TD Awards: 2013

These are the third annual TD Awards! If you’re not familiar, the TD Awards (TD being my initials) are awards I give out to teams in the NFL for various categories. However, unlike most award ceremonies, not all of these awards are positive. While I love to look at the best of the best in the NFL, I cannot ignore teams and players that fail to perform. One important note to point out is that these awards only take the regular season into account. I know some playoff games have already been played, but those results will not factor in the decision-making at all. Awards will go out to eight teams, two divisions, one conference, and one player in categories such as “Best Team,” “Worst Defense,” and “Best Division.” To see previous years’ winners, you can go to the TD Awards tab on the left or just click here.

Best Team of 2013

The first award for the 2013 regular season also happens to be the most prestigious. It goes to the overall best team in the NFL after 17 weeks. In the playoffs, who knows? The past two winners for Best Team (2011: Packers, 2012: Broncos) did not make it to their respective conference championships, nevermind the Super Bowl. This year there were two teams that stood out and arguments could be made for either team, but one key stat gave the winning team the edge.

pfiobtreaq7j0pzvadktsc6jvWinner: Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks edged out the Denver Broncos for the NFL’s best team. Both teams went 13-3 (7-1 home, 6-2 road), won their conferences, and now hold the 1-seeds in the playoffs. However, each team is pretty different from the other. Seattle boasts an incredible defense, holding opposing QBs to just 172 yards a game (best in NFL) and running backs to just over 100 yards (7th in NFL). With a fantastic mobile QB in Russell Wilson and a physical running back in Marshawn Lynch, they own one of the best rushing attacks and will pound it down other teams’ throats to win. Russell Wilson may not throw for a ton of yards (29th in NFL), but he knows how to make smart plays with the ball, moving around in the pocket and throwing few interceptions. Wilson has a great cast around him, but he is a vital part of Seattle’s success. In contrast, Peyton Manning is the heart and soul of the Denver Broncos. He led the NFL in nearly every major QB category and I don’t mean just this season. He broke the NFL records for most TD passes and passing yards in a single season. He has a good defense to back him up, but not nearly the caliber that Seattle puts on the field. While Seattle is stingy and wins by allowing few points, Denver does the opposite and will put as many on the board as it takes to win (e.g. Denver beat Dallas 51-48). So with strengths in different places, how can I tell who’s better? It sure is close, but Seattle holds a major edge in turnover differential. Not only does Seattle have the most takeaways in the NFL (39) but they have the 4th-fewest giveaways (19), giving them a +20 differential. Denver gives and takes the exact same amount (26), balancing their differential at 0. Creating and capitalizing off turnovers can be the difference in close playoff games and Seattle is the best in the NFL in that department. With this edge, Seattle rightfully deserves the TD Award for Best Team.

Runner-Up: Denver Broncos

Honorable Mentions: Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots

Worst Team

For every great team in the NFL, there’s a bad one. And in some cases, just plain terrible. A lot of teams did their best to win this award by getting crushed week after week, throwing interceptions, blowing late leads, etc. but one team outdid (or outdidn’t) them all.

HoustonTexansLogoWinner: Houston Texans

The Houston Texans started off the season 2-0, about as well as anyone expected. They then dropped their next 14. Two sentences don’t do justice to how bad Houston looked at times, but their 2-14 record is what they deserve. Some may say, “Hey cut them some slack, they lost in a lot of close games.” This is true, many of their games were decided by a touchdown or less. After 14 losses, however, I’ve run out of slack. Their two wins were also decided by a touchdown or less, so what am I supposed to do? Houston did not know how to win games this season, plain and simple. Even against the lowly Jaguars, who many expected to own the top pick in the 2014 draft, the Texans failed to win (twice). On the bright side, Houston will have that top pick and hopefully can find their way out of embarrassment.

Runner-Up: Washington Redskins

Honorable Mentions: Jacksonville Jaguars

Biggest Surprise Team

This award is my personal favorite because it epitomizes what the NFL is all about; you never really know what will happen year to year. Teams with under four wins making the playoffs the following year is becoming more and more common. Just last year, for example, the Minnesota Vikings made it to the playoffs after winning just three games the year before. Two teams in particular had major rebounds in 2013.

