MVP: is there really any question that it’s Adrian Peterson?
He’s having a historic year, and while Manning is getting a lot of MVP talk, it’s bullshit. He’s on pace to have about his third best season. I know there’s the whole comeback story, but Peterson’s is just as good, and I don’t think either of them should count. You’re not more valuable just because you were hurt last year.
Not only is Peterson on pace to break the all-time rushing record, he’s doing it with just over 20 carries per game. His yards-per-carry average of 6.3 will also be a new record if it holds up. For me, though, the most impressive part of all is the fact that he’s doing it against 9 man fronts. The Vikings are dead last in passing, and it’s not even close. Peterson is rushing for more yards per carry than Christian Ponder is throwing for per passing attempt. He’s unquestionably the league’s most valuable player in the literal sense this year.
If you don’t care about that, compare his production to the league’s other running backs; nobody else is averaging even 99 yards per game; Peterson is averaging 129. He has 20 rushes of 20-plus yards; CJ Spiller is next with 11. He has 8 carries of 40+ yards; nobody else has more than 4. Yeah, he’s not a great receiver, but he has 38 catches for 211 yards, which isn’t bad - and look at his quarterback. Despite that, he’s leading the league in yards from scrimmage by more than 350 (Calvin Johnson is second, Doug Martin a close third).
The only thing Peterson isn’t doing particularly well is scoring touchdowns, and he’s tied for second at that.
It’s not as though he’s torching a bunch of soft teams, either. He went for 123 against Tampa, the league’s top rush defense, who have allowed only four 100 yard team performances this year. He’s run for 108 and 154 yards against the Bears, who are 11th in rush defense. He ran for 86 against the #3 ranked 49ers when he was still getting his strength back in Week 2. 79 against Washington, #6. He ran for 182 against #10 Seattle on the road, where the Seahawks are un-runnable-on (no other 100 yard games by any team). 210 against #14 Green Bay.
Defensive POTY: I think JJ Watt will probably end up winning this (19.5 sacks, 74 tackles), but it ought to be Peanut Tillman. 10 forced fumbles by a cornerback is amazing, and he’s got two picks to go with them, both of which he returned for scores. He’s also fifth in tackles among corners.
Offensive POTY: Ordinarily, I would give this to Calvin Johnson (assuming Peterson can’t have this one too), but he just hasn’t scored enough this season. Aaron Rodgers is leading the league in passer rating, but he doesn’t have enough yards. Brees is leading everyone in yards and touchdowns, but he’s turned the ball over a ton. I could make an argument for RGIII - phenomenally efficient, hasn’t turned it over, record rushing numbers. Honestly, though, it’s probably Brandon Marshall. He is the Bears’ passing game, and he’s much closer than anyone else to the catches-yards-scores trifecta.