NFL First Quarter Awards

By Trisity Miller

MVP: Matt Ryan, QB

When it comes to the Atlanta Falcons everyone holds the same thought: It doesn’t matter if they go 16-0. It won’t matter if they don’t win a playoff game for the secondyear in a row. But you can’t help to be in awe at what Matty Ice is doing in Atlanta. His team is 4-0 and outside of the turnover ratio the team is putting up, ALL the credit goes to him. After his fourth quarter comeback that happened last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, he jumped far ahead of everyone else that would’ve been considered for the award. As good as he’s looking though, none of it will matter if they don’t show up when it matters, but so far he’s been the MVP of the 2012-13 season.

Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Ryan, QB

For a fifth year quarterback, the MVP/OPOY combo would be phenomenal. Since the decline of running back Michael Turner, Ryan has put this team on his back and the stats show for it. He boasts the best passer rating in the league (112.1) by three points, second in the league in passing touchdowns (11), has only thrown two interceptions, tied sixth in passing yards (1162) and second in pass percentage (69.4%). Like I previously mentioned his team is 4-0 to add fire to the fuel. He’s having his best season as a pro and entering Week 5, he’s been the best offensive player the NFL has to offer this year.

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, DL

The memory of Mario Williams in Houston, Texas has faded extremely fast with the play of defensive end b. He’s been the anchor to one of the best defenses in the league with the Houston Texans and arguably the best team in the league at 4-0. He’s leading the league in sacks with 7.5, has 20 tackles (16 solo), five pass deflections and two fumbles recovered. The Texans have the third best defense statistically and has only allowed 56 points which is the least in the league. If he keeps up his play, the AFC is going to have to go through a dangerous Houston team in January.

Comeback Player of the Year: Peyton Manning, QB

This may have been the easiest of all the award. Peyton Manning has the Denver Broncos at 2-2. Most are happy just to see Peyton return to football after those neck surgeries and outside of that terrible first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons, Manning his looked a little like his old self. Statistically, he’s been solid and without Peyton this team would possibly be 0-4. And the only losses his teams have suffered? Those teams are both 4-0.  He’ll likely have this team in position for a deep playoff run and thats amazing after missing the entire 2011-12 season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III, QB

To put this as easy as it can be put: Robert Griffin has made the Washington Redskins a team that’s going to be a problem for years to come. Of course, he’s supposed to do that because he was the second overall pick, but after seeing his fourth quarter drive that led to a game-winning field goal last Sunday, it’s clear this kid is special. In four games he’s only thrown one interception. Only six starters have one or less. He’s led them to a 2-2 record which is tied for the 2nd best in the NFC East. Granted they won’t make the playoffs, but he’s been more of a “game manager” and has put this team on his back.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chandler Jones, DL

The New England Patriots  defense hasn’t improved much, but with Chandler Jones at the right end, there is hope that he can become as dominant as a Jared Allen or a Demarcus Ware. He’s showed that, with his speed, he’ll be trouble to offensive lineman for years to come. In the first four weeks he’s accumulated 17 tackles, three sacks and two force fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown in Week 1.  As a defensive player who’s efforts are badly needed on this team, it’ll be interesting to see if teams begin to double team him to make sure he isn’t affecting their quarterbacks play for the rest of they year.

Coach of the Year: Ken Whisenhunt

In the last ten games, the Arizona Cardinals has been 9-1, which is the best in that stretch. And they have done it without a stud at quarterback with Kevin Kolb leading them this season. While the offense is a work in progress, Whisenhunt has a defense on his hands that is phenomenal. Most recently that defense shut down both Mike Vick and Tom Brady which is saying a lot. At the first quarter mark, Ken has the team atop the division and tied for best record in the NFC with the Atlanta Falcons at 4-0. This team is beginning to look like last year’s San Francisco 49ers and outside of the Minnesota Vikings, there hasn’t been more of a dominating surprise this season. Whisenhunt has this team in the perfect position to make the playoffs which something most didn’t think this team was capable of doing.


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