KC%20ChiefsWinner: Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs, winners of just two games in 2012, did more than just make it to the playoffs in 2013. KC won their first nine games of the season, led the AFC in takeaways, held opponents to less than 20 points a game, and owned one of the NFL’s best running backs. With new coach Andy Reid and new QB Alex Smith, improvements were expected, but an 11-win season was optimistic by anybody’s estimation. Kansas City shocked the NFL with their success and showed us first-hand that any team has a chance in any given year. Carolina followed closely behind in second, winning their division–when only Atlanta and New Orleans were expected to contend–and representing the 2nd-seed in the NFC.

Runner-Up: Carolina Panthers

Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Eagles

Biggest Disappointment 

While some teams will shatter expectations, others will crack under the pressure. This award is obviously the opposite of Biggest Surprise and goes to the team that did the least with the most. They show us that all the projections for division winners, playoff clinchers, and Super Bowl contenders mean nothing until games are actually won. Underachievers, flops, duds, etc. However you want to put it, this is not an award you want your team to win.

HoustonTexansLogoWinner: Houston Texans

Houston already won our award for worst team and deserve this one just as much. At best, the Texans were expected to contend for the Super Bowl. Coming off a 12-win, division-winning season, with a solid QB, star RB, and top-10 defense, Houston looked ready to make a serious run. At the very least, they were expected to clinch a playoff spot. In a weak AFC, where nine wins was enough to make it, many (including myself) didn’t even entertain the thought that Houston could miss out. Well, if only it turned out that bad and nothing worse. Houston not only missed the playoffs, but lost every single game after September 15. No fall was farther than the Texans’ this season.

Runner-Up: Atlanta Falcons

Honorable Mention: Washington Redskins

Best Offense

These next few awards are pretty simple; we take a look at the best and worst offenses and defenses of the NFL. While having the best offense isn’t everything, it sure helped the team that won become one of the best teams in the NFL. The race for Best Offense was no contest this year.

Denver-Broncos-LogoWinner: Denver Broncos

This should be a no-brainer to everyone. With playmakers all over the field, Denver scorched defenses with their passing attack and kept the opposition honest with a solid run game. Denver picked up 7317 offensive yards this season, 641 more than the next team. Their passing game collected 5444 yards (best in NFL), backed up by their running game with 1873 yards (8th in AFC). My favorite stat out of everything, however, is their staggering 37.9 points per game. That’s an average. When Denver is scoring 40+ points on most days, it’s no wonder why they are Super Bowl favorites.

Runner-Up: Philadelphia Eagles

Honorable Mentions: New England Patriots

Worst Offense

Nothing is worse than watching a slow offense. You’ve seen them. I’m talking about the ones that go three-and-out drive after drive, turn the ball over constantly, settle for field goals, etc. It gets really hard to watch and one team in particular was unbearable.

jacksonville_jaguars_logo_detailWinner: Jacksonville Jaguars

While some aspects of Jacksonville’s offense weren’t the worst in the NFL, they were still collectively the worst of the worst. Even with a new logo and new uniforms, the Jags couldn’t find a solution to their offensive woes. They picked up 4701 yards (31st in NFL) and rushed for 1260 (31st). To their credit, their passing offense was better than 11 other teams’ and didn’t giveaway the ball that much (27 turnovers, one more than Denver). However, like with Denver, the most telling stat is the ability to put points on the board. In that department, Jacksonville ranked dead last with just 15.4 points a game.

Runner-Up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Honorable Mentions: New York Giants

Best Defense

A good defense can take major pressure off the offense. Knowing that the other team will have trouble scoring, an offensive coordinator doesn’t have to take as many risks and can spend his time wearing down the other team. Just like in Best Offense, this award was an easy pick.

pfiobtreaq7j0pzvadktsc6jvWinner: Seattle Seahawks

Seattle’s physical defense made it easy on me this year. The Seahawks allowed the least total yards in the NFL (4378), the least passing yards (2752), and least points per game (14.4). To top that all off, they forced the most turnovers in the NFL (39). They’ve held powerful offenses like Carolina, San Francisco, and New Orleans to seven points or less. I can’t wait to see how this defense performs in the playoffs.

