NFL's first-half awards

John Turner
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The NFL season is at the halfway point, and like every year there are many surprises and disappointments as teams and players get set for the final half of the season.

If the season ended today, here are who The Freak sees winning these awards:

Coach of the year - It has to go to both Coach (Handshake) Harbaugh of the 49ers (6-1) and Marvin Lewis of the Bengals (5-2), who have done a fantastic job. What Lewis is accomplishing is very impressive, especially with a rookie quarterback.

Offensive rookie of the year - The Freak, once again, needs to give this award to two candidates. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton are having great rookie years at the most important position in football. Newton, who was a college glamour boy, gets all the press. But what carrot-top Dalton is doing with five wins is great.

Defensive rookie of the year - Linebacker Vonn Miller of the Broncos should be getting all the press instead of teammate Tim Tebow. Miller is having a monster year with 26 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles.

Offensive MVP - Aaron Rodgers is the engine that makes the Packer machine unbeatable.

Defensive MVP - Got to give it to defensive end Jared Allen of the Vikings. What would this defence be without him?

Comeback player of the year - Matt Stafford of the Lions has missed a lot of games the past two seasons with injuries, but now has the Motor City rocking.

Most underrated player - Bills running back Fred Jackson, who is ripping it up both on the ground and through the air. Being in such a small market like Buffalo, he is not often talked about.

Most overrated player - Tim Tebow wins this hands down. Have you heard of any player being this hyped, but being this bad? Darcy E. and Jason S., The Freak hopes you guys don’t have a Tebow jersey, do you?

Most disappointing team - They have been playing better of late, but no one thought the Eagles would be 3-4 (won-lost) after bringing in all these Pro Bowlers in the off-season.

Most surprising team – Bengals, who have a rookie quarterback and a rookie wide receiver starting. Who would have thought they would be 5-2, and on top of the AFC North?

MVP - The Freak is going to give it to a guy who hasn’t taken any snaps this year – Peyton Manning. It’s crazy, but how can a playoff team from last year come into the season with basically the same team except No. 18, and now be the worst team in football? Peyton is that valuable – period!


Stat of the week

Miami’s Reggie Bush was pegged as a can’t-miss running back coming out of USC, but has only two 100-yard rushing games in his career.

Guess what?

They were both against the Giants – one last week (102 yards), and the other when he was with the Saints.


Pet peeve of the week

All quarterbacks and wannabe quarterbacks are taught at the youngest age how to properly take a snap under centre. Phillip Rivers forgot about this most important fundamental play on Monday night.

This cost his Chargers the game when he fumbled the snap late in the game, deep in Kansas City territory with the game tied. If the Bolts miss the playoffs, this snap will be the play that cost them.


Coach Parcells’ quote of the week

"I go to practice everyday with the sole intention of trying to improve my team."


The sure thing

The Seahawks looked terrible at home versus the Bengals. Does Coach Carroll know what he’s doing with this merry-go-round at quarterback? The Cowboys looked bad in Philly, but will rebound by pounding Seattle in Big D.

The Browns were expected to be better this year, but the "Madden Football" cover jinx really got running back Peyton Hillis, who was their only real offensive threat. With him out, their offence scares no one – and won’t score enough to beat Houston. Texans win.

Another Tebow sighting behind centre for the Broncos as they visit the Raiders. Oakland must be licking its chops to have a crack at this quarterback. Carson Palmer wins his first as a Raider, the "Black Hole" swallows Tebow and perhaps he will never reappear.


Don’t mortgage the house picks

The Giants and Patriots, we all know what happened the last time they played each other. Should The Freak refresh your mind? Forget about it, you know the result. Well, for many of the local fans like Chissy, Scottie, Ahern and Goat, this is a revenge game. For Giants’ fans, it’s just another game on the schedule. Only 14 Giants’ players are left from that Super Bowl team, and only seven on the Patriots. However, two of the major players in that game are still running the show – Tom Brady and Eli Manning. New York has five wins, but has struggled through most of those games with Eli bailing them out in the end. The Giants have to play a complete game to win. Can’t see it, Pats win and it’s like winning the Super Bowl for many of them.

Word out of Philly is the Eagles are back. They face a team with a bad offensive line in the Bears, and the Eagles do rush the passer well. By the end of this game, the letters from "Cutler" will be embedded in the turf. Eagles get back to .500.

The Freak liked what he saw from Pitt last week against the Pats, and didn’t like what he saw in the Ravens’ win over the Cardinals. In a brutally physical game, the Steelers win.


Upset special

The Chiefs were lucky on Monday night that the Chargers self-destructed with all those turnovers, and it still took overtime before Kansas City could put San Diego away.

Miami is still playing hard and could have beaten the Giants. The Chiefs aren’t that good to begin with, and then to not take the Dolphins serious will result in Miami’s first win of the year.

Many local fans finally get something to cheer about!

Last week: 4-for-7 (57 per cent).

Season: 42-for-57 (73.6 per cent).


John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to the

Organizations: Bengals, NFL, Giants Vikings Cardinals Steelers

Geographic location: Motor, Buffalo, Kansas City Seattle Miami Houston New York San Diego Summerside

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