NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Last Week: 1
The Saints need just one win over the final two weeks to clinch homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Last Week: 4
Phillip Rivers and Mike Williams led the Chargers to an improbable comeback victory at Arrowhead Stadium, erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. The Chargers scored the final two touchdowns—a Justin Jackson TD run with 3:49 left to play and a Williams touchdown reception with four seconds remaining. Rather than going for the tie, the Chargers successfully converted a two-point attempt on a pass from Rivers to Williams to win 29-28.
Williams accumulated 95 total yards, three touchdowns (one rushing) and the winning two-point conversion in a career-performance on Thursday Night Football. Rivers threw for 313 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, securing the road win despite losing star receiver Keenan Allen to a hip injury in the second quarter.
The Chargers clinched their first playoff berth since 2013—the last year they defeated the Chiefs after losing the previous nine meetings to their divisional foe.
Last Week: 2
Safety Eric Berry, recovering from a heel injury, appeared in a game for the first time in more than a season and a half, but was only permitted to play the first half by the coaching staff. The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro will be groomed back into regular playing time. The Chiefs gave up just seven points with Berry on the field—but surrendered 22 points with him on the sidelines.
Defensive lineman Chris Jones tied an NFL record by recording a sack in his 10th consecutive game. He had 2.5 sacks on the evening, increasing his season total to 14.
Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdowns, both coming in the first quarter, and completed 24 of 34 passes for 243 yards with a 110.3 passer rating.
Running back Damien Williams shined in the absence of Spencer Ware (hamstring). He rushed 10 times for 49 yards and two touchdowns and hauled in six receptions for 74 additional yards.
The Chiefs hold the tiebreaker over the Chargers due to their superior division record. Therefore, they control their destiny for the AFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Last Week: 6
The Bears defeated the Packers and clinched their first division crown since 2010, going from worst-to-first in the NFC North after winning just five games last season. The Bears entered the season with four straight last-place finishes in the North, but rose to the top of the division behind the league's most dominant defense.
Chicago has wrapped up its home portion of the schedule, posting a 7-1 mark at Soldier Field this season.
Last Week: 3
Jared Goff choked on Sunday Night Football for the second week in a row. He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and missed wide-open receivers all game long in the shocking home loss to the Eagles.
The Rams have lost two straight for the first time since Sean McVay took over the coaching duties in 2017.
Last Week: 7
DeAndre Hopkins lit up the Jets on Saturday, catching 10 passes for 170 yards and two TDs to help the Texans avoid an upset.
Last Week: 5
The Patriots were called for 14 (accepted) penalties for 106 yards in their loss at Pittsburgh.
New England has lost back-to-back games in the month of December for the first time since 2002.
The Patriots close the season with two home games at Gillette Stadium, where they are undefeated in 2018. They finished the year 3-5 away from home, marking the first season since 2009 that they posted a losing record on the road. This will also be the first time since 2009 in which the Patriots fail to reach the 12-win plateau.
Last Week: 10
Rookie running back Jaylen Samuels, filling in for the injured James Conner (sprained left ankle), ran for a career-high 142 yards in his second NFL start to guide the Steelers past the Patriots.
The Steelers snapped their three-game losing streak and now travel to New Orleans, where they have not beaten the Saints since 1990.
Last Week: 12
The Colts blanked the Cowboys 23-0 behind their underappreciated defensive unit and emerging running back Marlon Mack. The Cowboys converted just 4 of 12 third-down situations and 1 of 5 fourth-down plays.
Mack rushed for 139 yards and two scores against a Cowboys' defense that entered the contest with the third-best mark against the run.
Last Week: 11
The Ravens maintained their run-first strategy in their 20-12 victory over the Bucs, totaling 242 yards on the ground. Gus Edwards rushed for 104 yards and a score, while rookie QB Lamar Jackson gained 95 yards with his legs.
Jackson, who improved to 4-1 as a starter, completed 14 of 23 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown.
Last Week: 8
The Seahawks were flagged 14 times for a franchise-worst 148 penalty yards in their overtime loss to the 49ers.
Second-year pro Chris Carson was the lone bright spot, rushing for 119 yards and a TD. He added six catches for 29 yards.
Last Week: 9
In getting shutout by the opposing Colts, the Cowboys fell to 2-5 on the road this season. Even with the loss, the Cowboys can clinch the NFC East for the second time in three seasons next week when they host the Bucs.
Last Week: 13
New offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, taking over the playcalling duties for the recently fired John DeFilippo, put forth a run-first game plan. This worked to near-perfection as the Vikings scored three touchdowns on their first three possessions and ultimately 41 points.
Dalvin Cook accounted for 163 total yards (136 rushing, 27 receiving) with two rushing TDs in the 41-17 rout of visiting Miami.
Minnesota's defense had nine sacks, the second time this season the unit collected nine or more sacks in a game.
Last Week: 14
The Titans pitched their first shutout since 2000, manhandling the Giants at the Meadowlands.
Derrick Henry had his second straight monster performance. He ran for 170 yards and two TDs in the 17-0 win.
Last Week: 17
Reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles came to the rescue again for the ailing Carson Wentz, leading the Eagles to a stunning road win against the Rams.
The Eagles entered the contest as 13.5 point underdogs, but led by as many as 17 before holding on for a 30-23 victory.