Runner-Up: Carolina Panthers

Honorable Mentions: San Francisco 49ers

Worst Defense

Handing out the award for Worst Defense was a little tougher than the rest. I found that a lot of defenses suffered in different ways. Some couldn’t force a turnover to save their lives, some allowed touchdown after touchdown, and others simply allowed large chunks of yardage.

New_Minnesota_Vikings_LogoWinner: Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota was the only team in the NFL to allow 30 points per game and that was ultimately the deciding factor when picking the league’s worst defense. They also ranked 31st in passing yards allowed, an aspect of defense that is becoming more and more important as QBs throw for more yards year after year. Lastly, they only managed to force 20 turnovers, which ranks 15th in the NFC. They may not have a terrible running D, but the other stats are enough to convince me that Minnesota was the worst at getting offenses off the field.

Runner-Up: Jacksonville Jaguars

Honorable Mention: Atlanta Falcons

Best Division

There was only one division that sent three teams to the playoffs, but there was another that yielded three 10+ win teams. These two divisions stood out in 2013, but for me there was a clear winner.

nfc-west-300x300 Winner: NFC West

The NFC West won Best Division last year and followed it up with an even better showing in 2013. Seattle won the division at 13-3 and already holds the award for Best Team. The second place finisher, San Francisco, was not far behind at 12-4. The Arizona Cardinals, 10-6, were as good a third team as we’ve seen. And in last place, St. Louis finished at 7-9, better than any other last place team and earning quality wins over Indy and New Orleans. This was an all-around fantastic division and each of the four teams proved to be difficult opponents throughout the season. The runner-up was the AFC West, who sent three teams to the postseason. While that’s impressive, the overall strength of the NFC West cannot be matched.

Runner-Up: AFC West

Honorable Mention: AFC East

Worst Division

Determining the NFL’s worst division was actually more challenging than determining the best. Is a division as bad as its worst team? Or does its winner show us a better representation? I tried to weigh all the teams somewhat equally and picked a winner, though an argument could be made for the runner-up.

afc-south Winner: AFC South

In the division where four-win Jacksonville finished third, the AFC South isn’t doing itself any favors. The worst team in the NFL, Houston, owned the bottom and seven-win Tennessee managed to hold second after an up-and-down season. The winner was Indianapolis, who won 11-games but dropped games to Arizona, Miami, and St. Louis by a total of 63 points. While Indy is still a strong playoff team, the rest of the division suffered and gave opponents something to look forward to when facing the AFC South.

Runner-Up: NFC North

Honorable Mention: NFC East

Best Conference

In this brand new category, I crown a definitive winner for the NFL’s best conference. Of course, there are only two eligible nominees but the conference clash has always interested me nonetheless. Which conference is king?

NFC_PRM_20101Winner: NFC

The NFC won the head-to-head this year 34-30, though it was the strength of the conference’s playoff field that stood out to me. The NFC boasts three teams with 12 wins or more–compared to two from the AFC–and the first team to miss out on the postseason was 10-win Arizona, compared to 8-8 Pittsburgh. Green Bay sticks out like a sore thumb at 8-7-1 among the better NFC records but with Aaron Rodgers back, Green Bay is better than their record indicates. Overall, the NFC proved to be the superior conference with multiple Super Bowl contenders in Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco, and New Orleans.

MVP

The only player award I give out is for league MVP. There are tons of stars in the NFL today, but who’s the best of the best? Some years it’s a tough choice. Not this time.

Peyton's 2013 regular season showed us why he's one of the best QBs in history.

Peyton’s 2013 regular season showed us why he’s one of the best QBs in history.

Winner: Peyton Manning

If you don’t know why Peyton Manning should win MVP, you haven’t been watching him enough. He’s the leader of the best offense in football, earning the most passing yards and passing TDs in 2013. He’s been deadly accurate and has only thrown 10 interceptions out of 659 throws. Need more evidence? Well, all that is nothing compared to how some of his numbers rank in the NFL record books. With his 5,477 passing yards and 55 TDs in a single season, he is now the top QB of both categories. At 37, he gave Denver one of his best seasons of his long career and coming off four surgeries just a couple of years ago, it is truly unbelievable what he has been able to do. Peyton Manning is your NFL MVP by far.

