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Northwestern in the NFL: A familiar face enters the fold

Guess who’s back, back again...

NFL: Chicago Bears at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Well, a disappointing Wildcat football season came to a close on Saturday with a 41-3 loss to Illinois in the battle for the HAT. Time to see if any Pro ‘Cats could give fans some respite on Sunday.

Trevor Siemian: QB, Chicago Bears

The former Northwestern signal-caller saw his first real action of the season on Sunday in a 31-10 loss to the New York Jets. Siemian was in line to start for the Monsters of Midway after an injury sidelined Justin Fields, but he almost lost his opportunity when he injured his oblique pregame. The sixth-year veteran shaped up by kickoff, however, making his first start since Nov. 25, 2021 (6-31 New Orleans loss to Buffalo).

Siemian was unable to do much with a Bears offense that struggles in the passing game. He finished 14-for-25 for 179 yards with one touchdown and one interception to boot. It is unclear if the 30-year-old will continue under center for the Bears as Fields continues to nurse his shoulder. Onto the next former Northwestern offensive standout.

Week 13 Matchup: vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 12:00 PM CT)

Ben Skowronek: WR, Los Angeles Rams

Much like Northwestern, the reigning Super Bowl champions are plagued by offensive ineptitude, and Sunday was no different as the Rams fell 31-10 to the Chiefs. Skowronek hoped to step into a larger role with LA missing Cooper Kupp, but that was not the case. He ended with two receptions for five total yards on four targets, which is a disappointing day for a receiver who has the capability to be an X-factor. Kupp will continue to be off the field for at least a few more weeks, so perhaps the sophomore receiver can step up in his absence going forward.

Week 13 Matchup: vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, 3:05 PM CT)

Justin Jackson: RB, Detroit Lions

Jackson entered this game against the Bills fresh off his best performance of the season last week (139 all-purpose yards). He was not able to match his production in this week’s loss, however. JJTBC totaled four rushing yards on four attempts and 15 receiving yards on one reception (two targets). He did tack on 67 return yards on three attempts, making it his second game in a row with 60+ return yards. The Detroit running back room features D’Andre Swift and the emergent Jamaal Williams, so Jackson will figure to continue to have the most impact in the return game.

Week 13 Matchup: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 12:00 PM CT)

Mike Kafka: OC, New York Giants

Coach Kafka spent his Thanksgiving in Dallas this year, but his offense ended up with the short side of the wishbone, falling 28-20. The unit put up 300 yards of offense, meaning it has now eclipsed the 300-yard mark eight times this season. That being said, the Giants’ offense was not without struggles. Late-down conversions were its kryptonite, with Big Blue going 3-for-11 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth down.

Overall, the Giants rank 22nd in points scored and 20th in total yardage, despite a 7-4 record. Five of the team’s final six games will be against top-half-of-the-league defenses by both points-per-game and yards-per-game. Wildcat fans should tune in to see what Kafka can cook up, because he might be back in Evanston sooner rather than later.

Week 13 Matchup: vs. Washington Commanders (Sunday, 12:00 PM CT)

Injured Wildcats: OT Rashawn Slater (Chargers), LB Anthony Walker Jr. (Browns), CB Greg Newsome II (Browns), DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (Colts)

Other Wildcats in the NFL: DL Earnest Brown IV (Rams), DL Joe Gaziano (Chargers), OL Blake Hance (Jaguars), RB Godwin Igwebuike (Seahawks), LB Joe Jones (Titans), WR Kyric McGowan (Commanders), DE Dean Lowry (Packers)