MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
This is an article from the Nov. 11, 2013 issue
PRESEASON: TOM BRADY QB, Patriots
MIDSEASON: PEYTON MANNING QB, Broncos
Brady is having one of the worst seasons of his career, Manning just the opposite—he leads the NFL in every major passing category and is threatening multiple league records. Four Broncos WRs are among the top 25 in receptions.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PRESEASON: CHRIS JOHNSON RB, Titans
MIDSEASON: CALVIN JOHNSON WR, Lions
A simple Johnson mixup. Chris is just another guy—his 3.7 yards per carry rank 31st in the NFL—while Calvin's 329 yards in Week 8 against Dallas solidified him as the guy.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PRESEASON: GENO ATKINS DT, Bengals
MIDSEASON: EARL THOMAS FS, Seahawks
Atkins battled with injuries and double teams before going down with an ACL tear last Thursday. Thomas leads a defense that's Top 3 in nearly every category, including No. 1 in takeaways with 21, six of which he had a hand in.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
PRESEASON: EDDIE LACY RB, Packers
Receivers Terrance Williams, DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen are viable candidates, but Lacy has brought balance to Green Bay. The Pack ranks seventh in yards per game after never finishing higher than 14th in the Aaron Rodgers era.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
PRESEASON: TYRANN MATHIEU FS, Cardinals
MIDSEASON: STAR LOTULELEI, DT, Panthers
Talented as Mathieu has proved to be, Lotulelei is front and center in the transformation of Carolina's D, which has gone from allowing 110.1 rushing yards and 22.7 points per game in 2012 to just 79.3 and 13.7 in '13.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PRESEASON: ROBERT GRIFFIN III QB, Redskins
MIDSEASON: ALEX SMITH, QB, Chiefs
As impressive as RG3's quick recovery has been, he only missed (part of) one NFL game. Meanwhile, Smith, having lost his San Francisco starting job with seven games to play in '12, has been √ºberefficient in guiding K.C. to a 9--0 start.
COACH OF THE YEAR
PRESEASON: SEAN PAYTON Saints
MIDSEASON: ANDY REID, Chiefs
Most of New Orleans's improvement has been defensive, and D ain't Payton's thing. Reid has taken a team that was 2--14 a year ago and transformed it into the league's last unbeaten.