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TD Awards: 2012

It’s been a year, but the TD Awards are finally back. In case you missed last year’s awards, I’ll explain how they work. The TD Awards are broken into categories such as best team, worst defense, best division, etc. Nine teams, two divisions, and one player will receive awards. Some awards are good and others are bad.  I can tell you already that we have some new teams receiving awards this year as well as some repeats. To see who won last year for yourself, check out TD Awards: 2011. Just as we did last year, we start with 2012’s best regular season team.

Best Team of 2012

Obviously it’s the big game that decides the NFL’s “best” team, but here we are focusing on the regular season only. A lot of teams shined this season but the decision was a clear one for me.

Denver-Broncos-Logo Winner: Denver Broncos

After starting off 2-3, Denver never looked back. They won their next 11 games, torching teams in the process. Peyton Manning was the face and the arm of the Broncos this year and he deserves a ton of credit. But we can’t overlook the defense. They are in the top five in passing defense, rushing defense, and points allowed. Green Bay was last year’s winner, but they lost in their first playoff game to the eventual champions. Can Denver avoid the same fate?

Runner-Up: New England Patriots

Honorable Mention: Atlanta Falcons

Worst Team

As good as some teams were, there were a handful of stinkers to contrast. Cases could be made for a couple of teams for this award, but the No. 1 overall draft pick doesn’t lie.

KC%20ChiefsWinner: Kansas City Chiefs

Experts and fans alike call the NFL an offensive league. It’s fitting that the Chiefs are the NFL’s statistically worst offense and worst team. They were unwatchable at times, only managing to put up single digits in six of their games. St. Louis won this abysmal award last year and bounced back. It’s crazy to imagine, but perhaps KC can do the same.

Runner-Up: Jacksonville Jaguars

Honorable Mentions: Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles

Biggest Surprise Team

One of my favorite things about the NFL is the ability for teams to rise up after a terrible year. Three teams with five wins or less in 2011 made it to the postseason this year. For some perspective, imagine the Browns, Raiders, and Jaguars going to the playoffs next year. Hard to believe? Well we watched it happen this year.

Minnesota-Vikings-LogoWinner: Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings’ story this year can get even more amazing this year when you examine it from different angles. We all know they won just three games last year, but also consider the fact that they had one of the worst passing offenses in the league. And what’s even more surprising is the fact that many wrote them off just weeks before the end of the season. Four wins later and they make the playoffs, shocking the NFL.

Runner-Up: Indianapolis Colts

Honorable Mention: Washington Redskins

Biggest Disappointment 

Sometimes the pressure to perform can be too much for some teams. Many teams entered the season with high hopes and expectations but simply did not rise to the occasion.

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Congratulations to the Eagles for being the first team to win the same category two years in a row. Ok, maybe that’s not a good thing considering their abysmal play two years running. Let’s focus on what went wrong this year. This was the year that all the talent and speed was supposed to mesh into a division winner, or at the very least a playoff team. Not only did they miss the playoffs, but they won half the games they did a year ago and had a NFL worst -24 turnover differential. They benched Michael Vick with a quarter of the season left and Nick Foles didn’t look much better. This time it looks like their awful play will come with some changes. Both Vick and Andy Reid are surely to be on different teams in 2013.

Runner-Up: Detroit Lions

Honorable Mention: New Orleans Saints

Best Spoiler

I am a big fan of spoilers. I love watching bottom-of-the-barrel teams ruining the hopes of the playoff hopefuls. And that’s why I was severely disappointed to see virtually nobody play the role of spoiler. Hardly anyone was even eligible for this award. A team is required to be a non-playoff team who beats playoff hopefuls in the last six weeks of the season. Due to the lack of performance in this category, no award will be given out for the first time in the TD Awards’ short history.

Winner: N/A

Runner-Up: N/A

Honorable Mention: N/A

Best Offense

There was no doubt about this one. One team clearly ruled the league with their offense above all others.

new-england-patriots-logoWinner: New England Patriots

The Pats simply dominated their opposition with huge scoring sprees. They led the NFL in total points scored, 557, and nobody was even close to competing with them. Denver was second in the same category and was 76 points off New England’s pace. The Patriots did it mostly through the air as they always have, but their running game came alive this year as well. Their running game ranked 7th in the NFL to go along with that top five passing game. This team will be hard to stop in the playoffs.

