To say that the first half of the NFL season has been interesting is a bit of an understatement. Who would have predicted the Kansas City Chiefs at 8-0 or the New York Giants at 2-6? Would anyone have expected to see so many key players out for the season or on extended absence so soon? There are also some pretty impressive seasons underway including, but not limited to, Peyton Manning’s numbers in Denver. Let’s not forget some high impact rookies on both sides of the ball.
With those thoughts in mind, some of the Sports Unbiased NFL writers decided to perform a Mid-Season Awards vote for First Half Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Do you agree with them? Do you disagree? Let’s take a look who each writer thought won each category. The writers taking part are: Mike Santangelo, John Yeomans, and Chris Pagliuca.
Offensive Player of the Year
Mike’s Pick: Peyton Manning
I’m not sure this is even a competition. It’s Peyton Manning. No one else is even close (ok, maybe one person is close after his week 8 performance, and that’s Calvin Johnson). Even with a few mediocre games in the past few weeks, Peyton has been unstoppable for the most part all year. Pedestrian games now are still keeping him on track to break all-time records because of the ridiculous games in the first few weeks of the season.
John’s Pick: Peyton Manning
Manning has 29 touchdowns and almost 3,000 passing yards and it’s only the half-way point of the season. Yes he hasn’t look as unstoppable the last two games but still is putting up impressive numbers (740 passing yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions). There are no signs that Manning and his high powered offense is slowing down, so expected this offense of juggernaut to keep giving defense fits as the season progresses.
Chris’ Pick: Calvin Johnson
Last week Calvin Johnson wouldn’t top this list, but after his week 8 performance against the Dallas Cowboys, he most definitely is. Up until this week Johnson had 492 yards and 6 touchdowns, modest numbers after six games. He now is leading the league in yards with 821 and in the top five in receiving touchdowns with seven after a week eight game against the Cowboys where he put up 329 yards (second most in NFL history) and a touchdown on 14 receptions. Johnson is now on pace to come within 100 yards of his own single-season receiving record of 1,964 yards that he set just last year! At 27 years old, “Megatron” could be one of the best receivers of all-time.
Defensive Player of the Year
Mike’s Pick: Robert Mathis
This is a close one for me, as Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso for Buffalo have been pretty amazing, but I have to go with Robert Mathis over in Indy. Leading the league in sacks on a resurgent Colts defense that has been one of the best in the league so far this year gives the nod to him as far as I’m concerned.
John’s Pick: Richard Sherman
He’s cocky as they come and will tell receivers that he’s going to shut them down and then he will keep talking after that. Still, plain in simple Sherman backs it up and does just what he says, which is shut any receiver he covers down and makes their day a living hell. The man is having another astounding season that has even seen him run an interception back for a touchdown with one shoe on.
Chris’ Pick: Robert Mathis
This one was very close, but I’m going to have to go with Robert Mathis. He has really stepped up this year in the departure of Dwight Freeney and in seven games Mathis already has 11.5 sacks, which ties his career high. If Mathis keeps going at this pace he will break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5 that has stood since 2001. Besides the sacks, Mathis also has caused a safety and is second in the league in forced fumbles with three.
Up Next: Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, MVP