Only one week to play and a few awards are still up for grabs. Here’s how we see it through 16 weeks…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — I’d have no problem giving this to Drew Brees, but Rodgers has been more efficient and made fewer mistakes for a team with more wins. Plus, he beat Brees and the Saints straight up in Week 1. Despite the records falling in New Orleans, Rodgers deserves this more. Brees will have one of the greatest non-MVP seasons in NFL history.
Offensive player of the year: Rodgers — Brees has the edge in passing yards and completion percentage, but Rodgers still has a significant advantage in touchdowns, interceptions, rating and yards per attempt. I value those numbers more.
Defensive player of the year: Justin Smith, 49ers — There are half a dozen players who still have a shot at this thing. I highly doubt the fairly anonymous Smith wins it, simply because he’s not a flashy player on a flashy team, but he’s been the guy behind the best run defense in football (and maybe the most consistent defense overall). I’m betting that Terrell Suggs beats out Smith, DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen and Jason Pierre-Paul to win it.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — He’s breaking pretty much every rookie record a quarterback can break. In fact, some are going as far as to say that he might be the best rookie the league has ever had. The guy has accounted for nearly 4,600 passing/rushing yards and 34 passing/rushing touchdowns. It’s hard to believe that we had Andy Dalton winning this thing only a few weeks ago.
Defensive rookie of the year: Aldon Smith, 49ers – Another sack in another San Francisco win, while Von Miller was held without a tackle in another Denver loss. Smith now only needs one more sack to set the new rookie record with 15. That should happen against a St. Louis team that has given up a league-high 52 sacks this season. Also amazing is that Miller seemed to have this thing locked down until a few weeks ago.
Comeback player of the year: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks — Make that 11 straight games with a touchdown, which is especially notable because he became the first back to score on the Niners all season in a 107-yard performance against San Francisco. Considering how fantastic San Fran has been against the run, that might have been the most impressive feat of his breakout 2011 campaign.
Coach of the year: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers – There’s very little debate in regard to this award. What a turnaround in San Francisco. The Niners are about to win 13 games for the first time since 1997.
Executive of the year: Trent Baalke, 49ers — See: Coach of the year.