- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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You might have noticed that ESPN.com debuted an ambitious project Monday to rank the top 100 offensive and top 100 defensive players in the NFL. I was one of the 63 staffers who submitted votes.
Ten players in each category will be revealed over the next two weeks, each with a cool nugget from ESPN Stats & Information. I'll draw your attention to NFC North participants whenever appropriate, and here are the four who were among Monday's reveals:
Stats & Info: "For his career, Stafford is just 1-22 against teams that finished the season with a winning record. His only win came in Week 8 of last season against the Seahawks. Stafford threw 727 passes in 2012, breaking Drew Bledsoe's single-season record of 691 from 1994."
Seifert comment: This ranking seems low, until you see who was ranked three spots below him.
Stats & Info: "Since Cutler came to Chicago in 2009, the Bears are 32-8 when he throws one or fewer interceptions. When he throws at least two picks, the Bears are just 2-14. Over that same span, only two quarterbacks -- Christian Ponder and Mark Sanchez -- have a worse Total QBR in losses."
Seifert comment: This doesn't change the thrust of last week's take: Someone is going to pay Cutler a bunch of money this offseason.
Stats & Info: "Williams has intercepted or defended 51 passes in the past three years, most of any player in the NFL."
Seifert comment: Williams hasn't matched his Pro Bowl-caliber 2010 season, in part because of a 2011 shoulder injury. He is now 30, which in Packers terms is ancient, and you wonder if he will make it to the 2014 season with this franchise.
Stats & Info: "Last season, Smith led all rookie defensive backs in tackles (98), ranked second in snaps (992) and tied for fourth in interceptions (three)."
Seifert comment: If Smith has as good of a season as the Vikings believe he will, his 2014 ranking on this list will be much higher.