Bleacher Report's Midseason NFL Awards

Michael SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterOctober 30, 2013

Bleacher Report's Midseason NFL Awards

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    Think you know something about the NFL? Just wait a few weeks!

    That's the storyline of the 2013 NFL season thus far, where things feel like they've been turned upside down and inside out a number of times already this season.

    Think back to when the Jay Cutler-led Chicago Bears were a powerhouse team to be reckoned with, or when the New York Jets were a punchline and then a surprise team (and now potentially a punchline again following a huge loss to the Cincinnati Bengals). Remember when the Miami Dolphins were supposed to challenge for the AFC East crown?

    The NFL season, with all of its ups and downs, is a drama-filled roller coaster that fans love. It also makes predicting the key postseason awards a bit of an educated guessing game. Here at Bleacher Report, we took a stab at them in the preseason and are ready to do so again through eight weeks to see what we got right and where we went laughably wrong. 

    Click ahead for our predictions and then leave yours in the comments below!

     

    Voters

    Michael Schottey: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Matt Bowen: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Mike Freeman: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Ty Schalter: National Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Matt Miller: National Lead NFL Draft Writer (Twitter)

    Erik Frenz: AFC East Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Andrea Hangst: AFC North Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Chris Hansen: AFC West Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Knox Bardeen: NFC South Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Brad Gagnon: NFC East Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Tyson Langland: NFC West Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

    Zach Kruse: NFC North Lead NFL Writer (Twitter)

Most Valuable Player

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    Preseason Pick: Tom Brady (QB New England Patriots)/Aaron Rodgers (QB Green Bay Packers)

    Midseason Pick: Peyton Manning (QB Denver Broncos)—11 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "I mean, have you watched Peyton Manning play?"—Michael Schottey

    "When making this pick in the preseason, the idea was that Brady would elevate the play of those around him. That hasn't happened quite as scripted, but Peyton Manning has been torching defenses all season long and is on pace to break almost every single-season record Brady once set back in 2007."—Erik Frenz

    "Aaron Rodgers hasn't been bad, but boy oh boy has Peyton Manning been superb. This award can only go to one guy in the NFL, and that's Manning, who's 10 touchdown passes ahead of his nearest competitor."—Knox Bardeen

    "The original thought with Brady was that he'd make a ragtag collection of receivers look like All-Pros right away. That hasn't been the case early on. Manning has been the obvious MVP."—Zach Kruse

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Brady—1 Vote

Offensive Player of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: Aaron Rodgers (QB Green Bay Packers)

    Midseason Pick: Peyton Manning (QB Denver Broncos)—11 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Even as he comes back to earth just a little bit, Manning's been too dominant for this thing to go to anyone else."—Brad Gagnon

    "I thought Brady could overcome, but it's Manning who has done his best to end the debate about these two."—Michael Schottey

    "Brees is playing good football for the first-place Saints, but how can anyone pick against Peyton at this point? His numbers are ridiculous."—Matt Bowen

    "Sorry, AD, but the reigning king of offense in the NFL right now is Peyton Manning."—Andrea Hangst

      

    Also Receiving Votes: Jamaal Charles (RB Kansas City Chiefs)—1 Vote

Defensive Player of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: J.J. Watt (DE Houston Texans)

    Midseason Pick: Watt—8 Votes

     

    Why We're Sticking With the Pick

    "The disruptive J.J. Watt is playing light years beyond any other defensive player in the NFL. He's stopping the run and getting after quarterbacks and is the lone bright spot on a disappointing Texans defense."—Andrea Hangst

    "The most complete pass-rusher in football today."—Mike Freeman

    "He doesn't have the gaudy numbers or hype of last season, but Watt is still playing lights-out football for a team that doesn't seem to have a fraction of his passion or intensity."—Michael Schottey

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Robert Quinn (DE St. Louis Rams)—1 Vote; Robert Mathis (OLB Indianapolis Colts)—1 Vote; Justin Houston (OLB Kansas City Chiefs)—1 Vote; Tamba Hali (OLB Kansas City Chiefs)—1 Vote

