It's about to be Week 16 of the NFL season which means a lot of teams already know they'll be home for the postseason and several teams are fighting for their playoff lives. It also means I'm playing for the chip in one of my fantasy leagues. The other league, I stink, lol. I've got a few issues I wanted to address and here they are...
If the Broncos can avoid injuries and get home-field advantage, they're my AFC pick for the Superbowl. It's been proven that the Pats can be beaten by a solid defense that pressures Tom Brady (see: 49ers). Elvis Dumervil and Vonn Miller could do this. Champ Bailey's still got enough juice to shut down Brandon Lloyd. The only question mark on the defensive side for the Broncos is whether or not they can stop Hernandez/Gronk and Welker. But if they get enough pressure on Brady they can minimize the damage there.
The Ravens have proven that aging defenders and a not-so-elite QB (I take back what I said at the beginning of the season) can't get the job done. On paper, Houston should be able to get it done but in the end I think they have that same not-so-elite-or-even-close-to-it QB problem that Baltimore has. And there will be no dark-horse 6 seed team in the AFC that will pull off some amazing, world-shocking run.
In the NFC, I'm still not sure. The Packers are surging right now and the 49ers looks like they can beat any team on any day if they are playing at their best. Atlanta is solid and I expect them to make it to the NFC championship game but depending on who they are playing, I just can't see them winning. There's no way I could pick Atlanta to beat SF in that game. Maybe they could beat Green Bay but only if the game is in Atlanta. Seattle's defense makes them a tough out, especially at their home field. And the Redskins seem like they're surging and I hope they make the playoffs but even if they do, I just don't see us being able to win more than one playoff game with a defense that's basically a sieve. If I had to pick a team right now from the NFC, it would be the Niners but I'm not completely sold on them either like I am the Broncos.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
As much as RG3 is my favorite NFL player, this award should go to Andrew Luck. He's playing with a much weaker team overall and he's got a better record at this point and as a QB, he's just doing more. What I mean by that is that Luck is running a traditional offense which requires much more reading before the play and during the play. RG3 and Russell Wilson are not doing as much of that. They're clearly more gifted athletes but they're not being asked to do as much of the mental aspect on the field. That's not to say that they can't. They're coaches are just smart enough to utilize their athleticism while allowing them to transition to the speed and defenses of the NFL. They're all really fun to watch and make me excited about the future of the NFL and how the QB position (as a result of defensive lineman becoming faster) is changing into a position for the best athlete on the field, not just a guy who can sit back there, make reads, and throw it. The QBs of the next 5-10 years will likely be guys that are ridiculously good athletes. Cam Newton took the "athlete as quarterback" to an entirely different level last season by being able to put up the passing numbers he did as a rookie. No disrespect to Steve Young, Mike Vick, Randall Cunningham, or Donovan McNabb but Cam put up video game numbers. Young had the greatest WR ever. Vick seemed to always want to run more than pass, Cunningham was a scrambler that wanted to throw on the run, and Donovan's accuracy was ridiculously streaky (not that Cam's isn't sometimes).
If anything, RG3 should get the Most Exciting Rookie Player Award, Wilson should get the Most Slept On Rookie QB Award, and Alfred Morris should get the Lucky to have a coach with an awesome running system and QB that can run the option so I can get a ridiculous amount of yards for a 6th rounder award.
NFL MVP - Adrian Peterson
First of all, how can you NOT want to see this guy break the record after what he's been through. I'd bet that even the guys in his division want to see him break it, but just not beat them in the process, lol. What he's come back from and what he's done this year is simply amazing. I know Peyton's doing great and in my opinion he should get the Comeback Player Award (does that exist?). What Adrian is doing is simply amazing!