AFC Offensive Player of the Year
* Peyton Manning (Broncos QB) is the unanimous selection, as expected, to win Most Valuable Player.
1. Jamaal Charles (Chiefs RB): The MVP candidate carried Kansas City all year as the focal point for defenses. He earned this award, not only in terms of the AFC but Charles should be the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
2. Josh Gordon (Browns WR): A breakout year for a cornerstone franchise player, it didn’t matter what gameplan you had for him.
3. Tom Brady (Patriots QB): This familiar face got the job done again, that’s why he’s a first ballot HOF.
4. Andre Johnson (Texans (WR): This guy’s heart beats as loud as anyone, the ultimate teammate and stud.
AFC West: Jamaal Charles (Chiefs RB)
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning will be this season’s Most Valuable Player. His teammate, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, has had another outstanding season but that offense is loaded with weapons to give him an award unfortunately. The thing is, there have been two other team leaders within the division that legitimately deserve the recognition. Philip Rivers was reborn under a new regime, returning to Pro Bowl form like we’re accustomed to seeing from him. The Offensive Player of the division is a guy that will get some MVP votes, Jamaal Charles. Charles is another running back to benefit in the Andy Reid offense, the focal point on the ground and through the air. The one-man offense has done it all and then some, and his career yards per carry currently places as the best of all time.
AFC North: Josh Gordon (Browns WR)
You have to appreciate the receivers in this division. A.J. Green is about as talented as they come, and he brought the production again this year with ten touchdowns. That’s definitely a target you want for your quarterback, he makes freak plays out of thin air. Then you have Antonio Brown running all over the field in a Steelers uniform. The deep threat is really turning into an all-around receiver, plus he returns punts with the ability to score any time he touches the ball. Those wide outs have had stability at the quarterback position, which is why the nod should go to Josh Gordon. Cleveland looked to be improved at the beginning of the year, and they were better more competitive than the record suggests. Gordon kept balling out regardless of who was throwing the ball, and he persevered through a trio of signal callers. He leads the NFL in receiving yards even after sitting out the first couple games because of suspension, a monster was created as he carried the offense with a handful of triple-digit games and a pair of 200-yard performances. For the record, these three studs placed in the top four in receiving yards.
AFC East: Tom Brady (Patriots QB)
There has been flashes from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and receiver Mike Wallace of the Dolphins, those are young players on the rise. Buffalo has leaned on both running backs, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, and both have had their moments throughout the season. The constant leader that does more with less is still quarterback Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer lost targets Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez in the offseason, and only got to throw to Rob Gronkowski for seven games. He only had Shane Vereen for half the season, yet he strings together wins with a revolving door at wide receiver. Rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have missed games to injury and being outright benched, Danny Amendola missed a few games, so he used Julian Edelman with rotating running backs and tight ends. Brady is still the man despite losing one of his bookend tackles, he’s simply a winner that ranked sixth in passing and scoring.
AFC South: Andre Johnson (Texans WR)
It would probably have been Reggie Wayne if he didn’t go down to a season-ending injury. The Colts struggled to produce offensively since then, including quarterback Andrew Luck. Houston had a disastrous season and will be at the top of the draft. Jacksonville went defeated in the first half of the season, they did close out better but it wasn’t pretty. Running Back Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t have much of a supporting cast, maybe his workload and age caught up too, and receiver Justin Blackmon only played a few games before getting suspended again. So almost by default, Chris Johnson was supposed to be the catalyst for Tennessee, he might have suffered the same things MJD did. It was one of the worst divisions, especially in terms of offense, but a positive here is that receiver Kendall Wright broke out this season. He didn’t do enough to beat out Andre Johnson, who still posted over 1300 yards with five scores despite playing with a few different quarterbacks under center. The veteran was the lone bright spot for the Texans offense with the fifth most yards of receivers, performing just a notch below Josh Gordon in a similar situation.