Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are neck and neck, but Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are in the rearview. The x-factor is DeMarco Murray, who has run for triple digits in every game thus far for the surprising Cowboys. A couple more at the helm that are trying to switch over to the fast lane are Philip Rivers and Joe Flacco.
Right now Murray has the edge in my book, although I believe Manning is bound for his sixth MVP trophy.
Offensive Player of the Year Watch
Any of the players mentioned in the MVP race are also favorites for Offensive Player of the Year. A couple other players that could join the conversation are LeSean McCoy and Andre Ellington. All these players are the catalysts of winning teams at the mid-season mark.
At the halfway point, my vote goes to Antonio Brown of the Steelers. I think Brown or Murray winds up with this recognition.
Defensive Player of the Year Watch
There are a lot of worthy defenders to be mentioned here, but J.J. Watt is the most dominate player on that side of the ball. The man is sensational and literally does everything to keep the Texans competitive every week. Luke Kuechly is the best linebacker in the game, and DeAndre Levy is the general for the Lions top-ranked defense. Tashaun Gipson has been a stud in the Browns secondary.
Turn down for Watt.
Comeback Player of the Year Watch
I won’t go as far to say that Steve Smith should be considered for comeback player, but Rivers did bounce back to win this last season. Smith’s teammate, tailback Justin Forsett, is another interesting candidate having his best season. Jeremy Maclin has asserted himself as the top target in Philly after missing 2013 with a knee injury. Randall Cobb continues to make plays for the Cheese Heads after only playing in six games a year ago. Malcolm Floyd is back from a neck injury that sidelined him for every game but two, only to post over 20 yards per reception so far. Linebacker Rolando McClain looks great in big D, but he has been shuffled in and out of the lineup.
I give the nod to the NFL’s second leading rusher, Arian Foster, who is averaging triple digits and only played half of last season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Watch
Jerick McKinnon has become the starter in Minnesota with a pair of games over the century mark. Keep an eye on the Rams backfield situation with Tre Mason starting to come on. It’s foggy to tell if Branden Oliver will keep making an impact for the Bolts with Ryan Mathews returning in a couple weeks. There are a few linemen earning rave reviews like Zack Martin in Dallas, Taylor Lewan in Tennessee, and Ja’Waun James in Miami.
All things considered, it looks like Sammy Watkins is in the best position to make an impact with a trio of standout performances and four scores for the Bills so far.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Watch
It seems that corner Kyle Fuller has quickly taken the torch from Charles Tillman in Chicago. A guy that doesn’t pop out on the stat sheet is Khalil Mack, just refer to my eye test watching the Raiders and his outstanding ProFootball Focus grade.
Try catching a few defensive possessions to watch C.J. Mosley in action, he has instantly become an elite inside linebacker for a Ravens D that has allowed the fewest points.