Runner-Up: Denver Broncos

Honorable Mentions: New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers

Worst Offense

One of the most frustrating things for a team is the inability to move the football. After countless three-and-outs in one game, it can feel helpless to put points on the board. A lot of teams had problems with moving the ball as well as giving the other team the ball a little too much.

KC%20ChiefsWinner: Kansas City Chiefs

Along with being the worst team overall, KC had the worst offense in the NFL. They barely managed to score over 13 points a game not to mention their 37 turnovers (T-1st in NFL). I have a feeling KC will be drafting offense early in 2013.

Runner-Up: Philadelphia Eagles

Honorable Mentions: Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals

Best Defense

Great defenses seem hard to come by these days, with many games turning into shoot-outs. However, there were still a few gems out there that made it tough on the great QBs and offenses of the NFL.

pfiobtreaq7j0pzvadktsc6jvWinner: Seattle Seahawks

Seattle’s offense took a little while to get going, but their defense has been consistently good from the start. On average, they kept teams under 16 points and didn’t have any trouble getting the ball back to their offense. Once their offense started getting hot, this team looked scary good. They say defense wins championships, so Seattle should be encouraged.

Runner-Up: Chicago Bears

Honorable Mentions: San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots

Worst Defense

The only thing more frustrating than constantly failing to convert on 3rd down is watching a team convert almost every one! This is what a lot of fans had to watch as their defense looked as if they had fewer players on the field than the offense.

718px-Tennessee_Titans_Logo.svgWinner: Tennessee Titans

If the Titans could improve their defense, they would have a legitimate chance for a playoff spot. They won six games this year with a dreadful D that allowed nearly 30 points a game. They were blown away early in many games, leaving them helpless in the 2nd half.

Runner-Up: New Orleans Saints

Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Eagles

Best Division

This category awards the strongest division in the NFL, which is a task easier said than done. It was a close two-man race for this award, where both divisions yielded a strong title winner and solid wildcard team.

nfc-west-300x300 Winner: NFC West

This was a super-close race with the NFC North. A strong case could be made for either division but it was the strength of the playoff teams in the NFC West that made the difference. I believe Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the league and we all know San Francisco can play. And who doesn’t love the Rams, giving so many good teams trouble throughout the season? Arizona’s abysmal losing streak dragged this division down a bit, but no more than the Lions did to the NFC North. I said it once, but I’ll say it again; this was a really close race. The NFC North sent two teams to the playoffs, yielded three double-digit-win teams, and led the league with 35 total wins. But overall, I liked the collective strength of the NFC West.

Runner-Up: NFC North

Honorable Mention: AFC North, AFC South

Worst Division

This was another close one, but in a different way. What makes up a bad division? A good division winner with three average teams? Or a great division winner with three dreadful teams? Last year, I leaned more towards the former but this year I had to go the other way.

afc-west Winner: AFC West

The Denver Broncos are the best team in the NFL right now, so how could their division be the worst? Just look at their division competition. San Diego was yet another disappointment this year and is now looking for a new coach. Oakland only managed to win four games and Kansas City………well, we all know about Kansas City by now. No discredit to Denver, but this division was awful.

Runner-Up: NFC East

Honorable Mention: AFC East

2013 MVP

For the one individual TD Award, I reveal my pick for the 2013 NFL MVP. We have two clear candidates this year that both fully deserve it. For me, it comes down to that “putting the team on your back” mentality, and one player exemplified that perfectly this year.

158433712_crop_exact Winner: Adrian Peterson

A few weeks ago, the Vikings only had an outside chance for the playoffs. Tearing his ACL and MCL less than a year before, Adrian Peterson was a great story throughout the year and missing the playoffs would leave it at that. A great story. But the fact that they made the playoffs brings his comeback to the next level. We can talk about his amazing stats all day. We can talk about his NFL-leading 2,097 yards, just 9 short of the single-season record. We can talk about his 12 touchdowns and 3 fumbles. But to me, it’s what he meant to his team that made him truly valuable. He took a team that had won three games in 2011 to the playoffs. This was a team that was ranked 31st in passing offense this year, in a “passing” league. He’s competing with Peyton Manning for the MVP, who also had a fantastic comeback year. Manning led his team to 13 wins. But to me, it was the fact that Peterson had so little to work with that made him special. Not to take anything away from Peyton, but he did have a great defense to back him up. Peterson was on a team with a bad passing offense and an average defense. I could go on and on. When it all comes down to it, Adrian Peterson is the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

TD Awards: 2011

It’s finally here! The first-ever annual TD Awards, where I hand out awards for various categories relating to the NFL. Now, don’t be fooled; your team getting a TD may not always be a good thing. The categories range from best team to worst team to best spoiler to MVP. There are all kinds of different categories with awards waiting to be handed out. After deep research and intense scrutiny, I have made my decisions. Let’s get started.

