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.
There is just four weeks remaining in the regular season. There were some upsets last week and it will move some teams into the top 10 and it will move some out of it. Who are the top 10 teams entering Week 14 of the regular season?
10. Dallas Cowboys (7-5): The Cowboys have won four straight games after starting the season 3-5. They currently lead the NFC East at the moment. Dallas has a monster game at home this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles. If they are able to win, they could put the division to bed. The Dallas Cowboys defense held the New Orleans Saints offense to 10 points. Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is on another level right now. He is tremendous at diagnosing plays. Ezekiel Elliott is running the ball effectively as well offensively and wide receiver Amari Cooper is starting to fit in Dallas's offense. Last week's ranking: not ranked.
9. Seattle Seahawks (7-5): The Seahawks have won three consecutive games. Russell Wilson is playing inspired football. The defense has looked better. They currently sit in the first wild card spot in the NFC. Seattle can't win the NFC West because the Los Angeles Rams already won the division, but the playoffs is very likely for this Seattle Seahawks team at this point. Last week's ranking: not ranked.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1): The Steelers should have beaten the Los Angeles Chargers easily, but they collapsed and lost 33-30. The defense folded, but a lot of people will complain about the officials. Pittsburgh is 0-3 against AFC West opponents this season. They should beat the Oakland Raiders on the road. The Pittsburgh Steelers can't be caught looking ahead. James Conner injured himself, but he should be okay. Ben Roethlisberger was very good once again. Last week's ranking: 5.
7. Chicago Bears (8-4): Losing to the New York Giants on the road 30-27 in overtime is a tough one to swallow. The Bears almost made a miraculous comeback. Chicago was down by 10 with less than two minutes to go and they were able to tie it. Chase Daniel started again and he wasn't as good. Daniel was picked off twice. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen is an effective one two punch in the Chicago Bears backfield. They should have Mitchell Trubisky back from his shoulder injury this week. Chicago has a huge game at home on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. Last week's ranking: 4.
6. Houston Texans (9-3): The Texans are taking advantage of an easy schedule right now. They have won nine straight games. Houston made Baker Mayfield look like a rookie. They picked him off three times. Deshaun Watson continues to conduct the offense in fashion. The Houston Texans have not faced adversity in a while. They will play the Indianapolis Colts at home this weekend. That could be an interesting game, but the Colts are rebuilding. DeAndre Hopkins continues to impress as he caught seven passes for 91 yards receiving. Jordan Thomas is becoming a reliable tight end for Watson. He caught three passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. Last week's ranking: 8.
5. New England Patriots (9-3): The Patriots defense made Kirk Cousins look small in a big game. They picked him off twice in a 24-10 win at home over the Minnesota Vikings. Tom Brady completed 75 percent of his passes for 311 yards one touchdown and one interception. Josh Gordon continues to be a nightmare in the offense. He caught three passes for 58 yards receiving and a touchdown. For the second straight season, New England will be playing on the road against the Miami Dolphins the week before they play the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Last week's ranking: 6.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3): The Chargers were down 23-7 at halftime on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Los Angeles should have gotten blown out, but they were able to rally and win the game 33-30 on a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Los Angeles Chargers did not have Melvin Gordon in the backfield. Austin Ekeler didn't do a whole lot. Justin Jackson got some snaps and he has potential in the backfield. Keenan Allen torched Pittsburgh's defense with 14 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers can't fall into a trap at home this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals before they hit the road for a big Week 15 road game on a Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Last week's ranking: 7.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-2): It was a surprise to see the Saints offense falter on the road. New Orleans has an elite defense and it is very good at stopping the run. They can't afford to lose for the second time this season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. Drew Brees should bounce back and they are currently the number two seed in the NFC. Michael Thomas is one of the best wide outs in the game. Last week's ranking: 1.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2): Without Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs still put up 40 points. Kansas City might have the MVP right now in quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 3,923 yards 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Travis Kelce was a monster with 12 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the Kansas City Chiefs 40-33 on the road against the Oakland Raiders. The defense still needs to be fixed. Last week's ranking: 3.
1. Los Angeles Rams (11-1): The Rams reclaim the top spot in the NFC. They won the NFC West title with a 30-16 win on the road this past Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Jared Goff is doing a nice job conducting the offense, but Todd Gurley is the engine. He rushed for 132 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns. Gurley should be the favorite to win Offensive Player of the Year. The defense looked much better this week. It will need to be strong on the road again this week when they travel to face the Chicago Bears in a Sunday night match up. Last week's ranking: 2.