Rookie of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: EJ Manuel (QB Buffalo Bills)/Tavon Austin (WR St. Louis Rams)

    Midseason Pick: Eddie Lacy (RB Green Bay Packers)—5 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Lacy has reshaped the Packers running game and is now a key player in the game plan with the injuries Green Bay has at the offensive skill positions. An easy switch for me with Manuel on the shelf with a knee injury."—Matt Bowen

    "It's been such a long time since the Green Bay Packers have had a guy who they could just hand the rock to and kill the clock while still churning yardage. That guy is rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Not only is he just what the doctor ordered in late-game situations with the lead, he's a top-10 running back in regard to yards per game (74.3)."—Knox Bardeen

    "Thanks in part to misuse, Austin hasn't had the kind of impact many envisioned. Lacy, on the other hand, has been everything the Packers thought and more. He's finally provided Green Bay with a competent running game."—Zach Kruse 

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Geno Smith (QB New York Jets)—4 Votes; Giovani Bernard (RB Cincinnati Bengals)—1 Vote; Sheldon Richardson (DE New York Jets)—1 Vote; Terrance Williams (WR Dallas Cowboys)—1 Vote

Offensive Rookie of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: Tavon Austin (WR St. Louis Rams)

    Midseason Pick: Eddie Lacy (RB Green Bay Packers)—4 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Aaron Rodgers is still the engine, but Lacy gives the Packers a running threat they have not had in some time."—Mike Freeman

    "The Packers have won games this year on rushing and defense. That doesn't happen without Lacy, and it may be just what this team needs to get back to the Super Bowl at the end of the season. That was unthinkable before he hit the field this season."—Michael Schottey

    "If the Green Bay Packers hadn't been crushed by injuries along the offense, this team might be in the same boat as the Denver Broncos—with a clear path to the Super Bowl. A lot of that has to do with the emergence of Eddie Lacy to balance an offensive attack that used to just feature an aerial assault."—Knox Bardeen

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Geno Smith (QB New York Jets)—3 votes; Giovani Bernard (RB Cincinnati Bengals)—3 Vote; Terrance Williams (WR Dallas Cowboys)—2 Vote

Defensive Rookie of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: Jarvis Jones (OLB Pittsburgh Steelers)

    Midseason Pick: Kiko Alonso (MLB Buffalo Bills)—11 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Kiko Alonso has been the dynamic splash playmaker I thought Jarvis Jones would be, except Alonso's also been a solid every-down 'backer."—Ty Schalter

    "Alec Ogletree has played OK at times, but Kiko Alonso has taken the league by storm. Through eight games, Alonso has 81 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and four interceptions. He's not only making a case for DROY; he's making a case for DPOY."—Tyson Langland

    "So many rookies have played great on defense, but Jarvis Jones isn't one of them. Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro and Sheldon Richardson have all been exceptional, but Kiko Alonso stands out from the pack."—Matt Miller

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Sheldon Richardson (DE New York Jets)—1 Vote

Coach of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints)

    Midseason Pick: Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs)—10 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Tomlin is a massive dose of fail this year. Reid has done one of the best coaching jobs of the past 10 years."—Mike Freeman

    "My initial pick of Rob Chudzinski wasn't a bad one. Chud held together the Cleveland Browns after trading Trent Richardson, and the Browns are 3-5 with three different starting quarterbacks to date. Andy Reid has a 2-14 team from a year ago undefeated without much of a contribution from No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, who is almost certainly Kansas City's worst starter."—Chris Hansen

    "The dude is orchestrating one of the most unbelievable turnarounds I've ever seen."—Brad Gagnon

    "The Chiefs undefeated halfway through the season? Ohh-Yeah!" *crashes through wall*"—Michael Schottey 

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Payton—2 Votes

Comeback Player of the Year

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    Preseason Pick: Darrelle Revis (CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

    Midseason Pick: Revis—8 Votes

     

