The NFL enters Week 9 on Thursday, so it’s time to look back at the first half of the season and hand out some (imaginary) hardware to the league’s best performers.
Here are our picks for the NFL awards at the midway point in the season.
MVP: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Tom Brady has been the best player in the league this season, but the Raiders have been so bad defensively and play in such a tougher division, they wouldn’t be anywhere close to 6-2 without the consistently strong play of Carr.
Carr has thrown for 2,321 yards with 17 touchdown passes and just three interceptions, along with a 100.9 quarterback rating. The Raiders commit a lot of penalties and give up a lot of points, which has made Carr’s job a lot harder than it should be. He’s responded as well as Oakland could have hoped.
Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick
Belichick went 3-1 without Brady, and one of those wins was with a third-string rookie quarterback against a division leader. No coach finds more ways to win against quality opponents than Belichick. The Patriots, at a league-best 7-1, have the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson is on pace for more than 2,000 total yards. As a rusher, he’s totaled 705 yards (4.5 per carry) and eight touchdowns, while totaling 35 receptions for 407 yards as a receiver. He’s the 2016 version of Marshall Faulk with his dual-threat ability.
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos
Miller still is the best player on one of the league’s best defenses. He ranks second with 8.5 sacks and his 24 tackles are just six behind his total from last season. He demands constant double teams from opponents and wreaks havoc as a pass rusher every game. Signing a massive contract extension in the offseason hasn’t hurt his motivation or work ethic one bit.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott leads all running backs with 799 rushing yards and his seven touchdowns rank third at the position. He’s almost certainly going to win this award unless he gets injured.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers
Bosa missed the first four games of the season, but he’s been a terror for opposing offenses as a pass rusher. He’s tallied four sacks and 11 tackles in four games.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images