Between 1943 and 1945, the annual NFL schedule was only 10 games long. Even before that stretch, it was usually a little longer than 10 games on a year-by-year basis. (I can only assume that this had something to do with the abbreviated schedules in the mid-40s.)
But let’s just pretend that we’re playing a 10-game season again. And with that in mind, here are your award winners…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — He now has a 100-plus passer rating in 10 straight games for the perfect Packers. Until now, no one had ever done that in NFL history.
Offensive player of the year: Rodgers — And yet Rodgers is frustrated. Seriously. In his “worst game of the year” Sunday against Tampa Bay, he completed 68 percent of his passes for 299 yards while tossing three touchdown passes. Amazing.
Defensive player of the year: Justin Smith, 49ers — With DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen falling off of Michael Strahan’s record-setting sack pace, this might come down to Smith versus Darrelle Revis.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — Newton might be slightly more prone to mistakes than Andy Dalton is, but he’s simply outproducing Dalton on a per-play basis by quite a wide margin. If you include what he’s done as a runner, Newton has accumulated 999 more yards and five more touchdowns than Dalton.
Defensive rookie of the year: Von Miller, Broncos — After a massive performance Thursday night against the Jets, he’s officially running away with it now. He’s picking up steam as the season progresses, and is on pace to break Jevon Kearse’s record for sacks in a rookie season.
Comeback player of the year: Alex Smith, 49ers — That passer rating of 93.9 is 12 points north of his previous career high. He hasn’t dazzled, but he’s leading the second-best team in football only several months after being considered a true bust.
Coach of the year: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers — Make that eight in a row after another easy victory at home. Next up? A Thanksgiving night game against his brother in Baltimore.
Executive of the year: Rick Smith, Texans — Houston hasn’t played since we gave Smith this award last Tuesday. The Matt Schaub injury could inadvertently hurt his case.