    Why We're Sticking With the Pick

    "Who would have thought Darrelle Revis would come back stronger than ever? Even on an 0-7 team, he is still playing like the second-best cornerback in the NFL."—Tyson Langland

    "Although he's stuck in Tampa, where he hasn't been utilized very well, Revis has still been one of the best corners in football. I didn't expect him to reacclimate himself that quickly."—Brad Gagnon

    "I didn't believe in Revis before the season because I didn't know how he'd handle the return from injury as well as the new climate in Tampa. He's been a rock for a that defense, which has failed around him."—Michael Schottey

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Alex Smith (QB Kansas City Chiefs)—2 Votes; Brian Orakpo (OLB Washington Redskins)—1 Vote; Brent Grimes (CB Miami Dolphins)—1 Vote

Top Quarterback

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    Preseason Pick: Aaron Rodgers (QB Green Bay Packers)

    Midseason Pick: Peyton Manning (QB Denver Broncos)—12 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Peyton Manning is winning this track meet at quarterback, and it's not even terribly close right now. He's making the most out of his talent and the talent around him."—Knox Bardeen

    "Manning should be a unanimous choice at quarterback."—Zach Kruse

    "Aaron Rodgers isn't far behind Manning, but he's definitely not carving up defenses like No. 18 has been."—Matt Miller

Top Running Back

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    Preseason Pick: Adrian Peterson (RB Minnesota Vikings)

    Midseason Pick: Peterson/LeSean McCoy (RB Philadelphia Eagles)—5 Votes Each

     

    Why We Split the Vote

    "Every time I watch the Eagles play I am reminded of why McCoy is one of the league's top backs. An ideal fit for Chip Kelly's system, McCoy continues to be a major issue for NFL defenses."—Matt Bowen 

    "Peterson is still putting up good numbers despite having garbage at QB all season."—Mike Freeman

    "Adrian Peterson is mired in the swamp that is the Vikings offense, while LeSean McCoy is the motive power of the Eagles. He has 4.7 yards per carry and is the cause of an incredible 28 missed tackles; no one in the NFL is running better."—Andrea Hangst

    "The question isn't who has the best rushing numbers right now; it's who the best running back is. When I look at Peterson behind that terrible offensive line and with no passing game to push a safety out of the box, I feel for him. He's still the gold standard."—Michael Schottey

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Jamaal Charles (RB Kansas City Chiefs)—2 Votes

Top Wide Receiver

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    Preseason Pick: Calvin Johnson (WR Detroit Lions)

    Midseason Pick: Johnson—9 Votes

     

    Why We're Sticking with the Pick

    "You win when you have over 300 yards receiving in a single game."—Mike Freeman

    "The injury bug hit me here like it hit my fantasy team with (Atlanta Falcons wideout) Julio Jones going down. Johnson is an easy alternative."—Erik Frenz

    "No receiver takes over a game like Megatron. He commands special coverages on each snap and still dominates."—Michael Schottey

     

    Also Receiving Votes: A.J. Green (WR Cincinnati Bengals)—3 Votes

Top Tight End

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    Preseason Pick: Jimmy Graham (TE New Orleans Saints)

    Midseason Pick: Graham—12 Votes

     

    Why We're Sticking with the Pick

    "Despite missing a game, Graham is on pace to have the most prolific season a tight end has ever had."—Brad Gagnon

    "Just a dominating season."—Mike Freeman

    "Graham was my vote before the season as well, but I didn't see this coming. He's absolutely uncoverable. Is 'uncoverable' a word? If not, it should be, just because of Jimmy Graham. He's good enough to change the dictionary."—Michael Schottey

Top Offensive Lineman

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    Preseason Pick: Duane Brown (OT Houston Texans)

    Midseason Pick: Nate Solder (OT New England Patriots)—9 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Solder's development is showing up on tape in New England in both the run and pass game. Looks like a top player at the position. "—Matt Bowen

    "Injury has kept Duane Brown from realizing his preseason ranking, while Nate Solder has been rock solid protecting Tom Brady and opening rushing lanes in New England."—Matt Miller

