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.
One team remains undefeated in the NFL and that title belongs to the Los Angeles Rams. There are several elite teams in the NFL at the moment and the contenders and starting to separate themselves from the pretenders. Who are the top 10 teams entering Week 8?
10. Washington Redskins (4-2): The Redskins is the hardest team to figure out in the league. Any time I think they will win they lose and vice versa. Washington has an elite defense and that is why they are leading the NFC East. Alex Smith has been good, but Adrian Peterson has been a work horse in the backfield. When Peterson runs the ball well, they have success and when he doesn't, the Redskins don't. Last week's ranking: not ranked.
9. Baltimore Ravens (4-3): The Ravens blew a 17-7 lead at home against the New Orleans Saints. What's rare is that when Baltimore scored a touchdown late in the game, Justin Tucker missed an extra point and that was the difference in the game. The Baltimore Ravens defense did a good job of containing the New Orleans Saints offense. Last week's ranking: 5.
8. Carolina Panthers (4-2): It looked as if the Panthers were going to be shut out on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. They trailed 17-0 in the fourth. Cam Newton sparked the offense to score 21 straight points. Carolina also has one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL. Last week's ranking: not ranked.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1): The Steelers had a successful Week 7 despite not playing a game. The Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Cleveland Browns all lost this weekend. Because of it, Pittsburgh is back in first place in the AFC North at the moment. The offense is one of the best in the NFL. The defense is shaky, but maybe it will be better after the bye. Last week's ranking: 8.
6. Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1): The Vikings are starting to find their groove. They will need to continue that this week at home on Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints. Dalvin Cook continues to be sidelined with injuries, but Latavius Murray rushed well again on the road against the New York Jets. He rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Adam Thielen has had at least 100 yards receiving in the first seven games of the season. Last week's ranking: 9.
5. New England Patriots (5-2): The Patriots won a crazy game on the road against the Chicago Bears 38-31. New England survived a hail mary throw. Tom Brady continues to impress and Josh Gordon is finding a rhythm in this offense. Losing running back Sony Michel will be a huge deal to this offense. James White will be the premier back in his absence, but he only catches passes out of the backfield. The New England Patriots defense still has some flaws. Don't get me wrong, they are very good but they are not the best team in the AFC. Last week's ranking: 6.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (5-2): Everyone is not giving enough credit to this football team. They continue to get the job done. Los Angeles has a good offense and defense. The defense will be even better because they will be getting rested during the bye week and they will be getting defensive end Joey Bosa back for Week 9. Derwin James is playing well in the Chargers secondary as a rookie. Last week's ranking: 4.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1): Patrick Mahomes is most likely the NFL MVP right now. No matter what he does, it is nothing but amazement. The Chiefs offense might be the best in the NFL. The defense looked a lot better against the Bengals. They haven't had safety Eric Berry play yet and he will at some point. Kansas City should try and acquire corner back Patrick Peterson from the Arizona Cardinals. It would change everything for them. Last week's ranking: 3.
2. New Orleans Saints (5-1): The Saints survived on the road against the Baltimore Ravens 24-23. New Orleans will have two tough tests in the next two weeks. This week they will be at the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. Then they will host the Los Angeles Rams the week after. Drew Brees continues to impress and Michael Thomas is making his case in being one of the top three receivers in the league. Taysom Hill continues be a valuable weapon for the New Orleans Saints. The defense has played better lately and will be tested the next two weeks. Last week's ranking: 2.
1. Los Angeles Rams (7-0): Todd Gurley will be in the running for Offensive Player of the Year and MVP for the rest of the season. He already has 686 rushing yards on 144 carries and 11 touchdowns. Gurley has also caught 25 passes for 270 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Jared Goff is a different quarterback on the road compared to at home. Aaron Donald had four sacks against the San Francisco 49ers on the road. He is the toughest defensive player in the league to handle. The Los Angeles Rams defense will be tested big time in the next two weeks against the Green Bay Packers at home and against the New Orleans Saints on the road. Last week's ranking: 1.