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Northwestern in the NFL: ‘Cats take advantage of new opportunities

Lots of ‘Cats were out of action, but the ones who weren’t made their presence felt.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

A faint glimmer of hope for an upset faded this Saturday as the ‘Cats eventually discovered that seven points would not be enough to defeat an undefeated Ohio State team with a Heisman-hopeful QB. But the day after the current ‘Cats took a loss in Evanston, many former ones made their mark around the NFL.

Ben Skowronek – Los Angeles Rams, WR/FB

Skowronek did not have the most impactful game of his young career, but he did get more targets than last week. Coach Sean McVay is looking to capitalize on Skowronek’s recent performances by giving him a larger role in the Rams’ receiving corps.

Unfortunately, Skowronek didn’t contribute much to L.A.’s 16-13 loss in Tampa Bay, as he was unable to haul in either of his two targets. An incomplete short pass from Matthew Stafford in the first quarter was the first pass Skowronek failed to catch since Week Five against the Cowboys, and he didn’t get any snaps at fullback for the second straight week. The second-year receiver is still looking for his first receiving touchdown of the season, with his only other touchdown coming on a 17-yard rush against the Panthers in Week Six.

Hopefully the Rams see this as a tough week against a Buccaneers passing defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest net yards per passing attempt and continue to let Skowronek prove himself. And a Week 10 matchup against the much weaker Arizona Cardinals passing defense might be just what the doctor ordered.

Week 10 matchup: vs. Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, 3:25 p.m. CT)

Dean Lowry – Green Bay Packers, DE

The Packers rolled into Detroit last weekend looking to bust a four-game slump against a seemingly perfect slump-buster: the 1-6 Lions. Things… didn’t really work out for them. But the defense looked better, allowing the fewest points since their Week Three victory over the Bucs in a 15-9 loss.

Dean Lowry was certainly a part of that defensive effort. He’s still looking for his first sack since Week Four, but he did record his first tackle for a loss of the season when he took down Lions running back Jamaal Williams for a loss of two in the third quarter. He finished the game with three combined tackles and was used on 60% of defensive snaps, his highest usage since Week Five.

Week 10 matchup: vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 3:25 p.m. CT)

Justin Jackson – Detroit Lions, RB

The Lions picked up their second win of the season against the division rival Packers on Sunday, anchored by a strong ground game that featured star running back Jamaal Williams and… former Wildcat Justin Jackson?

Whether Jackson is the secret sauce that makes this team win is up for debate, but the veteran running back had his best performance of the season against Green Bay last weekend. He ran four attempts for 27 yards, good for a team-leading 6.8 yards per attempt. Jackson also returned two kicks for 47 yards, his best returning effort since Week Three in Minnesota.

Week 10 matchup: at Chicago Bears (Sunday, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Injured Wildcats: OT Rashawn Slater (Chargers), LB Anthony Walker Jr. (Browns)

Other Wildcats in the NFL: DL Earnest Brown IV (Rams), DL Joe Gaziano (Chargers), OL Blake Hance (49ers), RB Godwin Igwebuike (Seahawks), LB Joe Jones (Titans), OC Mike Kafka (Giants), WR Kyric McGowan (Commanders), CB Greg Newsome II (Browns), DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (Colts), QB Trevor Siemian (Bears)