NFL: Regular Season Wrap Up

Urlacher lead the Bears to an NFC North title

Ever notice how much things change when you look back just a few weeks in an NFL season? I was reading a Sports Illustrated from early November yesterday, and a few things caught my eye… the Bears offensive struggles had people predicting a failed season to come (yet they ended up winning NFC North)… the Giants were ranked as the NFC East’s best on most experts’ power rankings (one 4th quarter meltdown and DeSean Jackson punt return changed all that)… the Chargers were closing in on spoiling the Chiefs AFC West party (so much for that Norv Turner)… the Colts were finally going to miss the playoffs (Peyton Manning had other ideas). The point is, the NFL changes so much from Weeks 10-17, that it’s near impossible to predict final standings more than half way through; we can’t say the same thing about the NBA now can we (already putting $ down on a Lakers-Heat Final).

The overall theme of this season has to be parity. The league and the game itself have become so balanced that A) no team was a run away favorite 10 games into the season, and B) teams that were awful last year competed and grabbed playoff spots this year (and vice versa, see Panthers). So many kudos can go around to various players and teams, whom all deserve them, so let’s begin:

OFFENSE

Players of the Year:

AFC: Arian Foster- in a once pass-happy offense, this once spurned RB led the league in rushing yards and TDs, and delighted those who snagged him late in fantasy drafts.

NFC: Michael Vick- amazed fans as the dual threat QB showed that he can still run. The lack of INTs also surprised many who hadn’t forgotten his last three years in Atlanta

Breakout Seasons:

AFC: Peyton Hillis- had you ever heard of this guy before 2010? The guy got 13 carries last year, but turned his 270 hauls this year into pay-dirt.

NFC: Roddy White- solidified himself as the best wide out in the NFC, had 20 more catches than anyone else in the conference.

MVP:

AFC: Tom Brady- the lack of interceptions and ability to win defines him as a competitor

NFC: Aaron Rogers- league’s 2nd best rated passer, and Packers’ offensive heart and soul

Rookies of the Year

AFC: Maurkice Pouncey- centered every game for the 12-4 Steelers in his first season, and is already a Pro-Bowler.

NFC: Sam Bradford- dude had to throw over 50 times in his 1st NFL game, and carried the putrid Rams to within one win of a division title.

DEFENSE

Players of the Year:

AFC: Jerod Mayo- led the league in tackles and showed how much of a non-joke the Patriots defense really was.

NFC: Brian Urlacher- 126 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 interception, the man did it all, including lead a defense that ranked 4th overall in the NFL

Breakout Seasons:

AFC: Cameron Wake- this beast of a man had 14 sacks as a linebacker, nuff said.

NFC: Terrell Thomas- provided solid play where the Gmen have lacked in recent years.

MVP:

AFC: Troy Polamalu- the Steelers really missed the Hair in the home loss to the Jets, his health is the key to the Steelers postseason plans.

NFC: Clay Matthews- with 13.5 sacks in just his 2nd year, he’s becoming a force to be reckoned with; watching him plays frightens me on my couch

Rookies of the Year

AFC: Devin McCourty- the 1st rounder out of Rutgers stepped right in and intercepted his way to a 14-2 record. Already a top 5 corner in the league

NFC: Ndamukong Suh- showed no learning curve, he jumped right in to a porous Lions defense and made an impact.

Check back tomorrow for Full Playoff Predictions…

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