While Adrian Peterson's record-threatening recovery is amazing, don't forget about Calvin Johnson's potentially record-breaking season.
The pulse of the NFL season changes weekly. Every Tuesday, SI.com will break down the front-runners for the major NFL awards.
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (last week: 2). He leads the league in rushing and has gone over 100 yards in eight straight games, surpassing 200 on two occasions. His 1,812 yards are 433 more than the closest back and put him on pace to challenge Eric Dickerson's single-season mark. Most remarkable: He's doing this less than a year removed from major reconstructive knee surgery -- on an offense that has been held under 160 yards passing in six of the last eight games, including three under 100.
BURKE: WHICH RECORDS WILL FALL THIS SEASON?
2. Peyton Manning, Broncos (3). He just rolls right along, leading Denver to its ninth consecutive win on Sunday at Baltimore. Overall, he has thrown for 31 scores with 10 interceptions and has a completion percentage of at least 70.0 in eight of his last 11 games.
3. Tom Brady, Patriots (1). The Patriots star showed he was human Sunday, throwing two interceptions and only one touchdown in a loss to San Francisco. Still, his greatness this season can't be ignored. Thirty touchdowns. Six interceptions. A 100.1 rating. Amazing.
Offensive Player of the Year
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions (1). He has seven consecutive games with at least 115 yards receiving and has a chance to break Jerry Rice's league record for a full season. He's doing it despite not have a true complementary threat and a running game that ranks 23rd in the league.
2.Aaron Rodgers, Packers (2). Among qualifying passers, he ranks No. 1 in rating, No. 2 in touchdowns and No. 3 in completion percentage, despite having no consistent running game. He also has the Packers in the hunt for the second seed in the NFC.
3. Brandon Marshall, Bears (NR). The team may be faltering, but Marshall is not. Among receivers, he ranks first in catches, second in yards and is tied for third in touchdowns. His raw emotion after Sunday's loss to the Packers also showed the game is about more than individual success.
Defensive Player of the Year
1. J.J. Watt, Texans (3). The Houston end has rediscovered his mojo over the last four weeks, with eight sacks, eight stuffs, three forced fumbles and four batted passes. Overall he is tied for the league lead with 19.5 sacks and leads all defensive linemen with 15 batted passes.
2. Aldon Smith, 49ers">49ers (1). The second-year outside linebacker has three forced fumbles and is tied for the league lead in sacks, although he was shut out for the first time in eight games on Sunday. He did, however, record the first interception of his career.
3. Von Miller, Broncos (2). He had a quiet Sunday in a win over the Ravens, but he ranks third in the league with 16 sacks and has six forced fumbles with one interception.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
1. Robert Griffin III, Redskins (1). A knee injury prevented him from playing Sunday, but his numbers speak for themselves: He has thrown for 18 scores and only four interceptions, ranks No. 2 among qualified passers with a 104.2 rating, and is fourth among rookie rushers in yards (748) and touchdowns (six).
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (3). He's often overshadowed by his more celebrated classmates, but Wilson has been money in recent weeks. He has thrown for 13 touchdowns with only two picks in his last seven outings; he also has run for more than 70 yards twice during that time, including 92 yards and three TDs on Sunday.
3. Andrew Luck, Colts (2). He leads all rookies in yards passing (3,978) and is second in touchdowns (20), but he also ranks No. 1 with 18 interceptions. He has, however, led the Colts to six wins with game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
1. Bobby Wagner, Seahawks (1). On a defense filled with talented veterans, the middle linebacker is more than making a name for himself by ranking first with 121 tackles. He also has two sacks, three interceptions and four passes defensed.
2. Casey Hayward, Packers (NR). He leads all rookies and is fourth in the league with six interceptions. He also has a forced fumble and 19 passes defensed.
3. Luke Kuechly, Panthers (NR). A starter from Week 1, the middle linebacker leads all rookies in tackles, has a sack, an interception, three fumble recoveries and five passes defensed.
Coach of the Year
1. John Fox, Broncos (3). Yes, people will pooh-pooh his candidacy and attribute much of Denver's nine straight wins to the greatness of Manning. But don't forget he led the Broncos to a division title last season with Tim Tebow at QB, so it ain't all about Manning.
2. Bruce Arians/Chuck Pagano, Colts (1). Yeah, their magic-carpet ride hit turbulence on Sunday, but Indy still is in a position to make the playoffs one year after finishing with the league's worst record -- and despite Pagano missing much of the season to battle cancer.
3. Leslie Frazier, Vikings (NR). I don't know of anyone who picked this team to be a playoff contender in training camp, yet Frazier has taken a three-win squad from 2011 and put them in a position to play past the regular season. \n
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!