Michael Vick deserves it, but Tom Brady is the NFL's MVP. Vick has been the most dynamic and exciting player in the NFL, and although he hasn't started every game this year, no one has had more of an impact on the success of his team than Vick. In just eleven games he has thrown for 20 touchdowns and run for eight more. Could you imagine if he played every game? That is what Tom Brady has done as he has absolutely wrecked every opposing defense for the last six weeks and should approach 40 touchdown passes. He has led the Patriots to what seems to be a sure division title and is the front runner for the NFL. I am not taking anything away from Brady, but I think that Vick has had much more of an impact on his team. No one expected the Eagles to compete for home field throughout the playoffs, and Vick has made it happen. He is truly the most valuable player.
Tampa Bay's Mike Williams wins Offensive Rookie of the Year. Jahvid Best came out of the gate like a house of fire but turf toe derailed his season. It was a bum ankle that cost Ryan Mathews his chance at the award. And just when it seemed he had it all wrapped up, Dez Bryant broke his collarbone, ending his rookie season. However, it has been Williams who has been a consistent force for the Buccaneers all season long. With two games to go he is nearly a lock for 1,000 receiving yards and has a good chance at having 70 catches and ten touchdowns. A lot was expected from Williams in his first year in the league and he came through and should take home the hardward.
Terrell Owens is the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Michael Vick is a shoe in for this one, but since we already included him in the MVP talk, we will take our second selection for this category. After his season in Buffalo and the length of time it took him to find a job, I don't think many would have predicted this kind of year out of Owens. The Bengals were horrible, he wasn't the main man on the team, and Carson Palmer looked like a shell of his former self. However, even with missing the last two games due to injury, Owens still had nine touchdowns and fell just short of 1,000 receiving yards. He became a big play threat again in 2010 with 15 plays of over 20 yards. His time in Cincinnati is all but over, but the Bengals' fans have to give him a standing ovation for the effort he put in this season.
Clay Matthews of the Packers is the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. A third generation NFL player, Matthews has terrorized quarterbacks and ball carriers throughout the season and already has 13.5 sacks on the season, with an interception and a forced fumble and a touchdown. His engine never quits and he is a madman chasing the quarterback. Matthews has changed the way that the offensive line has handled the Packers pass rush. He has a long successful career in front of him and Matthews should be rewarded for his breakout season with the Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris collects NFL Coach of the Year. To me it comes down to Todd Haley of Kansas City, Lovie Smith in Chicago, and Morris. All three have done fantastic jobs with their teams, but I am going to give it to Morris because I think he had the lowest expectations this year and got the most out of his guys. Their schedule was favorable for them to win a bunch of games, but this team showed a ton of heart and they definitely took on the personality of their coach. I also think that the other two candidates have more talent not only on the field, but also at offensive and defensive coordinator. Morris kept his team believing in themselves all year long by proclaiming them the best team in the NFC and they clearly bought in. I'm not sure I believe that Tampa will be as successful in 2011, but this year so much of their success can be attributed to their inspirational head coach.
Peyton Manning gets hot and leads the Colts to the AFC Championship Game. This is the first year in a long time that the Colts aren't coasting into the playoffs and resting their players ahead of time, and I think that it suits Peyton Manning just fine. The offense has certainly had its share of injuries, but Indianapolis has still found a way and with two weeks to go is right in the thick of the playoff race. I completely expect them to win their last two games, win the division and go deep into the playoffs. Not sure if they will take it all the way to the Super Bowl this year, but the Conference Title game should be in their future and at that point anything is possible.
The Atlanta Falcons will not go to the Super Bowl. Outside of a game against the Saints in the beginning of the year when they were struggling and the Baltimore Ravens, the Falcons haven't exactly instilled a lot of confidence in me from beating quality teams. They did also beat Green Bay, but they are not a powerhouse, and their two losses came from the other playoff teams they faced in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. They absolutely have to hope that they hold on to the home field advantage because I think they stand little chance against a team like Philadelphia or even Chicago if they have to play a game outside in cold weather. I like Matt Ryan and Roddy White, but the Falcons don't strike me as a team that is going to thrive in the playoffs and if you get a physical team, which the NFC is loaded with, Atlanta could take one in the mouth and not get up to answer the bell.
The New York Jets will lose their first playoff game. They have had a great season, and I know that they just beat the Steelers on the road which was a huge win. However, the Jets have struggled too much on offense and the defense isn't quite as staunch as it was last season. Mark Sanchez is still very turnover prone and I worry about him when it comes to playoff time. The Chargers or Colts could be the team they play in the first round of the playoffs as a wild card, and I don't like New York's chances against either team. It could be Kansas City or Jacksonville which gives them a much better chance, but I am saying that they will not get out of the first round.
The Chicago Bears will go to the NFC Championship Game. People have been disrespecting the Bears and their accomplishments all season long, but they do the two things that help you win playoff football and that is running the football and defense. Matt Forte and Chester Taylor have turned into a pretty decent one-two punch and the defense is playing impressively right now. They also have a pretty good home field advantage at Soldier Field, and if they can win their last two regular season games there is a chance the road to the Super Bowl will go through the Windy City. I think they get bumped in the NFC Title game, but I do think that they will ride the wave to that game.
The Packers and Chiefs will miss the playoffs. The Chiefs have been leading the AFC West for most of the season, but with two weeks left the Chargers are right on their heels. Not helping matters is the Chargers face the Bengals and the Broncos to end the season, two teams who have clearly given up. If the Chiefs lose one of their final two games they could clearly be getting early tee times. Green Bay has to beat the Giants and get help, and I don't think that is going to happen. Losing Aaron Rodgers couldn't have come at a worse time and I think it is going to cost them a trip to the playoffs.
You can email me any time at email@example.com for any questions, advice, etc. I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Listen to the Fantasy Alarm Show Tuesday Night at 9:30pm EST, Friday at 9:00pm EST, and the Sunday Morning Kickoff Show at 11:30am EST right up until kickoff.