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ACC In The NFL, Dec. 11

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:23am
By: Carlos Collazo

With just three weeks left in the NFL season, we take a look at the top stories surrounding former ACC athletes.

Luke Kuechly (Boston College) is drawing comparisons to Brian Urlacher as he continues to dominate at linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. This week he'll face one of the NFL's top tight ends in Jimmy Graham (Miami), of the New Orleans Saints.

After a loss to the Buccaneers, C.J. Spiller (Clemson) said the team wasn't heading back into regression but moving forward. "I feel that this organization's heading in the right direction," he said.

DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) has looked to Andre Johnson (Miami) as the Houston Texans go through a transition at head coach.

Anquan Boldin (Florida State) is building his Pro Bowl candidacy after going over 11,000 career receiving yards last week against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Georgia Tech should be proud of the receivers they have sent to the NFL. Demaryius Thomas has become a top receiver with the Denver Broncos this year, and Calvin Johnson recently became the Detroit Lions all-time leading receiver.

While many people may have enjoyed the snow-filled games last week, Raven's receiver Torrey Smith (Maryland) said that it wasn't a proud moment for him when he saw Baltimore fans throwing snowballs at Minnesota players.

Ed Reed (Miami) has experienced more criticism than ever this season, after being cut from the Houston Texans, but he still says he is a good player. "I don’t think that I have played much different this year than I have in the past if you go back and look at tape," he said.

Giovani Bernard (North Carolina) and Lesean McCoy (Pittsburgh) were among the winners of NFL's Week 14. McCoy had 217 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles, and Cincinnati RB Bernard set season (and career) highs in rushing and receiving yards with 99 and 49, respectively.

Daniel Brennan writes that Hakeem Nicks' (North Carolina) five-catch, 135-yard game against the Chargers isn't a sign of good things to come for the Giants receiver - but a fluke. Brennan noted that Nicks was unable to get away from his defender for most of the game, and "was anything but a consistent target for (Eli) Manning."

Philip Rivers (N.C. State) had a great birthday this year, leading the Chargers to victory over the Giants and throwing for three touchdowns and zero picks on 21-of-28 passing. 

Rivers' teammate Manti Te'o (Notre Dame) says that his play this season has had nothing to do with the criticism he's received on and off the field for that girlfriend hoax.

Tampa Bay's Mike Glennon (N.C. State) didn't have his best day, but he did enough Sunday to beat long-time friend/rival EJ Manuel (FSU) and the Bills. 

If New York Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh (Syracuse) winds up starting the remaining three games of the NFL season, he will be the first rookie to start an entire 16-game season for the Giants since 1995.

Vinnie Iyer says that the biggest mistake that former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak made was sticking with Matt Schaub (Virginia) for as long as he did.

That hasn't been a problem for Eagles coach Chip Kelly, as he quickly switched over to Nick Foles during the season. It's paid off for him ever since, and Kelly even said he never planned on bringing Michael Vick (Virginia Tech) in the game to help with the ground attack during this Sunday's game against the Lions.

Chris Givens (Wake Forest) has lost targets from Rams QB Kellen Clemens, after multiple weeks of poor play.