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Northwestern in the NFL, Week 14: Wildcats make key plays in final playoff push

Some old faces returned to action on Sunday to help playoff teams make the final push.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern alums were all over the defensive side of the ball in a busy Week 14 for the Pro ‘Cats.

Anthony Walker Jr.: Indianapolis Colts, LB

Walker combined for eight tackles while playing 60% of the Colts’ defensive snaps in their 44-27 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Though Walker experienced a decline in percentage of snaps played, his performance against the Raiders was nothing to scoff about. He will look to continue his hot streak next week against the division rival Houston Texans.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Houston Texans (12:00 pm CT, 12/20)

Ifeadi Odenigbo: Minnesota Vikings, DE

Odenigbo totaled three tackles (two solo, one assisted) and played 82% of the Vikings’ defensive snaps during their 14-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While Odenigbo did not replicate his incredible Week 13 performance, he had a nice outing against a strong Tampa Bay offense with Tom Brady at the helm. He will hope to help push the Vikings into the playoffs in Week 15 against the Bears.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Chicago Bears (12:00 pm CT, 12/20)

Dean Lowry: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lowry combined for four tackles, one for a loss, and a QB hit during the 50% of the Packers’ defensive snaps he played in their win over the Detroit Lions.

He played half of the Packers’ defensive snaps for the second week in a row, and Sunday marked his fourteenth consecutive start for the team this year. He will look to continue his impressive form against Matt Rhule and the Panthers next week.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Carolina Panthers (7:15 pm CT, 12/19)

Tyler Lancaster: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lancaster recorded two assisted tackles while playing just 28% of the Packers’ defensive snaps.

He played under 45% of the Packers’ defensive snaps for the third time in three weeks as he continued to struggle for an already weak Green Bay defense. He will have an opportunity to rebound in a Week 15 matchup against the Carolina Panthers.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Carolina Panthers (7:15 pm CT, 12/19)

Hunter Niswander: Dallas Cowboys, P

Niswander punted twice for a total of 99 yards during the Cowboys 30-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Niswander will likely see more action next week when the Cowboys take on a stout 49ers defense that only allowed one touchdown and one field goal to the Washington Football Team in Week 14.

Week 15 matchup: vs. San Francisco 49ers (12:00 pm CT, 12/20)

Sherrick McManis: Chicago Bears, S

McManis recorded three solo tackles and forced a fumble while playing 62% of the Bears’ special teams snaps in their dominant 36-7 win over the Houston Texans.

McManis’ only played special teams snaps, but his forced fumble during a Bears punt set them in prime position to score. McManis has a chance to build on this performance against the Vikings in a must-win game if the Bears want any chance at making the playoffs.

Week 15 matchup: at Minnesota Vikings (12:00 pm CT, 12/20)

Justin Jackson: Los Angeles Chargers, RB

Jackson rushed for 10 yards on three carries and turned three receptions into 10 yards while playing 15% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps.

The Chargers activated Jackson from IR prior to the game, so the rather pedestrian stat line for the third-year Northwestern product makes sense. He will look to improve on his performance next week against a Raiders team that allowed over 200 rushing yards in Week 14 against the Colts.

Week 15 matchup: at Las Vegas Raiders (7:20 pm CT, 12/17)

Nate Hall: Houston Texans, LB

Hall played 54% of the Texans’ special teams snaps in their loss to the Bears.

This is Hall’s second week in a row without a tackle after exploding for a career day on Thanksgiving. It seems as if Hall is not in the Texans’ defensive plans, but he hopes to return to his previous success next week against the Colts.

Week 15 matchup: at Indianapolis Colts (12:00 pm CT, 12/20)

Ibraheim Campbell: Indianapolis Colts, SS

Campbell registered one tackle and played 66% of the Colts’ special teams snaps in their 44-27 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Houston Texans (12:00 pm CT, 12/20)

Joe Jones: Denver Broncos, LB

Jones did not play in the Broncos’ 32-27 victory against the Carolina Panthers. Jones remains second on the Broncos’ ILB depth chart, behind only Josey Jewell.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Buffalo Bills (3:30 pm CT, 12/19)

Trevor Siemian: New Orleans Saints, QB

Siemian did not play in the Saints’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Siemian is third on the QB depth chart behind Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston, but his future on the Saints will be uncertain come the looming return of Drew Brees from IR.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (3:25 pm CT, 12/20)

Austin Carr: New Orleans Saints, WR

Carr did not play in the Saints’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (3:25 pm CT, 12/20)

Clayton Thorson: New York Giants, QB

Thorson did not play in the Giants’ 7-26 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Because Daniel Jones returned from injury, Thorson returns to third on the QB depth chart behind Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Cleveland Browns (7:20 pm CT, 12/20)

Practice squad members: Joe Gaziano (Los Angeles Chargers), Montre Hartage (New York Giants)