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We Have Reached the Halfway Mark of the NFL Season. Who Were the Best of this Season’s First Half?

NFL Field by Erin Costa is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

I am doing something a little different for this week’s picks. We are now past the halfway point of the NFL season, and so before we get to my picks, I would like to provide you my picks for NFL midseason awards. I will give you my awards picks and then I will list out my game picks for week 9. Alrighty…like Mario always says: Here we gooooooooooooooo!

Actually, before we get to my picks, I want to point out just a couple of things. One, if you haven’t already, please check out fellow Turf writer Josh Hansen’s preview on the Vikings vs. Chiefs game. It’s gold.

Second, I am referring to Mario as in Super Mario from the Nintendo universe…not a random guy I know named Mario. Although that would be really funny, it would also be very odd, and you probably would think I am a crazy person. Anyway…HERE WE GOOOOOOO!

Week 8 Picks: 11-4

Season Picks Record: 78-48

Coach of the Year: Sean Payton

Yes, I know Bill Belichick is the GOAT. Yes, I know Matt LaFleur has had a great year in Green Bay and has resurrected some Aaron Rodgers greatness, and Kyle Shanahan has been brilliant. The award could go to any of those guys. But what Sean Payton has been able to do with New Orleans this year has been pretty remarkable.

Drew Brees goes down for several weeks, and the Saints don’t miss a beat. The Saints also just poured 36 points on a very good Bears defense WITHOUT Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Tre’Quan Smith, and Jared Cook. Are you kidding me?

Payton is just such a good playcaller and while Teddy Bridgewater has played well under center, you have to give a lot of credit to Payton for the 5-0 Brees-less run.

MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers looks like…well…Aaron Rodgers. He’s been spectacular. He’s thrown for 2,324 yards (2nd in NFL) for 16 TDs and just 2 INTs. And he’s doing it while throwing to receivers who I’ve never even heard of. Packers have been slammed with injuries on offense, but Rodgers continues to shine. He is my MVP thus far.

Defensive Player of the Year: Stephon Gillmore

Gillmore is the best corner in football, period. And quite frankly, I don’t really think it’s close. The Jalen Ramsey Fan Club won’t appreciate this, but you all know me – I call it how I see it and I tell it like it is. It’s not even so much the turnovers, it’s just he is such a good cover guy he shuts EVERYONE down. Gilmore is the best corner on the best secondary in football.

Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey

You could argue Dalvin Cook, I wouldn’t call you crazy – it’s close. But I have to give it to McCaffrey right now. He has just been sensational all year. Is there anything this guy can’t do on a football field? He already has 10 total TDs and nearly 1,100 total yards from scrimmage. I’m not sure where the Panthers would be without McCaffrey. He is a big reason why the Panthers are above .500 right now.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Gardner Minshew

This one is easy. So I just told you that Aaron Rodgers has 16 TDs and 2 INTs. Well Gardner Minshew is not that far off with 13 TDs and 2 INTs. He’s also rushed for 201 yards while throwing for 1,976 yards completing 62% of his passes. The Jaguars are going to have a tough decision at QB this offseason. Do you move forward with Minshew, or do you plug Nick Foles back in when he’s healthy?

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Bush Jr.

This may surprise a lot of people. I know Nick Bosa has had a great year on the NFL’s best overall defense. But Devin Bush Jr. is really keeping this Steelers defense together. He is an immediate impact player and leader on this defense. Bush Jr. leads the NFL in fumble recoveries (4) and ran one of them back for a touchdown. He also has 2 INTs, one sack, and leads all rookies in total tackles (59). Bush Jr. plays all over the field with tremendous speed and strength, and his instincts are unbelievable for a rookie. This kid has a very bright future in Pittsburgh.

Comeback Player of the Year: Dalvin Cook

You could also argue Cooper Kupp – I wouldn’t call you crazy. But Dalvin Cook, who was a highly touted college prospect coming into the league, is finally healthy for pretty much the first time in his NFL career, and he is running like a mad man all over defenses. As I mentioned before, he could even be offensive player of the year this year.

So there you have it – my midseason awards – love them or hate them. And if you hate them, we are only getting warmed up here. You haven’t even seen my Week 9 picks yet! So let’s get right to it!

  • Texans 31, Jaguars 26
  • Bills 23, Redskins 17
  • Vikings 27, Chiefs 26
  • Dolphins 23, Jets 20
  • Eagles 24, Bears 16
  • Colts 26, Steelers 17
  • Titans 24, Panthers 21
  • Raiders 26, Lions 24
  • Seahawks 30, Buccaneers 24
  • Browns 27, Broncos 17
  • Packers 27, Chargers 24
  • Patriots 28, Ravens 23
  • Cowboys 26, Giants 20

Enjoy the games!

Matt lives in Newnan, Georgia but was born and raised in Upstate New York. He is a fan of the New York Yankees, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Boston Celtics. At the collegiate level, he is a Notre Dame and Syracuse fan (yeah he can root for both, and what?!) He must, however, find a soccer team to root for. So him out there. All suggestions are welcome. You can catch Matt on the Turf mostly covering NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football and Basketball, and Horse Racing (that is not a typo, he practically grew up on a racetrack). It's nothing's strictly sports.

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