If the 2011 season ended today, the Bills and Lions would have first-round byes and the Colts would be on the clock. Oh, and these guys would win the eight major annual awards…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — Comeback victory on the road, without both of his starting tackles and against the NFC’s top seed from 2010. And 396 more passing yards in a turnover-free performance. And his passer rating remains above 120. Just ridiculous.
Offensive player of the year: Rodgers — It’s almost impossible to decide between Rodgers, Calvin Johnson and Wes Welker, all of whom are on pace to shatter records in 2011. But Rodgers’ numbers are just too insane. 14-to-2 touchdown-to-interceptions ratio. 71.7 completion percentage. 9.6 yards per attempt. Can’t deny that.
Defensive player of the year: Jared Allen, Vikings — It’s hard to hand this award to a guy from such a terrible team, but at 29, Allen is having his best season without much support. Two more sacks against the Cardinals, giving him 8.5 on the year. He’s on pace to smash Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — Had three more touchdowns (two passing, one running) and nearly led the Panthers to a big upset over the Saints Sunday. Veterans he’s outplaying five weeks into the season: Michael Vick, Matt Ryan, Kevin Kolb, Jay Cutler, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Matt Cassel, and maybe even Philip Rivers.
Defensive rookie of the year: Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins — Kerrigan, who’s been a force in Washington, keeps the award after a bye week. Von Miller had another sack for Denver (giving him five in five games), but Miller was also benched in base packages in another Broncos loss.
Comeback player of the year: D’Qwell Jackson, Browns — Another guy coming off a bye. Jackson, who missed most of the last two seasons, has 40 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble at the quarter pole.
Coach of the year: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers – Mike Singletary despises what’s happening in San Fran. The Niners already have a 2.5-game lead in the NFC West, despite the fact they’ve had to travel to the east coast twice and have faced two playoff-worthy teams at home (Dallas and Tampa). Harbaugh’s boys crushed a very good Bucs team 48-3 in Week 5. Considering that they arguably got worse in the offseason, Harbaugh has likely played a major role in the turnaround.
Executive of the year: Rick Smith, Texans — The revamped defense continues to deliver, despite a tough loss Sunday against Oakland.