Here are my midseason picks for end of year award winners.
MVP – Peyton Manning
Big brother wins again. Peyton had that bad first half against the Falcons, but other than that, the guy has been money. He trumps the rest of his peers in just about every statistical category AND is coming off major injury/surgery. Color me impressed. No, he doesn’t have the best stats at his position. No, his team doesn’t have the best record in the sport. Yes, he’s still prone to the “what the hell was that” mistakes, but no one is more clutch than Eli with the game on the line. As far as I’m concerned little bro is firmly entrenched in the class of elite QBs (Rodgers, Peyton, Brady, Brees, Eli, Big Ben). Aaron Rodgers deserves consideration as well, but I’ve got to go with Peyton based on what I’ve seen from the two teams so far this season.
Offensive POY – Victor Cruz
For me this one came down to three players – Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Victor Cruz. Ryan is the leader of the undefeated Falcons and has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 17 TDs so far. I don’t have him as an elite passer yet, but he’s doing everything you can ask of a QB. I’m having trouble getting that awful performance against the Raiders out of my head though. If we can take the spotlight off the QB position for a moment, how can you ignore what Victor Cruz has done this year? After his breakout campaign, you know this guy has a large target on his back. All he’s done is set a pace to destroy last year’s reception and TD numbers. He’s the #1 offensive weapon on arguably the league’s best team.
Defensive POY – JJ Watt
There’s no debating this one. If Watt isn’t sacking the QB (7.5) he’s batting down his passes (10) at the line of scrimmage. I named Watt as my breakout player of the year for the Texans and the AFC North this preseason, and he’s far exceeded expectations. He’s been the best player on the conference’s best team at the midway point and shows no sign of slowing down.
Offensive ROY – Robert Griffin III
I have this one as a closer contest than I’m sure most do. It’s hard to ignore the athleticism and big play ability that is RGIII, but you’ve got to be impressed with what Andrew Luck is doing with a team that won two games last year. Things may change before the end of week 17, but you’ve got to give it to RGIII at this point.
Defensive ROY –
This one was the hardest to pick. I have three solid candidates, and I think one of these guys is going to end up the winner at season’s end. Harrison Smith is a big reason why the Vikings are enjoying success this season. He’s been quite the force in a secondary considered a huge question mark at the start of the season. Bruce Irvin has earned his debated draft position this season, notching 4.5 sacks on one of the league’s best defenses. The guy leading the way so far though is Chandler Jones, the Patriots defensive lineman who leads all rookies in sacks with 6. He and Dont’a Hightower are proving to be quite the combination up front for the Patriots. Watch out for Casey Hayward to have a big second half for the Packers.
Comeback POY – Peyton Manning
I hate doubling up on players when it comes to awards, but there’s no question that Peyton is the league’s comeback player so far. Jamaal Charles was my preseason prediction, but he’s far off Peyton’s pace.
Coach of the Year – Joe Philbin
Mike Smith and Gary Kubiak might be popular votes based on their teams’ records, but I think Joe Philbin has done the best job so far given preseason expectations. The Dolphins entered the new year with David Garrard as their starting QB, Chad Johnson as their #1 receiver, and Vontae Davis as their top cover man, and now all three are former Phins.
Miami is 4-3 with two of
those losses coming in back-to-back OT defeats, and they’re fresh off a
thrashing of the Jets on the road. Yo