Best Team of 2011

I won’t leave you hanging like the Oscars. Why save the best for last? I don’t know either, so I’ll be giving out the most prestigious TD first. This award determines the absolute best team of the regular season overall.

 Winner: Green Bay Packers

Going 15-1, the Packers left me with no doubt in my mind that they ruled the 2011 season. With one of the scariest offenses in the league and a turnover-hungry defense, Green Bay shredded teams week after week. They consistently topped my power rankings and had only one misstep, a five-point loss to the Chiefs. Thankfully, this was one of the easier awards to decide.

Runner-Up: New England Patriots

Honorable Mention: New Orleans Saints

 

Worst Team

I didn’t like having to give this one out, but it had to be done. With every winner there has to be a loser, and these teams knew a lot about losing. The very best loser was…

Winner: St. Louis Rams

With a poor defense and even worse offense, the Rams’ season quickly changed from one of rebuilding and division title hopes to the worst team in the NFL. They have the worst record in the NFL, sharing with Indianapolis at 2-14. They simply could not put up points (12.06 pts/game). And worst of all, they won just enough games to miss out on the first overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Runner-Up: Indianapolis Colts

Honorable Mention: Minnesota Vikings

 

Biggest Surprise Team

This was one of the closest races for a TD. Two teams stood out to me when I considered who shattered expectations coming into the season. This award is given to the team who surprised everyone in terms of success. Expected to occupy the bottom of the NFL, these teams showed that preseason predictions mean nothing on the field.

Winner: San Francisco 49ers

Coming out of nowhere with a new coach and limited talent, the 49ers took the NFL by storm in the first half of the season and on. Not only did they win a division they finished 3rd in last year, they stole the #2 seed in the NFC! They also sent eight players to the Pro Bowl. No stars? Yeah right! This is a true “team” that has the potential to cause trouble in the playoffs.

Runner-Up: Cincinnati Bengals

Honorable Mentions: Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos

 

Biggest Disappointment 

Once again, this was a close race. But unlike the last award, nobody wants to receive this TD. Probably because this category is actually the exact inverse of the last one. Who had high expectations but fell short…or WAY short? Two teams stood out once again, disappointing countless fans, coaches, and owners and bringing unbridled joy to their rivals.

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Ominously labeled the “dream team” by a certain back-up QB (*ahem* Vince Young), the Eagles went into the 2011 season after a very active offseason. They added many formidable players to their already division-winning roster, such as Jason Babbin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Nnamdi Asomugha. But this dream roster soon fizzled after a 1-4 start. It didn’t get much better after that. They ended up finishing at 8-8, not incredibly bad after the start. But I’m more than sure that their last four wins will do nothing to make up for a season full of missed tackles, dropped passes, and worst of all, no playoffs.

Runner-Up: San Diego Chargers

Honorable Mention: New York Jets

 

Best Spoiler

This is an interesting category. With their season in shambles and nothing to play for, who gave playoff contenders the most trouble in the second half of the season? There were plenty of them this year, as lowly teams suddenly got hot near the end. One team did it especially well.

Winner: Miami Dolphins

Remember when Miami started 0-7? I always thought they looked better than their record indicated and they proved me right by winning six of their last nine and taking out 3 playoff contenders along the way. After smashing Kansas City, they gave the Raiders a painful loss and finally, finished off the Jets. I admire a team who keeps trying even after their season is shot. Apparently, they were still looking to make the playoffs after losing seven straight! After going 6-10, they can at least takeaway the fact that they gave six teams fits who weren’t expecting it. Well done.

Runner-Up: Arizona Cardinals

Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs

 

Best Offense

Another close contest, three teams actually could have received this award. Three explosive offenses lead their respective teams to great records. Ultimately, it came down to who was the most balanced. All of them had elite passing games, but did they have a running game to back that up? What about a good O-line? This team faired best overall.

