Friday, January 8, 2010

NFL Awards - Projected Offensive POY

Who stood out most in ’09? There were a lot of impressive individual performances this season, and I had a hard time narrowing this list to five. Anyways, here’s what I’ve got:

5) Ray Rice (RB, Baltimore Ravens)
You get named Breakout POY, there’s a good chance you’re in the running for this award too. He’s the primary reason the Ravens are in the playoffs this year. Running and receiving, Rice accounted for 36% of his team’s offensive production. I look for him to have an even bigger 2010 where he’s likely to not have Willis McGahee looking over his shoulder and stealing red zone touches. Rice finished the season ranked 6th in the league in rushing, and of the other top 10 rushers, only Adrian Peterson had a higher average per carry. He’s one of the league’s top weapons in just his second season.

4) Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay Packers)
Here’s the guy I think is going to be the Peyton Manning to Philip Rivers’ Tom Brady this next decade. Rodgers finished 4th in QB rating, 4th in passing yards, 4th in TDs, and most impressively 2nd in the league with only 7 INTs. During Green Bay’s 7 of 8 winning streak, Rodgers threw an impressive 14 TDs and 2 INTs. In three games against the playoff bound Cowboys, Ravens, and Cardinals, the Rodgers-led Packers won all three by a combined 49 points. He’s my early pick for league MVP next year.

3) Peyton Manning (QB, Indianapolis Colts)
Supported by weapons that include Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie and the worst rushing offense in the game (under 81 yards a game), Peyton again was amongst the league’s leaders in all passing categories and set personal season highs in completions and passing percentage. It’s hard to bet against this guy. His ’09 season included four games of four TDs, two of them against the Cardinals and Patriots. His numbers: 2nd in TDs, 2nd in yards, 2nd in passer %, and oh, he was the QB of the last remaining undefeated team, until he was pulled by his head coach in week 16.

2) Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans Saints)
Last year’s winner ranks 2nd on my ballot this season. He’s the game’s most accurate passer, whipping the ball all over the field at a stunning 70.6% rate of efficiency, which is even more impressive when you consider that his 8.5 yard per attempt average was third best in the league. That means that a lot of that 70% completion rating came on passes of the deep variety. On top of that, he holds the league’s highest QB rating at 109.6, leads the league in TD passes, and led the Saints on a 13-0 run featuring wins against playoff bound Eagles, Jets, and Patriots by a combined 61 astounding points. Drew dat!

1) Chris Johnson (RB, Tennessee Titans)
If he doesn’t win the award, they should cease handing it out. Seriously, the guy was the most dominant force in the game, rushing for nearly 600 more yards than Steven Jackson, the league’s 2nd leading rusher. This season he joined OJ Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, and Jamal Lewis as the 6th 2,000 yard rusher in league history and had 6 yards to spare. What other records did he break? His 2,000 yard season eclipsed Earl Campbell’s franchise seasonal rushing record. He also unseated Marshall Faulk as the game’s all-time leader with 2,509 yards from scrimmage in a season. Johnson’s best game of the year was a 228 yard domination of the Jaguars where he ran for nearly 10 yards a carry. He earned at least 100 yards on the ground in 12 of 16 games, including 11 in a row to close out the year, and scored multiple rushing TDs in 5 contests. He’s undoubtedly the most explosive player in the game and is quite literally a threat to take it to the house each and every time he touches the football.

(Just missing the list: Philip Rivers, Adrian Peterson, Matt Schaub, Brett Favre, Thomas Jones, Andre Johnson, Cedric Benson, and Brandon Marshall)

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