The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The NFL’s Standout Players This Season

AP Photo / Nick Wass

The first half of the NFL season has been a complete roller coaster ride. Many teams and players have surprised fans by rising to the occasion, while others have strongly disappointed. Let’s go through each midseason award, as given at the NFL Honors ceremony, as well as make some predictions for the rest of the season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud

Arguably no one has been a bigger success this year based on expectations than Houston Texans quarterback, CJ Stroud. Stroud joined the losing Texans with every excuse to have growing pains in his rookie year. However, Stroud has been fantastic this year. A horrible Texans team from last year has been surprisingly competitive, earning a 5-4 record thus far. More impressively, Stroud has thrown 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. If Stroud keeps up the momentum and the Texans win more games, Stroud can find himself in the race for Most Valuable Player (MVP), not just Rookie of the Year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon

Witherspoon was the highest drafted corner in the draft and has proved to be a worthwhile investment for the Seattle Seahawks. He truly has embodied versatility. For one, he has been a lockdown corner. He has consistently matched up against quality receivers and played well with an 81.5 Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade. However, what makes Witherspoon special is his ability to impact the game in ways besides coverage. He has shown to be a quality tackler and even has two sacks as a cornerback.

Offensive Player of the Year: Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill

Miami Dolphins wide reciever, Tyreek Hill is on a record-breaking pace — through nine games, he has 1,076 yards and eight touchdowns. This puts Hill on pace to break 2,000 yards, which would be a new single-season record for receiving yards. His speed and route running ability have made him impossible to guard in Miami’s offensive scheme.  If the Dolphins end up as the top seed in the AFC, Hill is even in play to be an MVP candidate. 

Defensive Player of the Year: Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett

The Browns’ defense has surprisingly been the best defense in the league this year, and defensive end Myles Garrett has played a massive role in that. Garrett, through the first half of the season, has 11 sacks, 18 pressures, nine tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and even a field goal block. Garrett has impacted the game and dominated in almost every way for the Browns this season.

Most Valuable Player: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson

Quarterback Lamar Jackson has led the Baltimore Ravens to a strong 7-3 record through ten weeks. While he has not had eye-popping stats (10 passing touchdowns and five interceptions with 481 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns), he has remained very steady and consistent throughout the season. The Ravens have had an excellent defense, but Jackson has done everything to put them in a winning position. That being said, there are players who could put up better numbers and snag the MVP title, like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow or Josh Allen, all of which could end the season with more consistency and a better team record.

Looking towards the playoffs and Super Bowl, there are a lot of good contenders. The two favorites in the NFC are by far the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Niners are led by a dominating defense and an offense orchestrated by mastermind Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. The Eagles are one of the best all-around teams with star playmakers like QB Jalen Hurts and a stellar defensive lineman. In the AFC, the Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs all look like potential favorites to take the conference.

In the end, I personally am taking the Ravens and the Niners as the two favorites to get to the Super Bowl. For one, both teams have elite defenses. On offense, both have excellent weapons and reliably above-average quarterback play that is protected by a good offensive line. These teams have separated themselves from the rest on paper thus far.

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