    "My former pick, Ryan Clady, was placed on season-ending IR, while Solder has been rock solid protecting Tom Brady's blindside."—Zach Kruse

    "There isn't a left tackle in the game that's shined in both pass protection and run-blocking like Nate Solder."—Knox Bardeen

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Mike Pouncey (OC Miami Dolphins)—1 Vote; Joe Thomas (OT Cleveland Browns)—1 Vote; Joe Staley (OT San Francisco 49ers)—1 Vote

Top Defensive Lineman

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    Preseason Pick: J.J. Watt (DE Houston Texans)

    Midseason Pick: Watt—10 Votes

     

    Why We're Sticking with the Pick

    "Just look at that picture, and you'll realize what he means to the Houston Texans and how his intensity consistently matches his talent."—Michael Schottey

    "Watt plays hard, is physical and continues to justify his place as the top defensive end in the game."—Matt Bowen 

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Robert Quinn (DE St. Louis Rams)—2 Votes

Top Linebacker

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    Preseason Pick: Luke Kuechly (MLB Carolina Panthers)

    Midseason Pick: Justin Houston (OLB Kansas City Chiefs)—5 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Credit the guys who saw this coming in the preseason. Houston has been a monster off the edge. Were it not for injuries, Patrick Willis would still be in this spot."—Matt Miller

    "That entire Kansas City defense is on fire, and Houston has been its best player."—Brad Gagnon

    "Bobby Wagner's season got off to a slow start after a couple of less-than-impressive performances in Weeks 1 and 2. On the flip side of things, Justin Houston doesn't know what a subpar performance is. He has been spectacular through the first eight games of the season. Houston has amassed 11 sacks, six quarterback hits and 28 quarterback hurries."—Tyson Langland

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Robert Mathis (OLB Indianapolis Colts)—3 Votes; Kuechly—3 Votes; Tamba Hali (OLB Kansas City Chiefs)—1 Votes

Best Defensive Back

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    Preseason Pick: Richard Sherman (CB Seattle Seahawks)

    Midseason Pick: Sherman—8 Votes

     

    Why We're Sticking with the Pick

    "He talks the talk and walks the walk. Sherman leads the 'Legion of Boom' with swagger that he's earned as the top cornerback in the game."—Michael Schottey

    "Patrick Peterson's been good, but Sherman still has a clear edge at corner. Darrelle Revis, Earl Thomas and Eric Berry are right there too."—Brad Gagnon

    "The injury bug bit another one, as Charles Tillman's been slowed with knee trouble all season. Sherman's been outstanding as usual."—Ty Schalter 

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Darrelle Revis (CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers)—2 Votes; Earl Thomas (S Seattle Seahawks)—1 Vote; Alterraun Verner (CB Tennessee Titans)—1 Vote

Best Special Teamer

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    Preseason Pick: Patrick Peterson (CB/KR Arizona Cardinals)

    Midseason Pick: Trindon Holliday (CB/KR Denver Broncos)—8 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown last week, but he isn't the threat he used to be earlier in his career. Holiday has a legit chance to bust a return every time he touches the ball."—Matt Bowen

    "The only NFL player with a touchdown on both a punt return and a kick return. This was an easy pick."—Erik Frenz

    "Trindon Holliday has both a kick and punt return for a touchdown and is a threat to go the length of the field every time he touches the ball."—Knox Bardeen 

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Shaun Suisham (K Pittsburgh Steelers)—1 Vote; Matt Prater (K Denver Broncos)—1 Vote; Cordarrelle Patterson (KR/WR Minnesota Vikings)—1 Vote; Devin Hester (KR Chicago Bears)—1 Vote

Biggest Disappointment

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    Preseason Pick: Mike Wallace (WR Miami Dolphins)/Joe Flacco (QB Baltimore Ravens)

    Midseason Pick: Eli Manning (QB New York Giants)—6 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "With 10 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, a 55.7 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 68.4, this is not the Eli Manning of years past. Though his receivers have dropped 19 passes, there's no excuse for how completely awful this tested veteran has been so far this year."—Andrea Hangst

    "Joe Flacco has been a major disappointment, but Eli Manning has been a bigger disappointment."—Chris Hansen

    "Eli Manning has some legitimate excuses, but he's supposed to elevate the play of those around him. He hasn't done that. Tom Brady, Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco would kill for his 'excuses.'"—Michael Schottey 

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Wallace—3 Votes; Josh Freeman (QB Minnesota Vikings)—2 Votes; Flacco—1 Vote

Biggest Rookie Bust

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    Preseason Pick: Geno Smith (QB New York Jets)

    Midseason Pick: Eric Fisher (OT Kansas City Chiefs)—9 Votes

     

    Why We Switched:

    "Smith has surprised me with his poise and ability in New York, while Fisher is finding out that the NFL is much tougher than playing in the Mid-American Conference."—Matt Bowen

    "Geno Smith is handling his job far better than anyone anticipated this year. Eric Fisher, the 2013 draft's No. 1 overall pick? Not so much. Fisher is the biggest disappointment on an undefeated Chiefs team, and he's helping neither the passing game nor the running game."—Andrea Hangst

    "Ziggy Ansah hasn't been great, but he's far from the NFL's biggest rookie bust at the halfway point. That award belongs to Eric Fisher. Fisher has allowed three quarterback sacks, three quarterback hits and 16 quarterback hurries."—Tyson Langland

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Dion Jordan (DE Miami Dolphins)—3 Votes

Biggest Surprise Team

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    Preseason Pick: Cleveland Browns

    Midseason Pick: Kansas City Chiefs—12 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "Um, yeah, Kansas City. Whoever had the Chiefs winning every game, raise your hand."—Mike Freeman

    "No one could have expected the Chiefs to be THIS good."—Chris Hansen

    "Every offseason radio spot I did asked for a surprise team. I always said the Chiefs. I thought I was ready. I wasn't ready for this."—Michael Schottey

Biggest Disappointment Team

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    Preseason Pick: Indianapolis Colts/Baltimore Ravens

    Midseason Pick: New York Giants—9 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "I couldn't have been much more wrong about the Colts, but I saw the Vikings' funeral coming from a long way out. The Giants could have been a contender in a shockingly weak NFC East if they hadn't, you know, been a complete goat rodeo."—Ty Schalter

    "What in the heck is a goat rodeo?"—Michael Schottey

    "I underestimated Andrew Luck, which was clearly very stupid. The Colts have had a few ugly games, but the New York Giants have had all ugly games. Before the start of the season, the Giants were expected to be the class of the NFC East."—Chris Hansen

    "Ouch. The Colts are legit Super Bowl contenders in the AFC. Few could have envisioned the Giants starting this badly."—Zach Kruse

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Houston Texans—2 Votes; Atlanta Falcons—1 Vote

Best Team

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    Preseason Pick: Atlanta Falcons/New England Patriots/San Francisco 49ers/Seattle Seahawks/Pittsburgh Steelers

    Midseason Pick: Denver Broncos—8 Votes

     

    Why We Switched

    "It's hard to go 16-0, but the Broncos have a chance to go 18-1 and do it the right way."—Frenz

    "The Seahawks aren't too far behind the Denver Broncos, but there's just more juggernaut potential out of the Peyton Manning-led team."—Andrea Hangst

    "The Steelers have hurt me in so many ways this year. Looking ahead, the Broncos have a chance to win every game the rest of the way."—Matt Miller

    "Before the season, I had the utmost faith in both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers—that faith was apparently misplaced. Peyton Manning has this Broncos team playing fantastic football in spite of many shortcomings. With all due respect to the Chiefs, the Broncos are the best team in the AFC West and in all of football."—Michael Schottey

     

    Also Receiving Votes: Kansas City Chiefs—2 Votes; Seattle Seahawks—1 Vote; New Orleans Saints—1 Vote

     

    Michael Schottey is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route and follow him on Twitter.