By Scoop Fox
It's now November, the days are getting shorter, and they are getting colder. That means only one thing: we're now at the midway point of the 2013 NFL season. Now I know it's early and I might jinx somebody in the process with all this. But it's all in the name of good spirit. That being said, let's hand out some awards shall we?
Mid season MVP: QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos. This is the ‘sexy pick’ that everybody is making but can you blame them? He opens up with a record tying 7TD performance in Week 1 and hasn’t looked back. He’s leading the league in passing yards (2,919), yards thrown per game (364.9), TDs (29), QB rating (119.4), and is 2nd in completed pass percentage (71.2%). At the rate he’s throwing, Peyton will have 5,838 yards, 58 TDs, and will no doubt have a QB rating well over 120.0. He'll smash Drew Brees single season passing yards (5,476 in 2011) as well as Tom Brady’s single season TD record (50 in 2007) and overcome Aaron Rodgers’ QB rating (122.5 back in 2011). Get this, he's 37. I'd like to see Brady put up the same numbers at that age.
Mid season Offensive Player of the Year: WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions. I know Peyton would take this category as well but I gotta put Megatron in this one. He’s already got 821 yards receiving to go along with 7 TDS on just 47 catches. Calvin is averaging 117.3 yards per game and that’s with seeing double and triple coverage. In Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, he put up 329 yards receiving, just 8 yards short of breaking the record. I know you could put Peyton Manning in this but he's already got the MVP. Gotta give the Decepticon leader a little love too.
Mid season Defensive Player of the Year: DE Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts. He has 11.5 sacks at this very moment, on pace to smash former DE Michael Strahan’s single season sack record of 22.5. He’s also a vocal leader on the Colts, setting the tone for their defense. Perfect example was two weeks ago when he got Peyton Manning on a sack and fumble, causing a safety that shifted the momentum to the Colts that game.
Mid season Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers. When the Packers drafted him, the billing was that he was going to bring a stout running game to the Packers to take some pressure off of QB Aaron Rodgers. After 8 games, we can see it’s working. Lacy leads all rookies in rushing yards (446), rushing yards per game (74.3), tied for second for 1st downs (20). In fact he’s the reason why the Packers are now 3rd in rushing offense (141.4 ypg).
Mid season Defensive Rookie of the Year: MLB Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills. This guy is doing it all in Buffalo. He leads all rookies in combined tackles (81) and interceptions (4). Not to mention he excels in pass coverage with 8 pass deflected. If he keeps this up, you may see Alonso make a push for Defensive Player of the Year.
Mid season Comeback Player of the Year: QB Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers. Why Phillip Rivers? Well for starters he’s vastly improved in his passing game compared to last year. Currently he leads the NFL in completion percentage (73.9) and his QB rating is currently at 111.1, second only to Peyton Manning. Both of those would be career highs if he finishes the season with those numbers. But here’s the real reason: turnovers. In 2012, Rivers threw 15 interceptions and lost 7 fumbles. This year, he’s only thrown 5 picks and has no fumbles. He's gotten the turnovers down, shown that he can be up there in the top 10 tier level, and has vastly improved from a year ago. Can't argue with that choice.
Mid season Coach of the Year: Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs. He took the essentially the same players of a 2-14 team and turned them into an 8-0 squad. Currently the Chiefs are 1st in the AFC West, a game up on Denver. They aren’t wowing people with their offense (16th overall in ypg with 330.8 and 24th in scoring with 24.0) but they cut back the turnovers dramatically. In fact they lead the NFL in turnover differential (20) to go along with their 5th ranked defense in total yards (309.0) and 1st in scoring (allowing 12.2 ppg). Big turnaround from last year. The 3-5 Philadelphia Eagles must feel pretty foolish right now for letting him go for unproven Chip Kelly.
First Coach to be Fired: Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If the 0-7 record doesn’t get him canned, how about the fact that they are the 2nd worst offense in football right now (31st in scoring 14.3 ppg and 31st in 297.7 ypg). Oh let’s not forget the fact he drove QB Josh Freeman out of Tampa Bay and tried to spin it as Freeman was the bad guy. Schiano is quickly losing respect from his players and I won’t be too surprised if he pulls a Bobby Petrino and quits on the team after Week 13. That’s assuming he’s not rightfully fired beforehand.
Biggest Surprise Team: New Orleans Saints Defense. Give credit where credit is due for the Boys in the Bayou. We all know about how great their offense is with Drew Brees at the helm. But it’s their defense that’s making waves. Last year they were just god awful (last in yards allowed per game (440.1), rushing (147.6), 31st in passing (292.6) and scoring (28.4 ppg). Enter newly hired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. For all the crap he's gotten (including all those NFL memes of after the Pats loss), Rob Ryan is a defensive guru. At this point the Saints are now 12th in total defense (allowing 332.4 ypg), including 11th against the pass (allowing 222.1 ypg) and 19th against the run (allowing 110.3 ypg), 4th in scoring defense (allowing 17.1 ppg) and tied for 8th in takeaways (16). If you thought it was tough to outscore the Saints, now their rejuvenated defense made things even tougher.
Biggest Disappointment Team: Atlanta Falcons. This team was just a hair away from making it into the Super Bowl last year. Going in, everybody was abuzz that this was the year. They added a better running back in Stephen Jackson to accommodate Matt Ryan. TE Tony Gonzalez was coming back to join the WR duo of Julio Jones and Rodney White. They added former Giants DE Osi Umenyora and drafted highly touted DB Desmond Trufant to shore up their defense. Now they are sitting at 2-5, injuries have taken a toll on them (losing WR Julio Jones for the season and LB Sean Witherspoon to temporary IR), their defense has been very pedestrian, the offense looks anemic at times, and their only wins came against the struggling St. Louis Rams and the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Team on the Rise: Carolina Panthers. They’re on a hot streak right now, winning 3 in a row and 4 out of their 5 last games. During that span, QB Cam Newton went 94-for-141 (66.7% completion) for 1,198 yards, 9 TDs and 4 INT for a QB rating of 102.5 and coming into his own. The sky is the limit for this team in the highly competitive NFC South.
Team on the Fall: Houston Texans. You start off the season at 2-0, boast a highly touted offense, got perhaps the 3 most dominating defenders (Watt, Cushing, Reed) in the game right now. Then you drop a giant cowpie and lose 5 straight. The only saving grace is that they get to face the even worse Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the lowly Tennessee Titans once more. Other than that, they're a sinking faster than our President's approval ratings (ha ha, bazing).
That's all the time I got. This is Scoop Fox, signing off.
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