Khalil Mack vs. Vic Beasley
The Raiders (12-4) finished with a superior record to the Atlanta Falcons (11-5) this season, as will be the case when comparing to the rest of the team’s of the other candidates. Although Beasley’s squad does hold a Week 2 victory over Mack’s. In that contest, Beasley recorded the only sack between the players, although Mack had more tackles. Both defenders were up against MVP-caliber quarterbacks for this game and both signal-callers feasted.
Atlanta’s defense ranked just ahead of Oakland’s in yards allowed at 25th (371.2 to 375.1). From Week 3 and on — when Oakland’s defense started to get its act together — the Falcons ranked 23rd (365.3 YPG) compared to the Raider’s 18th ranked defense (extrapolated across the entire season and compared to other teams 16-game totals) from that point (354.7 YPG).
Beasley also played in all 16 games and set the tone for his defense. From Week 5 through Week 15, Vic recorded 13.5 sacks in 10 games (compared to Mack’s 11 in 10 games) but only had a sack in three straight games once. His stats are padded by a 3.5 sack performance against a Denver-squad that allowed the third most sacks in the NFL.
Beasley did tie to lead the league in forced fumbles with six (one more than Mack) but sprung no other in-the-box Atlanta-defender for more than one forced fumble (i.e. Bruce Irvin whom Beasley tied with).
Where Mack recovered 3 fumbles, Beasley only recovered one.
Atlanta’s best defender had no interceptions or pick-six’s this year (as Mack did) but did recover one fumble for a touchdown.
Beasley put no games on ice with a sack or turnover (see Mack in Weeks 12 & 13).