NFL players of the week: Peyton Manning is a record setter

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 had some stellar passing performances, but one player rose above.

This is a strange part of the season. One-fifth of the league is secure and awaiting the postseason, some teams are hoping the year will end soon and the rest are fighting hard to find a spot in the playoffs. These varying degrees of engagement still resulted in some of the best individual performances of 2013.

Passer of the week: Peyton Manning, 32/51, 400 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, 113.2 passer rating

This week was hard given Andy Dalton had one of the best game in his career, but it's impossible to look past another near-perfect game from Peyton Manning. The single-season touchdown record is now back in his hands, and despite being a pass-focused league, it's hard to project this record falling any time soon.

Young quarterbacks around the league are promising, but the NFL is still waiting for the next iteration of Tom Brady and Manning.

Rusher of the week: LeSean McCoy, 18 attempts, 133 yards, two touchdowns

The Eagles running back has been so good that there are serious discussions whether he's better than reigning MVP Adrian Peterson. That's high praise for McCoy, who shredded the Bears' defense in a wholly impressive win.

McCoy is equally dangerous as a receiver and running threat, which makes the Eagles extremely dangerous in the playoffs.

Receiver of the week: Eric Decker, 10 receptions, 131 yards, two touchdowns

Playing with Peyton Manning is no reason to knock a receiver's ability. Eric Decker of the Denver Broncos had a really impressive game where he routinely made tough catches in traffic. He has emerged to be one of the league's most effective young receivers -- and there's no sign of that changing while Manning is in town.

The yards and touchdowns are impressive, but he also averaged a very efficient 13.1 yards per reception without a huge amount of yards after the catch.

Defensive player of the week: Luke Kuechly, 24 tackles, one interception

The Carolina Panthers linebacker was one tackle away from tying Brian Urlacher's single-game tackle record. That alone is reason to celebrate the second-year player.

Kuechly was a huge reason the Panthers won on Sunday. He was charged with stopping the Saints' potent screen passing game, and routinely found himself in the backfield just as the ball was hitting Darren Sproles' hands. This stopped the New Orleans offense before it started, and prompted a gutsy win, with a little help from the rain.

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