Dec 3, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Gabe Martin (50) against Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-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.
Overall Grade against NFC West Teams: 90.6
Even in his age-33 season, Staley turned in another stellar campaign, finishing as our top-graded tackle on the year and his play within the NFC West was no exception. Staley was dominant in both facets, earning both the highest pass-block (86.3) and run-block grades (87.1) of any NFC West lineman in divisional games. The wily vet’s performance against the Rams was especially top notch, with Staley keeping a clean sheet in pass protection across 80 pass-block snaps on his way to his two highest game grades of the season.
Overall Grade against NFC West Teams: 80.9
One of the holdovers from a Rams offensive line that took a big step forward from 2016 to 2017, Havenstein is a name that probably comes as a bit of a surprise in the No. 2 spot. The former Wisconsin Badger has been a consistent performer at right tackle since entering the league, and his NFC West opponents saw his best efforts last season. Havenstein made his mark in the run game, where his 81.5 run-block grade trailed only Staley (and former 49ers tackle Trent Brown, who would’ve held this spot on the list had he remained in the division). As a pass protector, he surrendered only a lone sack to Dion Jordan in Week 15.
Overall Grade against NFC West Teams: 80.8
Somewhat remarkably, Woods is the only skill-position player to crack the top five of this list. Woods didn’t drop a pass in divisional play, hauling in all 22 of his catchable targets. He was efficient with those targets as well, producing 17 first downs and averaging 2.14 yards per route run, making him the only NFC West player to clear the 2.0 threshold.
Overall Grade against NFC West Teams: 80.0
In an O-Line-heavy top five, the Rams see another make the cut. Saffold turned in a…