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Northwestern in the NFL, Week 15: McManis’ moment to shine

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At least one of Chicago’s football teams found a way to win.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Former Wildcats shined on the defensive side of the ball once again in an eventful Week 15 for the Pro ‘Cats.

Sherrick McManis: Chicago Bears, S

A week after forcing a fumble on special teams, McManis forced another key turnover this week, catching the game-sealing interception in the Bears 33-27 win over Minnesota. The pick came during his second of just two snaps that he saw on the defense, as McManis has almost exclusively played on special teams so far this season.

The veteran will get a chance to build on his strong performances this Sunday against the Jaguars.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (12:00 pm CT, 12/27)

Hunter Niswander: Dallas Cowboys, P

Niswander punted six times for an average of 47 yards per punt in the Cowboys’ 41-33 win over the 49ers. It marks the most punts he has had in a single game thus far in his short NFL career.

Hunter the Punter has had a quietly strong season for Dallas after being signed as a replacement in Week Nine. He has averaged a consistent 47.4 yards per punt since then.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3:25 pm CT, 12/27)

Anthony Walker Jr.: Indianapolis Colts, LB

The Franchise combined for six tackles while playing a season-low 32% of defensive snaps played in the Colts’ 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.

Walker’s snap count this year has varied greatly this year as defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has opted for additional lineman and defensive backs in favor of the former Northwestern linebacker. He’ll look to make a bigger impact next week in a pivotal contest against the Steelers.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (12:00 pm CT, 12/27)

Ifeadi Odenigbo: Minnesota Vikings, DE

Odenigbo recorded two solo tackles and played 41% of the Vikings’ defensive snaps in their loss to Chicago. It was a season-low in snaps for the starting defensive end, as he briefly exited the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter before returning.

Week 15 matchup: vs. New Orleans Saints (3:30 pm CT, 12/25)

Dean Lowry: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lowry defended one pass and combined for one tackle while playing 64% of the Packers’ defensive snaps in their win against the Panthers Saturday. Despite starting all 15 games for the Packers this year, Lowry has recorded just two tackles for loss on the season.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Tennessee Titans (7:20 pm CT, 12/27)

Tyler Lancaster: Green Bay Packers, DE

Across from Lowry, the fellow defensive lineman recorded one total tackle, playing 30% of the Packers’ defensive snaps.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Tennessee Titans (7:20 pm CT, 12/27)

Nate Hall: Houston Texans, LB

Hall played 48% of the Texans’ special teams snaps in their loss to the Colts. This marks the third week in a row that Hall has not seen the field on defense after a standout two-sack performance on Thanksgiving.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (12:00 pm CT, 12/27)

Joe Jones: Denver Broncos, LB

Jones combined for two tackles while playing 88% of the Broncos’ special teams snaps in their 48-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Jones has hardly played any defensive snaps this year but remains a key part of Denver’s special teams unit, having played more than 74% of its snaps in every game this season.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (3:05 pm CT, 12/27)

Justin Jackson: Los Angeles Chargers, RB

JJBTC was a healthy scratch from the Chargers’ 30-27 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday. It may signify that Jackson has slid down on the depth chart past Joshua Kelley and Kalen Ballage now that Austin Ekeler has returned.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Denver Broncos (3:05 pm CT, 12/27)

Clayton Thorson: New York Giants, QB

Thorson served as Colt McCoy’s backup in the Giants’ 20-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns this week. He will likely be relegated to the practice squad once again if Daniel Jones is healthy for their next contest.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Baltimore Ravens (12:00 pm CT, 12/27)

Ibraheim Campbell: Indianapolis Colts, SS

Campbell did not play this week, as he was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list earlier last week.

Week 15 matchup: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (12:00 pm CT, 12/27)

Practice squad members: Joe Gaziano (Los Angeles Chargers), Montre Hartage (New York Giants), Austin Carr (New Orleans Saints), Blake Hance (New York Jets)