Awards Watch (cont.)
Offensive Player of the Year
1. Drew Brees, QB, Saints (1): He continues to put up eye-popping numbers week after week. Brees' love affair with the long ball has led to numerous big plays (14 completions over 40 yards), and pushed him to the top of the charts in passing yards.
2. Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals (2).
3. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (3).
4. Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (4).
5. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings (5).
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Titans (1): The one-man wrecking crew put on an outstanding show against the Jags (seven tackles, one sack and a forced fumble). Haynesworth's seven sacks push him into a tie for the league lead among defensive tackles with the Vikings' Kevin Williams.
2. James Harrison, LB, Steelers (2): The team's top rusher terrorizes foes as a dual threat off the edge. His penchant for getting to the quarterback has raised his profile, but Harrison's knack for producing game-changing turnovers (four forced fumbles and one interception) has some regarding him as the game's top player.
3. Joey Porter, LB, Dolphins (3): The league leader in sacks (13.5) is taking dead aim at Michael Strahan's single-season sack record (22). Porter's one-and-a-half-sack effort against the Raiders was his eighth consecutive game with at least a partial sack, and his fourth multi-sack game of the season.
4. Charles Woodson, CB, Packers (5): The four-time Pro Bowl corner is having a career year in his 11th season. He is tied for the league lead with five interceptions, and has a career-high 13 passes defensed.
5. DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Cowboys (NR): Lost in the chaos of the Cowboys' roller-coaster season has been the stellar play of the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker. Ware has recorded a sack in nine of the Cowboys' 10 games.
Coach of the Year
1. Jeff Fisher, Titans (1): When your team rolls out to a 10-0 start, you have to be considered the front runner for this award.
2. Tom Coughlin, Giants (2): The hard-nosed coach has built a team that is capable of winning with or without style points. The 30-10 pummeling of the Ravens showcased the Giants' rough and rugged demeanor.
3. Tony Sparano, Dolphins (5): Who seriously thought the Dolphins would make a run at the postseason in Sparano's first year?
4. John Fox, Panthers (NR): The 8-2 Panthers may be the best team in the league that no one is talking about. With a smashmouth running game and a suffocating defense, the Panthers have a team capable of running the table.
5. Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals (NR): The Cards' head man has brought a blue collar mentality to the Desert. Though the Cards' high-octane passing attack draws raves, it is the emergence of their ball hawking defense that has the team poised to make the playoffs.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
1. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons (1): The unflappable signal caller has become one of the league's top passers in his first year. With his top target (Roddy White) displaying Pro Bowl form, Ryan may crack the top 10 in several passing categories before season's end.
2. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans (2): The electrifying runner has been held to fewer than 100 yards in his past four starts, but continues to make contributions as an all-purpose threat. After tallying 88 total yards against the Jags, Johnson ranks second among rookies with 990 yards from scrimmage.
3. Matt Forte, RB, Bears (3): The Bears' versatile workhorse has amassed over 100 total yards in the three consecutive games. Although his team has dropped two straight games, Forte has remained the offense's most consistent threat.
4. Eddie Royal, WR, Broncos (4): The Broncos' dynamic weapon has made a tremendous impact as a receiver and returner. Royal's 56 receptions lead all rookies, and his robust return averages (31.2 on kick returns and 12.7 on punt returns) would rank near the top of the charts if he had enough attempts.
5. Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos (NR): The Broncos' star has solidified an offensive line that has only allowed eight sacks on the season. With the team morphing into a pass-heavy attack, Clady's superb play on the edge has been pivotal to the Broncos' offensive success.