Every team in the NFL has now played at least eight games, meaning we are essentially in the middle of the regular season.
It's certainly been an interesting season to date, filled with tons of surprises that probably make my preseason predictions look like they were randomly selected by a parakeet.
WR Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons: He's been one of the NFL's better receivers for a while now, but his production season is unreal. He's played one more game than most other players, but has 10 more catches than anyone in the league and could surpass 1,000 receiving yards in 10 games.
LT Jake Long, Miami Dolphins: Easily the best tackle in football this year, Long has allowed just one sack all season and has prevented defenders from even coming close to Miami's quarterback.
LG Wade Smith, Houston Texans: A failure as a former Dolphins tackle, Smith has found a home inside at guard and has been a big contributor to the NFL's most productive running back in Arian Foster.
C Nick Mangold, New York Jets: Mangold's play hasn't dropped off since he received a big contract in the offseason, as he's still the NFL's best center by far.
RG Brandon Moore, New York Jets: A mauling run-blocker that has helped LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene excel and made Alan Faneca (the former All-Pro left guard) a distant memory.
RT Kareem McKenzie, New York Giants: Has contributed to the NFC's best ground game while allowing just two sacks on Eli Manning.
TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: An injury may derail his second half, but Gates' numbers through eight games (40 catches for 663 yards and an NFL-best nine touchdowns) are impressive even in a full season!
WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: He's survived two injuries to Matthew Stafford and one to Shaun Hill this season, while still putting up incredible numbers and dominating defenses.
QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts: The Chargers' Philip Rivers has the better stats due to being down so often, but Manning has done the job and led his team to victories despite mounting injuries all around him.
RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans: An obvious choice, Foster has exploded in his second pro season and currently leads the NFL in rushing yards (864) and rushing touchdowns (nine) with an impressive 5.5-yard average.
FB Madison Hedgecock, New York Giants: Has paved the way for for Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to help the Giants lead the NFC in rushing yards.
DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants: He's not the most complete defensive end around, but you can't undervalue the pressure he puts on the quarterback with eight sacks and seven forced fumbles—nearly twice as many as anyone else in the league.
DT Chris Canty, New York Giants: His numbers don't pop, but he's overcome an injury-plagued season in 2009 to become a mainstay in the Giants' run defense, which ranks first in the conference.
NT Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh Steelers: Hampton has always been a great 3-4 nose tackle, but he's taken his performance up a notch in 2010 and has the Steelers' run defense allowing just 2.6 yards per rush.
DE Trent Cole, Philadelphia Eagles: Cole (seven sacks) gets the nod over guys like John Abraham because of his additional production against the run (39 tackles).
OLB Clay Matthews III, Green Bay Packers: Matthews' pass-rush makes the Packers' defense a different unit and he leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks despite missing a game.
ILB (3-4) Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers: Timmons has been a monster on the best run defense in the NFL, racking up 78 tackles and a forced fumble to go along with three sacks and two interceptions.
MLB (4-3) Curtis Lofton, Atlanta Falcons: Lofton has picked the Falcons up in rookie Sean Weatherspoon's absence, totaling 73 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception.
OLB Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins: A breakout player for the Dolphins in his first season as a starter, Wake leads the AFC with 8.5 sacks and is defended the run well too.
CB Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs: Flowers has been incredible in third season out of Virginia Tech as the best shutdown corner of 2010.
CB Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He gets little help from his surrounding teammates, but Talib shuts down opposing receivers and has five interceptions on the year.
FS Michael Griffin, Tennessee Titans: His secondary ranks eighth in the NFL in opponent's passer ratings, while he's hauled in four interceptions and forced a fumble.
SS Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers: His numbers aren't eye-popping with only two interceptions, but he's one of the leaders on the best defense in football and continues to play at a high level.
K Dan Carpenter, Miami Dolphins: The AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October, he's made 19-of-22 field goals on the season, including two 5-for-5 efforts, a new career long of 54 yards, and a game-winner in overtime in Green Bay.
P Shane Lechler, Oakland Raiders: Lechler is head-and-shoulders above the other 31 punters in the league each year, and 2010 is no different. He leads the NFL in punting average (49.1) and net average (42.4).
KR Leon Washington, Seattle Seahawks: Obviously fully recovered from his broken leg, Washington has an impressive 31.4-yard average on kickoff returns with a league-leading two scores.
PR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: A receiver this physically-intimidating shouldn't be such an explosive returner, but Bryant's taken two back to the house already.
ST Isaiah Ekejiuba, Detroit Lions: He's averaging more than a special teams tackle per game and has also forced a fumble.
Most Valuable Player — QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts: Manning continues to be his old reliable self and has been carrying a bang-up Colts' squad as much as ever. Something tells me this is a different team if Curtis Painter were forced to run things.
Offensive Player — QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: He's had to play from behind a lot which has inflated his numbers, but his offensive production is second-to-none and he should be recognized for that.
Defensive Player — DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants: James Harrison is really tempting here, but I just have to single out Umenyiora for the kind of constant disruption he's put on opposing quarterbacks, with an NFC-best eight sacks and an incredible seven forced fumbles.
Offensive Rookie — QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams: Bradford's numbers aren't terribly impressive, but he's done an excellent job having been thrown into the fire as a rookie with one of the league's worst receiving corps and least-talented rosters.
Defensive Rookie — DT Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions: The Detroit roster is still sorely lacking in talent, but Suh has done his part with a whopping seven sacks and some huge game-changing plays.
Comeback Player — WR Mike Williams, Seattle Seahawks: A talented former first-round pick by Detroit back in 2005, Williams has returned after three seasons out of the league and some serious weight issues (reports had him pushing 280 pounds at one point) to blossom under his former college coach in Pete Carroll.
Head Coach — Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans: Leading a team that's ranked first in scoring and ninth in fewest points allowed on defense, Fisher has crafted one of the most sound all-around squads with a great front seven on defense and some serious weapons on offense.
Offensive Coordinator — Hue Jackson, Oakland Raiders: He's gotten great production from his offense despite no sexy options at quarterback and has turned Darren McFadden into the elite back he always could be.
Defensive Coordinator — Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh Steelers: Maybe the best defensive coordinator at all time, LeBeau has once again engineered the NFL's most dominant defense.
General Manager — Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: The de facto GM for a franchise that lacks someone with that official title, Belichick traded Randy Moss for a third-rounder that released him after a month while his team still ranks second in the NFL in scoring. He has also drafted immediate contributors like tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and gotten production for NFL cast-offs like running back Danny Woodhead, guard Dan Connolly, and linebacker Rob Ninkovich.
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