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Northwestern in the NFL, Week 9: Hunter Niswander makes his debut

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Hunter the Punter is back!

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Following Northwestern’s third consecutive victory on Saturday vs. Nebraska, a number of Pro ‘Cats saw the field the next day with some familiar faces joining the bunch for the first time.

Hunter Niswander: Dallas Cowboys, P

Hunter the Punter made his NFL debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending with two punts for an average of 39.5 yards.

After a stint in the XFL, Niswander finally got his shot in the big league. He was signed to the practice squad Oct. 26 and called up to the active roster in the wake of starter Chris Jones’ injury. Jones was put on injured reserve, meaning Niswander has the opportunity to prove himself in Jerry World.

Week 10 matchup: Bye

Anthony Walker Jr.: Indianapolis Colts, LB

Walker continues to act as a tackling machine for the Colts after he racked up six more against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Colts for the most part were able to contain the typically dominant Ravens rushing attack, but fell short offensively. Walker continues to make up one of the strongest defensive units in the league and one of the best linebacker trios alongside Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke. The three combined for 30 tackles.

Week 10 matchup: at Tennessee Titans (7:20 pm CT, Thursday)

Justin Jackson: Los Angeles Chargers, RB

JJTBC was limited to just three snaps against the Las Vegas Raiders due to a knee injury he suffered on the first drive of the game. He left the game after the first offensive play for the Chargers and returned in the second quarter but did not record a carry in any of his snaps.

Jackson’s injury appears to be minor, and he should be expected to return against the Dolphins. JJ had emerged as the full time replacement while the team awaits the return of Austin Ekeler, but with Kalen Ballage and Joshua Kelley’s productive afternoons the team may return to a committee approach.

Week 10 matchup: at Miami Dolphins (3:05 pm CT)

Dean Lowry: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lowry recorded just two total tackles in the Packers’ blowout win against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday and played his second lowest snap count of the season at 44%.

Rumors swirled of the Packer’s possibly looking for help with a struggling defensive line, but the team has yet to pull the trigger. Lowry retained his starting role, but his below-average play continued, as he has just one tackle for loss this season.

Week 10 matchup: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (12:00 pm CT)

Tyler Lancaster: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lancaster matched teammate Lowry’s tackle count at two total and checked in for just 39% of defensive snaps.

It was mostly a revolving door on the Packer D-line, who stormed to a commanding lead early. Even Pro Bowl DT Kenny Clark took part in only 54% of defensive snaps. Both Lowry and Lancaster should be able to maintain their roles on the Green Bay unit.

Week 10 matchup: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (12:00 pm CT)

Ifeadi Odenigbo: Minnesota Vikings, DE

Odenigbo played 72% of the snaps Sunday against the Detroit Lions and recorded two total tackles.

The trade of star DE Yannick Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens opened the door for Odenigbo to become the top man on the defensive line. The former Wildcat has started every game this season in replacement for the injured Danielle Hunter, but it appears the Vikings may see him as more than a backup.

Week 10 matchup: at Chicago Bears (7:15 pm CT, Monday)

Sherrick McManis: Chicago Bears, S

McManis appeared solely in special teams this week. He recorded one tackle and played 56% of ST snaps.

Week 10 matchup: vs Minnesota Vikings (7:15 pm CT, Monday)

Nate Hall: Houston Texans, LB

Hall appeared in his second game of the season as a part of the special teams unit. He recorded two total tackles in 63% of special team snaps.

Week 10 matchup: at Cleveland Browns (12:00 pm CT)

Mike Kafka: Kansas City Chiefs, QB Coach

Of course we can’t ignore the work of one of the league’s best. It’s fair to say Kafka deserves some credit for the success of Patrick Mahomes, who launched himself back in the MVP conversation this week, with 372 yards and four touchdowns in a win over the Carolina Panthers.

Week 10 matchup: BYE

Practice squad members: Austin Carr (New Orleans Saints), Joe Gaziano (Los Angeles Chargers).