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Northwestern in the NFL, Week 12: Pro ‘Cats make headlines on Turkey Day

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The ‘Cats took the main stage with some noteworthy plays on Thanksgiving.

Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Several Northwestern alumni made an impact on Thanksgiving Day and on Sunday as the playoffs creep closer and closer.


Nate Hall: Houston Texans, LB

Hall forced a fumble and totaled a career high five tackles, including two sacks and one tackle for loss, despite playing just 13% of the Texans’ defensive snaps in Houston’s Thanksgiving day victory over Detroit.

Though Hall forced the fumble in garbage time, his performance marked his first career sack and his first career forced fumble. He followed it up with a second sack on the very next play.

All Northwestern fans should hope the Texans see Hall’s production as an indicator of more to come and continue to give him opportunities down the stretch.

Week 13 matchup: vs. Indianapolis Colts (12:00 p.m. CT)

Hunter Niswander: Dallas Cowboys, P

Niswander punted twice and averaged an impressive 55 yards per punt in the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving day loss to the Washington Football Team.

Though his two boots impressed, the unfortunate highlight of the week for Dallas was this putrid fake punt attempt.

Niswander appeared to be a receiving option, but the Washington secondary sniffed out the trick play and covered him the entire time.

Week 13 matchup: at Baltimore Ravens (4:00 p.m. CT, 12/7)

Anthony Walker Jr.: Indianapolis Colts, LB

Walker registered six total tackles in a loss to the Tennessee Titans. Walker played all 72 of Indy’s defensive snaps. Derrick Henry decimated the Titans for 178 rushing yards on 27 attempts. Every time “King Henry” made it past the line of scrimmage, it appeared as if Walker and the rest of the Colts linebackers could do nothing to stop him.

Walker and Indianapolis’ fifth-ranked defense look to rebound against a Texans offense that ranks second-worst in the NFL in rushing yards per game.

Week 13 matchup: at Houston Texans (12:00 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Ifeadi Odenigbo: Minnesota Vikings, DE

Odenigbo had two combined tackles on 77% of the Vikings’ defensive snaps in a comeback win against the Carolina Panthers. The Minnesota defense allowed only 3.8 yards per carry and 13 points, but the Panthers recovered two fumbles for touchdowns on consecutive plays.

The defensive end has started all 11 games for a Vikings team that ranks 24th in yards allowed per game. He’ll look to feast against a lackluster Jacksonville offense that started Mike Glennon under center in Week 12.

Week 13 matchup: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (12:00 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Dean Lowry: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lowry contributed just one tackle, but it hardly mattered as Green Bay stymied a challenged Bears offense until garbage time. His snap count decreased for the second week in a row, but he has a chance to break out against a weak Philadelphia offensive line that has allowed 40 sacks so far this season.

Week 13 matchup: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3:25 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Tyler Lancaster: Green Bay Packers, DE

Playing 25% of the Packers’ defensive snaps, Lancaster’s stat-less performance against the Bears marked the fourth time he did not record a stat this year.

Week 13 matchup: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3:25 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Justin Jackson: Los Angeles Chargers, RB

JJTBC remained on the Injured Reserve in Week 12, and there is no timetable for his return.

Week 13 matchup: vs. New England Patriots (3:25 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Montre Hartage: New York Giants, S

Hartage was a healthy scratch against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12. He sits behind Logan Ryan and Julian Love at third on the Giants’ free safety depth chart. His former teammate, quarterback Clayton Thorson, could be elevated from New York’s practice squad to the 53-man roster this week with starting signal caller Daniel Jones injured.

Week 13 matchup: at Seattle Seahawks (3:05 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Joe Jones: Denver Broncos, LB

Jones did not play against New Orleans in the Broncos’ quarterback-less, 31-3 loss. Jones is second on the Broncos’ ILB depth chart, behind only Josey Jewell.

Week 13 matchup: at Kansas City Chiefs (7:20 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Sherrick McManis: Chicago Bears, S

McManis missed his second straight game due to a fractured index finger. He’s questionable to play next week against the Lions.

Week 13 matchup: vs. Detroit Lions (12:00 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Trevor Siemian: New Orleans Saints, QB

Recently-signed Touchdown Trevor is third on the Saints’ quarterback depth chart behind Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. His future on the Saints will be uncertain come the eventual return of Drew Brees from injured reserve.

Week 13 matchup: at Atlanta Falcons (12:00 p.m. CT, 12/6)

Practice squad members: Austin Carr (New Orleans Saints), Joe Gaziano (Los Angeles Chargers), Clayton Thorson (New York Giants)