By Jeremiah Delgado
After Monday night’s game featuring the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, the NFL will have reached the halfway point in the season. There have been plenty of surprises this season and memorable performances. It is time to hand out mid-season awards.
MVP Award- Matt Ryan
The race for MVP is a lot tighter than usual as there are at least three quarterbacks in this conversation. Tom Brady, Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan are all playing very well for their respective teams. Brady has been phenomenal in his return from suspension, but one could argue the level of play hasn’t been that great and the team still went 3-1.
The Patriots have played only one team over .500 in the last month and the Pittsburgh Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger. Although, Brady has 12 touchdowns passes and 0 interceptions, Ryan has played a higher level of competition.
Ryan has beaten Denver, New Orleans and Oakland on the road, which are three very tough places to win. He has thrown for 2,636 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He was also able to win a shoot-out at home against Aaron Rodgers. The award is his until we can see how Brady plays against better competition.
Some consideration has to be given to Stafford who has shown flashes of MVP caliber play, but there are some question marks because of the consistency. His late-game heroics are great, but to be MVP there needs to be continuously great play for four quarters.
It has been interesting to see Stafford playing without Calvin Johnson. He now has to throw to more than one receiver and go through his progressions.
Coach of the Year- Jack Del Rio
This is an interesting award to hand out because it could be given to Bill Belichick every year and no one would argue. There has been some stellar coaching going on and transformation of teams from a year ago. It looks like Jack Del Rio leads the charge for this award for the moment.
The Raiders are undefeated on the road and Del Rio has pushed all the right buttons this year. This team has made leaps and bounds from last year with a lot of young players like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack.
Dan Quinn is in consideration for this award as his Atlanta Falcons are atop their division and carrying one of the best offenses in the NFL. The defense is not nearly as good as his Seattle Seahawks and still they find a way to win.
Offensive Player of the Year- Tom Brady
Yes it is possible to be good enough to win offensive player of the year and not MVP just ask Drew Brees in 2011. As stated previously, Brady has been stellar and the offense is clicking on all cylinders. It looks like the only team that will stop the Patriots is the Patriots themselves.
Defensive Player of the Year- Von Miller
Fresh off of a Super Bowl MVP, Miller has picked up right where he left off. He is just half of a sack behind the league lead for most sacks with 8.5. He is on pace to post his highest career total in tackles and at the moment he has 24.
That may not seem like a lot but his highest total is 55. Miller has also forced a fumble and has two passes defended.
Offensive Rookie of the Year- Ezekiel Elliott
This is an easy award to give out as Elliott is on pace to set the rookie single-season rushing record. He has been a great weapon for the Dallas Cowboys this season. He leads the NFL with 799 rushing yards and an average of 114.1 yards per game.
The only other rookie competing for the award is his teammate, Dak Prescott. Not even he is playing as well as Elliott is. As the season progresses his vision is getting better and he is learning to get patient with the blocks.
Defensive Rookie of the Year- Joey Bosa
After missing the first four games of the season, Bosa has come on really strong for the San Diego Chargers. He has four sacks in just three games and has 11 tackles. One of those games came against one of the better offensive lines in football, the Raiders.
There has been a long wait for Bosa and the initial feedback is that he was worth it.
Jalen Ramsey has been good as well, but doesn’t have a lot of passes defended and no interceptions. It doesn’t help that the team as a whole has looked terrible.
Comeback Player of the Year- DeMarco Murray
The Philadephia experiment did not work out for Murray at all and posted his worst career numbers. This season has been a completely different story for him. Murray has more yards through eight games than he had all of last year.
He has 756 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. Last season, his yards per attempt were just 3.6 and this season it is up to 4.7. He has had an increase in his yards per game as well going from 46.8 last season to 94.5 this season.
He has helped the Tennessee Titans and Marcus Mariota transform their running game. They are a top five rushing offense and last season they were in the bottom half.
The season is still fairly young and these award races will become clearer.
Jeremiah Delgado is a fan of the Jets, Yankees and Knicks. He doubts he will, but hopes to live long enough to see the Jets or the Knicks win a championship.
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