With the calendar now turning to
November, the halfway mark of the NFL season is now behind us. So far, most of
the season has gone as expected: New England is on top of the AFC, the Browns
are on the bottom and the AFC South is still a mess.
However, we have had some
surprises in the first half that no one could see coming. All the teams in the
NFC East are .500 or better, the 2016 Carolina Panthers are nothing like their
2015 counterpart, and the Falcons are for real.
And inevitably, we’re already hearing familiar
names being thrown around for individual awards like New England’s Quarterback,
Tom Brady. But that's not as interesting as the curve-balls.
In this list we go through the players who have either elevated
their game or have rebounded from a poor year that aren’t getting the
recognition they properly deserve.
10. Matt Ryan
Yes, Ryan’s name is being thrown
around a bit for the MVP Award and yet, even with that he had to be added to this
list. It may seem like ancient history now, but it wasn’t long ago when Ryan
was considered only to be an average quarterback, and it was hard to argue with
Although he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 and
had already been to three Pro-Bowls, the memory of Ryan unsuccessfully leading
his 13-win 2010 and 2012 Atlanta Falcons teams to a Super Bowl appearance were
too strong for anyone to consider Matt Ryan to be at the level of an elite QB.
It even got to a point after the last three years of missing the post-season
that I heard from many people close or in the NFL saying that Ryan wasn’t much
more than an average QB.
Then this year rolls around. Ryan
turns 31, the prime age for most pocket quarterbacks, and everything changes.
Ryan is now posting career-high numbers for himself. He’s second in the league
in passing yards per game with 331 yards and currently is rated with a grade of
82.3 in ESPN’S Total QBR, ranked third behind only Tom Brady and Dak Prescott.
If Atlanta can continue this roll they’re on, then Ryan has a chance to go from
an average quarterback in people’s mind in 2015, to league MVP in 2016.
However, if he fails to lead Atlanta to a Super Bowl, you can guarantee the
doubt will start to leak back in again.
I'm a NFL writer for WhatCulture, a college scout for GM Jr Scouting and a NBA and College Football Podcaster for FanRag Sports. I'm a huge fan of WhatCulture Wrestling, Gaming and Entertainment, especially their Youtube channel. I'm also a cuddly fat kid that loves good romantic comedies.