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Divisional standouts – the top-graded players in NFC North play

Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 85.5 Before his injury, Aaron Rodgers took advantage of a struggling Bears team in Week 4.
He did most of his damage against the Packers with 14 catches for 217 yards in two games, but he led all receivers with six avoided tackles and 215 yards after the catch in the six divisional games.
Ty Montgomery led all NFC North running backs with 5.5 yards per carry in divisional games last year.
Defense Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 92.7 The highest-graded safety in the NFL last season was also the highest-graded player in the NFC North.
Harrison Smith had the highest coverage grade (91.9), the second-highest run defense grade (86.5) and second-highest pass rushing grade (83.6) of any defensive back in the division.
Four of his five total interceptions last season came in these games, and he allowed just a 12.9 passer rating when targeted, the best of any defender in coverage.
Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 88.9 All three divisional opponents had trouble blocking Kenny Clark in the running game.
Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 86.8 Everson Griffen led the division’s edge rushers with an 87.8 grade and five sacks.
He led NFC North interior defensive linemen with 19 tackles in run defense, 11 of which were stops.
He was targeted nine times on 43 coverage snaps, allowing six catches for only 26 yards.

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Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Harrison Smith (22) takes the field before the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL regular season is rapidly approaching. Soon, talks of the top players and best teams will flood social media as each team’s fanbase will champion for their guys. One of those key components to be considered a top player is how well they stack up against their divisional rivals.

In our last look back at the 2017 season, we take a glimpse at the players who have the highest grades against their division rivals from a season ago. We’ll take a look at the top-10 grades on offense and defense only on contests against their respective divisions. How well did your favorite players play against the division last year? Don’t see them below? Grab a PFF Elite subscription for access to Premium Stats 2.0 to find out for yourself.

[This is a part of a series that will highlight the league’s highest-graded players when they take on their divisional rivals.]


Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 87.9

David Morgan is one of our secret superstars on offense, but he might not be too secret to the rest of the NFC North. As a second tight end, he doesn’t dominate any games, but he makes the most of his opportunities on the field. In 40 snaps in route against divisional opponents, Morgan caught five of his six targets for 61 yards, giving him a higher yards per route run average than any NFC North starter. Run blocking is his bread and butter, and he led all tight ends in the division with a 74.3 grade in the ground game.

Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 85.5

Before his injury, Aaron Rodgers took advantage of a struggling Bears team in Week 4. It’s no surprise that he led NFC North quarterbacks with a 124.6 passer rating and an 81.5 adjusted completion percentage in divisional games. He’s historically been at his best in these games, and he took care of the ball this year with no interceptions and no turnover-worthy throws to go with four touchdowns and two big-time throws.

Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 82.5

The most dominant receiver in NFC North games last season was Marvin Jones Jr. He averaged nearly 20 yards per reception, putting up 509 yards and six touchdowns in his six games. Out of his 26 catches, 22 went for first downs, and 14 were explosive plays (plays of 15-plus yards). He did a lot of his damage against the Packers in Weeks 7 and 17, but all three divisional opponents struggled to keep him under wraps.

Overall Grade against NFC North teams: 79.4

In an injury-shortened season, David Bakhtiari earned the highest grade of his career, and he kept the blindside locked down against…

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