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TWENTYMAN: Selecting the All-NFC North team

With the regular season winding down and only the Minnesota Vikings having something to play for beyond Week 17, let's take a look back over the season that was in the NFC North, and select the All-NFC North team.


Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Lions – This one was close between Stafford and Minnesota's Case Keenum, but Stafford ultimately did more with less help in the end. Stafford's completed 65.5 percent of his passes this season for 4,123 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Running back: Jordan Howard, Chicago – Howard became the first Bears running back to record at least 1,000-yards rushing in his first two seasons. He has 1,113 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.

Running back: Latavius Murray, Minnesota – Rookie Dalvin Cook was trending to join this list before an ACL injury ended his season. Murray stepped in for Cook Week 5 and has done a decent job. He has six touchdowns and 17 runs of 10-plus yards this season.

Wide receiver: Adam Thielen, Minnesota – A Pro Bowler this year, Thielen is fifth in the NFL with 1,215 receiving yards and has four touchdowns.

Wide receiver: Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit –  Jones became a huge weapon for Stafford in his second season with the Lions. His 17.9 average per reception is second in the NFL, and he has 1,020 yards and eight touchdowns.

Tight end: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota – Rudolph leads all tight ends in the division with 56 receptions. He has eight touchdown catches on the year, which is tied for second most in the NFL among all tight ends.

Tackle: David Bakhtiari, Green Bay – He missed four games earlier this season with an injury, but in the 11 games he's played up to this point, he's allowed just two sacks and eight quarterback hurries.

Tackle: Riley Reiff, Minnesota – The hardest part of this entire list was finding a qualified second tackle. Reiff plays left tackle for the division champion, and has allowed just 2.5 sacks all season. That's good enough for me.

Guard: Josh Sitton, Chicago – He's played both left and right guard for the Bears this season, and has the sixth highest grade from Pro Football Focus among all guards in the league.

Guard: Joe Berger, Minnesota – He's played in every game for the Vikings this season, and has allowed just two sacks all year.

Center: Cody Whitehair, Chicago – Whitehair's been pretty good in his second season in the league. He's allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits in 15 games this season.


Defensive end: Everson Griffen, Minnesota – Griffen continues to terrorize NFC North quarterbacks. He's fourth in the NFL with 13 sacks this season, and has 36 quarterback pressures.

Defensive end: Ziggy Ansah, Detroit – It's been an up-and-down season for Ansah, but his nine sacks are second in the division. Sure, six of them came in two games vs. New York and Cincinnati, but sacks are sacks. In 12 games, Ansah has as many tackles for loss (12) as Griffen has in 14 games.

Defensive tackle: Akiem Hicks, Chicago – Hicks might be pound for pound the strongest player in the NFL. He's a tough man to move, and has racked up 8.5 sacks, 51 tackles and 15 tackles for loss in 15 games.

Defensive tackle: Kenny Clark, Green Bay – Clark has amassed 30 tackles, 4.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, six tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He also has a positive grade from PFF as both a pass rusher and run defender.

Linebacker: Anthony Barr, Minnesota – Barr continues to be a swiss army knife for the Vikings' defense. He can rush the passer, play the run or drop in coverage. He has 50 tackles, six passes defended and eight tackles for loss on the year.

Linebacker: Clay Matthews, Green Bay – Matthews doesn't seem to be slowing down much in year nine. He has 7.5 sacks and 19 quarterback hits in 13 games this season. He's also recorded seven tackles for loss and has both forced and recovered a fumble.

Linebacker: Blake Martinez, Green Bay – Martinez's 136 tackles leads all NFL players this season. He's also defended six passes, recorded nine tackles for loss and recovered two fumbles.

Cornerback: Darius Slay, Detroit – Slay earned his first Pro Bowl nod this season as he leads the NFL in both interceptions (7) and passes defended (23).

Cornerback: Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota – Opposing passers have just a 54 percent completion percentage and 71.8 passer rating when throwing at this Pro Bowler.

Safety: Harrison Smith, Minnesota – Smith has five interceptions this season to go along with 72 tackles. Amazingly, passers have just a 22.8 passer rating throwing into his coverage.

Safety: Glover Quin, Detroit – Quin continues to be a playmaker for the Lions' defense. He's recorded three interceptions and three forced fumbles to go along with 78 tackles.


Kicker: Matt Prater, Detroit – Minnesota's Kai Forbath has a better percentage (86.5 to Prater's 84.8), but he's missed two from inside 40 yards this year. Prater's seven made field goals from 50-plus yards is tops in the division and tied for the NFL lead.

Punter: Justin Vogel, Green Bay – It's all about the net punting average here. Vogel's 42.0 net punting average is tops in the division and sixth best in the NFL.

Returner: Jamal Agnew, Detroit – This was a tough call between Agnew and Chicago's Tarik Cohen, because Cohen does both kickoff and punt returns very well, where Agnew specializes more in just punt returns, but Agnew leads the NFL in punt return average (16.0) and punt return touchdowns (2).

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