clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Orange in the NFL: Recapping week 17 for Syracuse football alumni

Two defenders continue to shine

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, and former Syracuse Orange are preparing their teams for a Super Bowl run. But before we jump into postseason action, let’s check out where each SU alum stands as the regular season concludes this weekend.

Garrett Williams, Arizona Cardinals

Williams returned to action after nursing a knee injury, logging 12 snaps in the box, slot and wide corner positions. After averaging 45 snaps in eight games prior, the Cardinals coaching staff is clearly being cautious about rushing the rookie back. We’ll see how big of a role Williams gets in Arizona’s finale against Seattle.

Matthew Bergeron, Atlanta Falcons

The 2023 second-rounder posted an offensive grade of 61.8 last week against Chicago according to Pro Football Focus, his highest since week 12. Bergeron started in all 16 games right out of Syracuse and ranks fourth of all qualified rookie guards with a 59.6 overall offensive grade.

Kingsley Jonathan, Buffalo Bills

Jonathan saw 10+ snaps on the defensive line for the third time in 2023 and recorded a tackle when Buffalo beat New England. Starting edge rusher A.J. Epenesa returned to the lineup following an injury, so look for Jonathan to take a back seat against Miami on Sunday Night Football.

Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos

The Denver punter placed three of his five punts inside the opposing 20-yard line in a win over the Chargers last weekend. Dixon hasn’t missed a game since joining the NFL in 2016 and needs one more boot to set a personal best in punt attempts when the Broncos take on the Raiders on Sunday.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, Detroit Lions

Melifonwu continues to excel in the strong safety position, notching another interception last week in Dallas. The third-year pro has picks in back-to-back games after not recording one in his entire career. PFF’s seventh-highest graded safety could get a breather in Detroit’s regular-season finale, with the Lions having clinched the NFC North.

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts

The linebacker set a franchise record for tackles in a single season after adding 10 more in a win over Las Vegas. Franklin’s now at 180 takedowns and leads Seattle’s Bobby Wagner by two for the top spot. He’ll have a chance to secure his tackling title in a regular season finale against Houston on national television Saturday night.

Andre Cisco, Jacksonville Jaguars

Cisco spent more time in the free safety position this week, registering two tackles in a win over Carolina. After snagging three interceptions over the first six games, Cisco hasn’t gotten once since and ranks 47th of 97 safeties, according to PFF.

Tommy DeVito, New York Giants

The rookie continued to ride the bench in favor of veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor last weekend. The latter looked great despite a loss to the Rams, tossing for a season-high 319 yards with a touchdown. It looks like Taylor will get the nod again in New York’s final game, shutting down DeVito for the year, barring an injury. He’ll finish with 1,087 passing yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions across eight contests.

Justin Pugh, New York Giants

The 11th-year man continues to truck along as New York’s starting left guard, appearing in every game since joining the team in week 6. Pugh took 70+ snaps at the position for the first time in two months, allowing one sack and two quarterback hurries in a loss to the Rams.

Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No new updates here. Tucker didn’t see the field in Tampa’s loss to New Orleans and still hasn’t seen time at running back since week 3 after posting 23 yards on 15 carries.