Winner: New Orleans Saints

The Saints just beat out the Pack and Pats for this one. But I am confident I made the right decision. They led the league in yards, by a LOT, as well as passing yards and also produced a sixth-placed rushing yardage along with the second-most points scored all season, trailing Green Bay by just 13. A lot to take in? That’s what defenses thought all season when they faced this unstoppable offense.

Runner-Up: Green Bay Packers

Honorable Mention: New England Patriots

 

Worst Offense

So we know who’s offense destroyed teams. What about an offense that dreaded walking back on the field? This one is pretty self-explanatory. A lot of teams had horrible offenses, but one stood out to me.

Winner: St. Louis Rams

To me, offense is all about putting up points. This team did that just about the worst in the league, scoring 12.1 points a game (didn’t I mention that earlier?). Just dreadful. Scoring 12 points in any game should send you home with a loss in my opinion. Even outside of points they didn’t fare well. Both their passing game and running game suffered. At times, it got so bad it was just offensive (pun intended).

Runner-Up: Jacksonville Jaguars

Honorable Mentions: Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Best Defense

As the Drew Brees’ and the Aaron Rodgers’ of the NFL ran amok all season, were there any defenses that could hold their own? Sure there were. These defenses consistently kept points off the board, caused turnovers, and sacked QBs.

Winner: San Francisco 49ers

Just like offense is about putting up points, defense is about keeping them down. The 49ers were 2nd in the league in that department. They are also 4th in yardage allowed. Oh boy, I can already hear the Steeler’s obnoxious fan base screaming. Yes, the Steelers led both categories. However, they finished dead last in takeaways. If you want to earn the TD for Best Defense, the team must excel in turnovers. Turnovers are absolute game changers. San Francisco led the league in takeaways, and that’s huge. Sorry, Pittsburgh.

Runner-Up: Pittsburgh Steelers

Honorable Mentions: Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans

 

Worst Defense

I always thought it was hard to win with a bad defense. Apparently not, because some of the nominees for this category are big winners. But the winner of the TD is no winner at all. Their defense was crippling as it ultimately led to a horrible season.

Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay finished in the bottom three in both yardage and points allowed, with turnovers lacking as well. Countless offenses had field days with this defense, as they allowed an average 30.9 points per game. I can’t help to think their 10-straight losses had something to do with that.

Runner-Up: Minnesota Vikings

Honorable Mentions: Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots

 

Best Division

Thought the TD Awards could only go to teams? No way! They can go to divisions too! This particular award was a “team” effort. This division has the best teams compared to the other divisions. Simple.

 Winner: AFC North

It’s fairly rare the three teams from one division make it to the playoffs, and that’s exactly what happened here. Three AFC North teams in the playoffs pretty much clinched the TD for them. Plus, the Browns aren’t as bad as you may think. This one was pretty easy.

Runner-Up: NFC North

Honorable Mention: NFC South

 

Worst Division

There is always one division that is just dreadful. Remember last year? The 7-9 Seahawks made it to the playoffs! This year wasn’t quite that extreme, but still bad. Many divisions didn’t live up to their reputation while others lost elite teams they once had.

 Winner: AFC South

The AFC South was disappointing to say the least. They failed to produce an elite team and only had two real playoff contenders. Every other division has at least three, even if they were far-fetched. The Colts and Jags dragged this division down with their abysmal records and the Texan’s division winning 10-6 record isn’t very impressive either.

Runner-Up: AFC West

Honorable Mention: NFC East

 

MVP

The TD Awards are geared more toward teams than players, but the MVP is one of the biggest awards handed out in the NFL. I would be remiss if I didn’t include an MVP award. The MVP is obviously given to the most valuable player in the NFL.

 Winner: TBD

It’s too close to call! Sorry to all those disappointed, but I will be making and posting my MVP decision in the near future, so be sure to check every now and then. To me, three players could get the MVP but only two really deserve it. No disrespect to Tom Brady, but his performance this season was simply overshadowed by Rodgers and Brees. Anyone could make a case for each player. Both have had remarkable seasons. I’ll be sure to come to a final decision after much consideration for both candidates. Also, I promise not to choose both to win. I don’t believe in that. But for now, we wait. Because this award is serious.