Mid-season MVP award predictions

Josh Purnell , Courier Staff

We are officially at the halfway point of the NFL season and so far, we have seen some impressive performances on the field.

Some players are once again having another magnificent season so far and there are players who have sent a shock wave through the league. During the first half of the season, I’ve been changing my mid-season MVP award ballot based on what I’ve been seeing each week. Every week it gets tougher and tougher because so many players have been amazing to watch. Now, I officially have my mid-season MVP award ballots. Some may not be a surprise and some may be a surprise, but here they are:

5. Joey Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers

This might be ludicrous but I’m still waiting for the moment a defensive player wins Most Valuable Player. Last season, Aaron Donald was my number two pick behind Patrick Mahomes for MVP. The last defensive player to win MVP was Lawrence Taylor. Taylor won MVP in 1986 and led the league with 20.5 sacks. Bosa has been by far the best defensive player in the league and he’s only a rookie. His 8.5 sacks so far this year is part of the reason, the San Francisco 49ers are the number one team in the league with an 8-0 record. Defensively, the 49ers are ranked the No. 1 defense in the league and No. 3 team with the most sacks. If Bosa continues to have a Pro Bowl season like he’s having now, he will be unanimously the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

4. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

McCaffrey is the most dominant running back in the league right now and it’s not even close. This guy is a true highlight reel player. He can do it all and for the opposing defense, it’s scary to see. The fact that each opponent they face each week knows he’s the focal point of their offense and he continues to perform at a high level each week explains why he’s my mid-season MVP candidate. McCaffrey is currently second, leading rushing in yards with 881 yards. He is ranked No. 1 in rushing touchdowns with 10. McCaffrey also ranked No. 1 averaging 110.1 yards per game. There are eight games left in the season. If McCaffrey continues to play this way, don’t be surprised if he cracks the 2,000 yards mark by the end of the season.

3. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

I don’t think there is anyone in the league that has a more impressive highlight reel than Deshaun Watson. This guy can do it all and the last thing a defense wants to deal with is a QB that knows how to throw and run the ball. Even when the defense pressures him, he has the ability to extend plays. This is why Watson’s sack rate went down from 10.9 percent to 7.6 percent. The Houston Texans’ offense is currently ranked the third best offense in the league. Watson has 432 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. With a 107.1 passing rate, he’s only thrown five interceptions so far this season. Last season, Watson threw seven interceptions mid-way through the season. Houston is currently fourth in the AFC conference with a 6-3 record. If Watson continues to play at a high level and create more highlight reel plays, we’ll be seeing Houston back in the playoffs.

2. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

When Jackson was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, he told Deion Sanders he would deliver Baltimore a Super Bowl. That is one bold statement to make for someone that was drafted last in the first round. Absolutely nobody believes Jackson could play the quarterback position on a professional level, he was told to switch his position to a receiver, but he refused to do so. Jackson felt a lot of doubt coming from the league and that was okay with him.

Since the 2019 season started, Jackson has been all about business, terrorizing every opponent the Baltimore Ravens’ face. Every time I take a glance at him out there on the field, I feel like I’m watching Michael Vick. Their playing style is the same, the only difference is that Jackson is more accurate than Vick. The Ravens stand as the second team in the AFC conference. They are currently on a four-game winning streak and this past Sunday’s game was probably the biggest reason he’s No. 2 on my list. Lamar and company beat the New England Patriots 37-20. New England, who has the best defense in the league, could not find a way to stop Jackson. Jackson’s numbers may not be the same as all the other QB, but he is the clear-cut focal point of the offense and he is playing phenomenally. Jackson has 1,813 passing yards and 12 touchdowns. He rushed for 637 yards and five touchdowns. He is currently the leading rusher at the quarterback position. If Jackson continues to play this way, we’ll be seeing the Ravens in the AFC Championship.

1. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson is having the best season of his career so far. He’s literally carrying this franchise on his back and he’s been nothing but amazing while doing so. For a 5-foot-11 QB who looks calm and collected in the pocket under pressure, he seems to have figured out the game. He knows he doesn’t have the “Legion of Boom” anymore and so he took it upon himself to change his game and play like the franchise quarterback you are seeing upon your very eyes. With the receiveing core that absolutely any quarterback would have struggled with besides Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, it is a sight to behold. His ability to escape the pocket and throw an accurate pass on the run is beautiful to watch. Wilson is currently third in the league with 2,505 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. He has thrown 200 out of 293 completions and only has one interception. The Seahawks currently stand as the No. 4 team in the NFC conference with a 7-2 record. They are ranked fourth in total offense and fifth in the league, averaging 27.1 points per game. The success of the offense is because of Wilson and being able to dominate at a high level with not one legitimate Pro Bowl offensive player on his team, is something magical to see.