Since week 8 came to a close this past Monday, I decided to give an analysis and breakdown of the season so far. I will discuss surprising players/teams, award predictions, player rankings, and Super Bowl contenders/pretenders. Click below to read more!
Most Surprising Teams:
The most surprising teams of the 2016 NFL season are the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have dominated all season long, leading the Falcons to first place in the NFC South. Minnesota has also been interesting. After losing their starting QB and RB, the Vikings sit at 5-2. We knew their defense was stout, but this team leads the NFL in scoring defense and is arguably the best in the NFC.
Most Surprising Players:
There is without a question, Dak Prescott is the most surprising player in the NFL this season. The rookie QB selected in the 4th round has led Dallas to a 6-1 record despite several key injuries. He has proven to be one of the most consistent passers in the league and is currently a top 10 QB in total QBR. A second surprising player has been Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders. With 17 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions, Carr looks to lead the Raiders to their first playoff appearance in over a decade.
NFL MVP: Right now, I am going to give a slight edge to Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. He currently leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns. The Falcons look to finish among the best in the NFC, which will only help his case. (Others still in discussion: Derek Carr, Tom Brady, Von Miller, Ezekiel Elliott, Ben Roethlisberger).
Offensive Player of the Year: This award is going to running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys. Zeke currently has 799 yards, most in the NFL, and continues to get better each week. Running behind Dallas’ offensive line and having a stable QB help Elliott continue to progress. If Zeke can keep up his numbers, he has a good chance at walking away with an Offensive Player of the Year award. (Others still in discussion: Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Julio Jones, AJ Green, David Johnson).
Defensive Player of the Year: Although there are several great defenders this year, Von Miller has been the most dominant of 2016. With 8.5 sacks this season, good for second in the NFL, Miller has caused havoc for opposing offenses all season. He benefits from playing on the best defense in the NFL, but there is no question Von Miller is the man amongst the boys. (Others still in discussion: Lorenzo Alexander, Marcus Peters, Cliff Avril, Luke Kuechly, Aaron Donald, Aqib Talib).
Offensive Rookie of the Year: I think Ezekiel Elliott is favorite at this point, edging out teammate Dak Prescott. This award could go either way, with Zeke or Dak winning, depending on how the voters dictate their selections. Personally, I would give the nod to Zeke, due to his impressive numbers. (Others still in discussion: Dak Prescott, Jordan Howard, Carson Wentz, Michael Thomas, Will Fuller).
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Although he has only played in 4 games this season, Joey Bosa has been a force at the defensive end position for the San Diego Chargers. He is currently tied with Yannick Ngakoue for the most sacks by a rookie (4). If he continues this rate, Bosa may be a darkhorse for the Pro Bowl in 2016. (Others still in discussion:Yannick Ngakoue, Leonard Floyd, Jatavis Brown, Deion Jones, Jalen Ramsey).
Ranking NFL players by position is always fun and interesting. I will give my top 5 rankings for the offensive skill position groups in the NFL.
- Tom Brady
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Aaron Rodgers
- Matt Ryan
- Derek Carr
- David Johnson
- Ezekiel Elliott
- Le’Veon Bell
- Lamar Miller
- LeSean McCoy
- Julio Jones
- Antonio Brown
- AJ Green
- Odell Beckham Jr
- Amari Cooper
- Rob Gronkowski
- Greg Olson
- Jordan Reed
- Travis Kelce
- Martellus Bennett
Super Bowl Contenders/Pretenders:
At this point of the season, we have a good idea of who are legitimate Super Bowl contenders and teams that are pretending. I will give 5 teams who I think have a real shot and 5 teams who are not there yet.
1. New England – This is obvious. Brady is playing out of his mind and his weapons on offense continue to get better
2. Dallas – The defense isn’t great, but Dallas can control the ball on offense. Their line is the best in the NFL.
3. Denver – They have the best defense in the league. Trevor Siemian does just enough to allow the defense to win games.
4. Kansas City – They are good at every position. Andy Reid is a great coach and their defense in very good. This might be the year the Chiefs surprise people with a deep playoff run.
5. Seattle – Russell Wilson is a top 10 quarterback and the defense is still amongst the best. They have the experience in the postseason, too. If the offensive line can get better, look for Seattle to make some noise.
1. Minnesota – They have a great defense, but offensively they are a mess. If Adrian Peterson was healthy, they would be much better. Stefon Diggs is the only real threat on offense.
2. Green Bay – They have one of the best quarterbacks, but he has not played to his standards. This team cannot get the job done. The defense needs a lot of help, too. I don’t think they can beat Minnesota, making them a wild card team if they get into the postseason.
3. Pittsburgh – I love their offense, but their secondary is terrible. There is little chance the Steelers will be able to beat New England. Brady will pick apart their defense.
4. Oakland – They are off to a good start and Derek Carr is playing out of his mind, but the Raiders could easily be 4-4 at this point. Their defense is still at the bottom in the NFL and they lack playoff experience.
5. Philadelphia – They have a solid roster and Carson Wentz is playing well, but this team lacks an offensive weapon. With no explosive players, it will be hard for the Eagles to contend. I like Wentz, but he may not play well on the road in January.
This concluded my mid-season analysis and breakdown of the NFL. If you agree or disagree, leave a comment below. Don’t forget to check our weekly updates of NFL power rankings and college football rankings.