We’re officially 75 percent of the way through the 2011 regular season, and it’s becoming clear that some awards have already been clinched. Here’s a look at who we think deserves the hardware as of right now…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — If you quarterback a 16-0 team, you’re probably the MVP. Considering Rodgers’ numbers — 125.3 passer rating, 37-to-5 touchdown-t0-interception ratio, 3,844 yards, 9.4 average — this isn’t even a discussion.
Offensive player of the year: Rodgers — He’s coming off his worst game of the year, and yet he still had a 106.2 passer rating in New York. Also, he’s back on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record. Then again, so are Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
Defensive player of the year: Justin Smith, 49ers — Another dominant effort from that front seven, which is led by Smith. Even without Patrick Willis, the Niners’ defense was phenomenal Sunday. I’m not sure Smith will win this thing, but Von Miller didn’t play in Week 13 and I’m not prepared to give it to Darrelle Revis, DeMarcus Ware or Jared Allen at this point.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — He created some space between himself and Andy Dalton with a four-touchdown performance in another win. Newton now has 13 rushing touchdowns and 13 passing touchdowns in his unreal rookie campaign, and he’s only three wins behind Dalton after the Bengals were crushed by Pittsburgh.
Defensive rookie of the year: Von Miller, Broncos — He could probably afford to miss a few more games before we’d have to think about giving this thing to San Francisco’s Aldon Smith or Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan.
Comeback player of the year: Willis McGahee, Broncos — See why it’s not all about Tim Tebow in Denver? Miller and McGahee are award winners if the season ends today (and John Fox would be in the running for coach of the year, too). McGahee had his fifth 100-yard game in the last eight weeks Sunday in Minnesota. Then again, San Francisco’s Alex Smith was solid again — we’d have no problem with either player winning this thing.
Coach of the year: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers — Not surprised to see his team fight back with a dominant performance after being overwhelmed by the Ravens. They’ve already forgotten about Thanksgiving. Barring a disastrous finish, Harbaugh will win this award.
Executive of the year: Rick Smith, Texans — They just keep winning, and Smith’s offseason work has a lot to do with it. I’d also have no problem with Niners general manager Trent Baalke winning this thing.