NFL Predictions: Week 10 Awards Watch

Russell S. Baxter@@BaxFootballGuruContributor INovember 6, 2013

NFL Predictions: Week 10 Awards Watch

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    Tamba Hali and the Kansas City Chiefs are having a ball in 2013.
    Tamba Hali and the Kansas City Chiefs are having a ball in 2013.Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    It has been a rough week for at least a pair of star players in the NFL.

    The Cincinnati Bengals will be without two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the remainder of the season. And on Monday night, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured and according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, we are not quite sure when we will see the prolific passer again.

    That’s some of the bad news. The good news is that we are back with our look at forecasting the league’s seven individual awards. Hey, everyone gets an off week.

    Now let’s get back to those players and coaches who are on their game.

Most Valuable Player: QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    We’re about to find out what’s better: Peyton Manning or a well-rested Peyton Manning?

    The Denver Broncos return to action following their off week and it will be interesting to see how the veteran signal-caller performs when his team square off against the San Diego Chargers.

    In his last outing, a 45-21 victory over the Washington Redskins, Manning threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns. But the prolific passer was also picked off three times, equaling his total from the first seven games of the season.

    Considering the fact that the Denver Broncos have already given up 218 points in eight games this season, they need all the good Manning they can get. And it is safe to say that he has delivered in unprecedented fashion.

    With defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio taking over as interim head coach while John Fox recovers from surgery, Manning may be upping that most valuable label even more over the next few weeks.

    In The Discussion

    2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

    3. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

    4. QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

    5. QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    In case you are keeping track, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s 29 touchdown passes puts him 21 short of the NFL record set by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (50) in 2007.

    After eight games that season, Brady had thrown for 30 scores, three or more in each of those contests.

    So will Manning wind up with the record? It’s hard to believe that it is his focus, but it’s interesting to look where he stands halfway through the season.

    As for some of the other candidates, it’s safe to say New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham makes a difference when it comes to his team. He has hauled in 10 of quarterback Drew Brees’ 21 touchdown passes this season.

    Elsewhere, Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green has totaled 100 or more yards receiving in four straight games, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers leads the NFL in completion percentage (72.2 percent) and Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is first in the league in total yards from scrimmage.

    In The Discussion

    2. TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

    3. WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

    4. QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

    5. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Defensive Player of the Year: OLB Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    It’s pretty interesting to note that while we are in this quarterback-driven era of the NFL that so many defensive players have taken a turn at being the best in the business in this poll.

    And since Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali took matters into his own hands on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, it is his turn to take over the top spot on this list.

    Hali becomes the third different Chiefs player to be the perceived front-runner for this honor. Both Justin Houston and Eric Berry have gotten mention here as well.

    This season, Hali has totaled 30 tackles (26 solo), 9.0 sacks, forced four fumbles and has returned both an interception and a fumble for touchdowns. And according to the fine folks at Pro Football Focus (subscription required), he leads the league with 43 quarterback hurries as well.

    Not a bad resume with seven games to go in 2013.

    In The Discussion

    2. DE Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets

    3. LB Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs

    4. OLB Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts

    5. OLB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens

Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    In a league and a world where we tend to focus on what have you done for me lately, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has been as hot as they come as of late.

    The second-round pick in April not only leads all rookies with 596 yards rushing this season, he now ranks eighth in the league in that category.

    The vast majority of Lacy’s work has come in the last five games. Over that span, he’s carried the ball at least 22 times in each contest and rolled up 545 yards and three touchdowns in the process. In Monday night’s 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears, Lacy totaled a season-high 150 yards on the ground.

    With the uncertainty surrounding injured Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the rookie performer may become an even bigger part of the Green Bay attack in the coming weeks.

    In The Discussion

    2. RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

    3. QB Geno Smith, New York Jets

    4. WR Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

    5. TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Defensive Rookie of the Year: DT Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

    All season, the top spot here has been owned by Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Kiko Alonso and with a lot of good reasons.

    The team’s second of two second-round picks back in April has enjoyed a banner year.

    But it’s time for a change, and there’s little doubt that the team’s success has a big say in the matter.

    The New York Jets defense ranks seventh in the league in total yards allowed and no team in the NFL has given up fewer yards per game on the ground. And the Jets’ first of two first-round picks has been a huge factor in that improvement.

    Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been coming on strong, as has the entire Jets defensive front. The 13th overall pick this spring ranks fifth on the team with 41 stops and has also totaled 2.5 sacks this season.

    We are well aware of Alonso’s numbers. He’s totaled a team-high 89 tackles, has a pair of sacks and is tied for the league lead with four interceptions. But the rookie has cooled off a bit in recent weeks, so we’re taking this opportunity to give Richardson his due.

    Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper deserves a bit of a nod here as well. Released by the San Francisco 49ers this offseason after being a seventh-round selection in April, he’s been a big addition to the Chiefs secondary with a pair of interceptions and an impressive 14 passes defensed.

    In The Discussion

    2. MLB Kiko Alonso, Buffalo Bills

    3. FS Eric Reid, San Francisco 49ers

    4. OLB Alec Ogletree, St. Louis Rams

    5. CB Marcus Cooper, Kansas City Chiefs

Coach of the Year: Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    A year ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were a 2-14 football team and obviously weren’t very good.

    Now the Chiefs are the league’s lone undefeated team at 9-0 and there are those who still don’t think they are very good.

    Who have they played? What about their offense? When will quarterback Alex Smith throw the ball downfield?

    The only question here is…are you kidding?

    The last I checked the Chiefs were looking for a trip to the Super Bowl, not the BCS title game. Winning is winning and head coach Andy Reid has made sure his team has continued to do so. Kansas City heads into its off week guaranteed of a winning season in 2013.

    And Reid will make sure the team doesn’t get ahead of itself. There’s a lot more to be done, especially when five of your final seven games are against divisional foes.

    One final thought. It’s stunning to think that Reid was 4-12 in his final season with the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago and at the same time last season’s Chiefs were winning only two games.

    It’s been pretty nice trading in those Philly cheese steaks for some Kansas City barbecue.

    In The Discussion

    2. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

    3. Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears

    4. Rex Ryan, New York Jets

    5. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

Comeback Player of the Year: MLB Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    So how much of a difference is middle linebacker Sean Lee making on the Dallas Cowboys defense?

    Consider where they may be if the heady defender wasn’t so productive?

    Lee leads his team with 90 tackles. He has also knocked down six passes while returning four interceptions for a total of 174 yards and a touchdown. And yes, only the Philadelphia Eagles have allowed more total yards and more passing yards per game in the league than the Cowboys.

    Lee, who missed the final 10 games of 2012 with a toe injury, will be happy to see a familiar face this week when the team travels to New Orleans to meet the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees. According to owner Jerry Jones, defensive end DeMarcus Ware should be ready this week for this battle of first-place teams.

    And speaking of first place, that’s where Lee currently sits on this list.

    In The Discussion

    2. RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

    3. OLB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens

    4. WR Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers

    5. QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs