NFC First-Half Pro Bowlers
With the first eight weeks in the books, we are now roughly halfway through the 2009 NFL season.
I decided to set out and determine what the NFC Pro Bowl team would look like if the season ended today. My selections are based on the players having the most impressive seasons so far at the positions of quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and tight end.
There were some tough decisions, and some great players were left off the list.
I'm sure some mainstream fans will scoff at some of these selections, but I feel that the players having the best seasons are the ones that make the team, regardless of their national exposure or their popularity.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers
Seven games: 1,989 yards, 14 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
His numbers are very similar to Drew Brees. He has two less touchdowns, but four less interceptions and a better QB rating. Add to that the fact that he's playing behind a swiss cheese offensive line and you can see why he gets the nod over two worthy quarterbacks.
Quarterback: Honorable Mentions
Drew Brees (Seven Games: 2,006 yards, 16 touchdowns, 6 interceptions)
Brett Favre (Eight Games: 1,925 Yards, 16 touchdowns, 3 interceptions)
Wide Receiver: Marques Colston
Seven games: 36 receptions, 551 yards, 6 touchdowns
Drew Brees loves to spread the ball around to all of his receivers. But the one player he consistently looks to in the big spots is Colston, who is putting together another huge year. At this pace, he should make his first Pro Bowl.
Wide Receiver: Roddy White
Seven games: 37 receptions, 543 yards, 6 touchdowns
Rowdy Roddy is one of the most underrated receivers in the league, despite being one of the top ones each of the past two years. Matt Ryan to Roddy White is one of the best combinations in the league.
Wide Receiver: Miles Austin
Seven games: 26 receptions, 563 yards, 6 touchdowns
A starter for only three weeks, Miles Austin has exploded onto the scene. In his first start, he produced 250 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. He is the reason the Cowboys could be the team no one wants to face in the playoffs.
Wide Receiver: Honorable Mentions
Larry Fitzgerald (7 games: 47 receptions, 509 yards, 5 touchdowns)
Steve Smith (NYG) (8 games: 53 receptions, 662 yards, 4 touchdowns)
DeSean Jackson (7 games: 24 receptions, 501 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Sidney Rice (8 games: 37 receptions, 585 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Donald Driver (7 Games: 33 receptions, 542 yards, 3 touchdowns)
Running Back: Steven Jackson
Eight games: 165 carries, 784 yards, 1 touchdown
Yes, Steven Jackson, not Adrian Peterson, has been the most impressive NFC running back thus far.
Both players have an identical 784 rushing yards and 4.8 yards per carry. But the fact that Jackson has managed to be atop the NFC in rushing yards on a team with zero other offensive weapons is unbelievable. Opposing teams know to key on stopping Jackson, and the Rams are playing from behind most of the time, yet Jackson has still managed to average 98 yards per game through eight games.
Jackson has only managed one touchdown, but that is mostly the fault of his team's putrid offense. It's a shame that his performance is lost in the misery of the Rams' season, because he is simply having a fantastic year.
Running Back: Adrian Peterson
Eight games: 163 carries, 784 yards, 9 touchdowns
The most talented running back in the game, and I don't think there's much of an argument. Peterson combines finesse with power better than any current player in the league. If I could have any running back to build a team around, it would be Peterson.
Also, he got to hang out with Kristen Bell.
Running Back: Honorable Mentions
DeAngelo Williams (7 games: 128 carries, 619 yards, 5 touchdowns)
Michael Turner (7 Games, 138 carries, 554 yards, 8 touchdowns)
Tight End: Vernon Davis
Seven games: 32 receptions, 375 yards, 7 touchdowns
Leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns with seven in as many games. The former first-round pick has shed his bust label with an outstanding first half. He is also considered a great blocker, and was named a Pro Bowl alternate last season, despite limited offensive production for this reason.
Tight End: Honorable Mention
Brent Celek (7 games: 37 receptions, 447 yards, 3 touchdowns)
Special Bonus: AFC Pro Bowlers!
Peyton Manning (7 games: 2,227 yards, 15 touchdowns, 4 interceptions)
Reggie Wayne (7 games: 51 receptions 689 yards, 6 touchdowns)
Andre Johnson (8 games: 44 receptions, 697 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Vincent Jackson (7 games: 37 receptions, 664 yards, 5 touchdowns)
Maurice Jones-Drew (7 games: 116 carries, 640 yards, 10 touchdowns)
Chris Johnson (7 games: 119 carries, 824 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Owen Daniels (8 games: 40 receptions, 519 yards, 4 touchdowns)