for him, if you’re inclined to.

Kyle Queiro, Dallas Cowboys

The rookie UDFA has been on the practice team all year, but you can check out this story The Athletic did on Queiro’s gameday, which he spends watching the Cowboys at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Garrett Dickerson, New York Giants

Dickerson has been shuttling back and forth between the active roster and the practice squad without playing meaningful snaps.

Godwin Igwebuike, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Igwebuike played one game on the Tampa Bay 53-man roster before getting cut. The 49ers signed him to their active roster, where the rookie played seven snaps against Denver in Week 14.

Ifeadi Odenigbo, Minnesota Vikings

Odenigbo is currently on Minnesota’s practice roster

Trevor Siemian, Minnesota Vikings

Siemian is on Minnesota’s active roster, backing up QB Kirk Cousins.