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Patriots Mid-Season Awards and Predictions

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Who have been the Patriots top performers thus far this year? What will the rest of the 2010 season hold? PatsPulpit scribes hand out awards for the first half of the season, and make predictions for the second half.

Best Rookie:

Richard Hill: Devin McCourty

Has played every snap possible. Has played well. While he may not rival Aaron Hernandez in terms of stats, I feel like McCourty's impact is greater.

Mike Dussault: Devin McCourty

Gotten better every week, starting to make plays.

Stephen Verman: Devin McCourty

Not many teams in the NFL can get by when their best cornerback is a rookie. I really like McCourty’s physical style. Even against the Browns when there were some important completions made against him, it was more because of great throws by Colt McCoy than poor coverage. Devin’s fearlessness, dedication and team-first attitude sets the example all Patriots rookies should follow.


Comeback Player:

Richard Hill: Jerod Mayo

Where did he go last year and where has he come from this year?

Mike Dussault: Wes Welker

How could he not be, he really shouldn't even be playing yet if he were a mere mortal recovering from ACL surgery.

Stephen Verman: Jerod Mayo

Mayo was not bad last year, but after eight games this season he is only seven tackles shy of his 2009 total. With all the tackles he’s in on you’d think he could rip the ball out once in a while, but that’s like asking why your winning lottery ticket didn’t come with a free soda.


Offensive MVP

Richard Hill: Aaron Hernandez

He's getting open and making catches. He's Tom Brady's new best friend.

Mike Dussault: Tom Brady

Making the plays when they need them.

Stephen Verman: Tom Brady

It hasn’t always been pretty, but Brady is getting the job done. He’s done a good job of taking care of the ball, and has adjusted his game following the departure of Randy Moss. He’s yet to return to elite form, but that could be coming. Tom is a great cold-weather QB, and all but one (at Detroit) of the Patriots remaining games will be chilly.


Defensive MVP

Richard Hill: Jerod Mayo

He's making plays EVERYWHERE.

Mike Dussault: Vince Wilfork

Plays all over the line, enabling Jerod Mayo to return to tackling machine status.

Stephen Verman: Vince Wilfork

Wilfork has set the tone on defense with his tenacity and willingness to do whatever is asked. He is the anti-Albert Haynesworth. After receiving a big contract he has been even more dedicated and shown great maturity and leadership. If only if he could be cloned and play both NT and DE.


Special Teams MVP

Richard Hill: Tracey White

Playing great special teams and is everywhere near the ball.

Mike Dussault: Brandon Tate

Two returns for TDs has made the Patriots special teams dangerous again.

Stephen Verman: Brandon Tate

Tate is averaging 29.8 yards per kick return, and is tied for the league lead with two touchdowns. The Browns refused to kick to him, which was a wise move. Tracey White also deserves praise, as it would be difficult to perform his role any better than he has.


Player of the (Mid)Season

Richard Hill: Jerod Mayo.

Mike Dussault: Tom Brady

As always, he's the straw stirring the drink.

Stephen Verman: Tom Brady

Tough decision on this one. Mayo and McCourty have been terrific, and Wilfork deserves recognition despite his lack of stats, but Tom is the one who bears the most pressure and responsibility. The Patriots are tied for the best record in the NFL, and he deserves credit for leading them there.

PREDICTIONS:

Patriots regular season record:

Richard Hill: 12-4

Mike Dussault: 12-4

Stephen Verman: 12-4

AFC East Standings:

Richard Hill:

1. Patriots, 12-4

2. Jets, 11-5

3. Dolphins, 8-8

4. Bills, 4-12

Mike Dussault:

1. Patriots, 12-4

2. Jets, 10-6

3. Dolphins, 9-7

4. Bills, 2-14

Stephen Verman:

1. Patriots, 12-4

2. Jets, 11-5

3. Miami, 9-7

4. Bills, 1-15

Playoff Predictions:

Richard Hill:

AFC:
1. Patriots
2. Steelers
3. Titans
4. Chiefs
5. Jets
6. Colts

NFC:
1. Giants
2. Falcons
3. Seahawks
4. Packers
5. Saints
6. Redskins

Wild Card Round:

Titans over Colts

Jets over Chiefs

Redskins over Seahawks

Packers over Saints

Divisional Round:


Patriots over Jets

Steelers over Titans

Giants over Redskins

Packers over Falcons

Championship Round:


Patriots over Steelers

Giants over Packers


Super Bowl:

Patriots over Giants

Mike Dussault:

AFC:
1. Colts
2. Patriots
3. Steelers
4. Chiefs
5. Ravens
6. Jets

NFC:
1. Giants
2. Saints
3. Packers
4. Seahawks
5. Eagles
6. Falcons

Wild Card Round:

Steelers over Jets

Ravens over Chiefs

Falcons over Packers

Eagles over Seahawks

Divisional Round:

Patriots over Steelers

Ravens over Colts

Falcons over Giants

Saints over Eagles

Championship Round:

Ravens over Patriots

Falcons over Saints

Super Bowl:

Ravens over Falcons

Stephen Verman:

AFC:
1. Steelers
2. Patriots
3. Colts
4. Chiefs
5. Ravens
6. Jets

NFC:
1. Saints
2. Giants
3. Packers
4. Rams
5. Falcons
6. Eagles

Wild Card Round:

Ravens over Chiefs

Colts over Jets

Eagles over Packers

Falcons over Rams

Divisional Round:

Patriots over Ravens

Steelers over Colts

Giants over Falcons

Eagles over Saints

Championship Round:

Patriots over Steelers

Eagles over Giants

Super Bowl:

Patriots over Eagles