How to make sense of your Halloween candy leftovers and the NFL season at the same time.
(Ed’s note: Yes, that’s Novak Djokovic coming on-court wearing a Darth Vader mask.)
Listen: Now that half of the NFL season is in the books, I can sit here and list who’s good and who sucks, like any other boring sports website.
Or, I can pretend I was eating all this Halloween candy for research.
Without further ado, the latest installment in HMGL’s Completely Arbitrary Awards and Power Rankings:
Halloween Awards: NFL Edition.
1) The Charleston Chew “Why The Fuck Did I Select This Candy?” Award for being a terrible fantasy pick: Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden.
The good news: McFadden has somehow stayed healthy the entire season so far (… so far…) and has more carries than Willis McGahee, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Chris Johnson.
The bad news: He is 19th in rushing, behind all those guys. And Robert Griffin III and Shonn Greene. Yikes.
Honorable mentions: Calvin Johnson (as bad as he’s been, dude is still seventh in the league receiving), Ryan Mathews, Andre Johnson.
2) The “WTF, A Toothbrush In My Candy Bag?!?” Award for just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, there’s an EVEN WORSE fantasy pick: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jones-Drew, despite all his contract bullshit this offseason, was a strong pick in the first two rounds. But after exiting a game in the first f’ing quarter — killing his fantasy owners two weeks ago — he continues to idle with a mystery foot injury that has “no timetable,” so you can’t cut him but can’t get closure either.
Oh, yeah. He has only one touchdown and it’s Week 9.
Jones-Drew, damn you!
3) The “Wait, Is That A Costume Or Just What That Guy Wears?” Award for strangest team of the season: The New England Patriots.
Serious question: Are the Patriots good? They beat Tennessee, Buffalo, the Jets (barely) and St. Louis. They lost to Baltimore, Arizona and Seattle (all close losses). They are 5-3 in perhaps the weakest division in football.
Is anyone afraid of them? I don’t think so.
Honorable Mentions: New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals.
4) The “Trick-Or-Treat” Award for being one extreme or another: The New York Jets.
Forty-eight points in Week One. Nine points last week. They beat the pretty-good Colts, 35-9, yet lost to the mediocre Dolphins, 30-9. (Also, how do you have two games where one team scores nine points?!)
Do the Jets have two alright quarterbacks, one okay quarterback and one good backup, or two awful quarterbacks?
Long story short: You never know what you’ll get when you trick or treat at the Jets’ house.
(Did I just embed two Big Daddy YouTube videos back-to-back? Fuck it. It’s my website, I do what I want.)
5) The “Cookies And Cream Hershey’s Bars” Award for an underrated, solid, consistently excellent performance: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints.
How good is this guy? Second in the league in passing yards and touchdowns. Completing 60 percent of his passes. What else is new?
Honorable Mentions: Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez.
6) The “Nerds Hard Candy” Award for a team that isn’t very good, but you get a rush out of them, and you don’t want to see them more than once a year: The Washington Redskins.
To a tired team with a winning record, there is no more dangerous team than the ‘Skins. Why? Because their offense, despite having literally three good players (Griffin, Alfred Morris and Trent Williams), somehow boasts the second-best rushing attack and seventh-best scoring offense in football.
If Pierre Garcon returns and London Fletcher can get a hold of a historically bad defense, you do not want your team playing the ‘Skins this winter.
Honorable Mentions: St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Bucs, Buffalo Bills.
7) The “What Kind Of Excellent New Flavor Of Starburst Is This?” Award for Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins.
Speaking of the Redskins, RGIII is the runaway winner of this award.
You can see above what he is capable of as a runner. Without question, RGIII is the most exciting player in the league already.
But he is a hell of a quarterback. Proof: Seventh in the NFL in QBR, fourth in yards/attempt, fifth in completion percentage (and he was the victim of 10 drops last week!).
Griffin has proven himself to be a top-10 quarterback in his first year… throwing to Logan Paulsen and Aldrick Robinson. He should be in the discussion not only for Rookie of the Year, but also for MVP.
Honorable Mentions: Doug Martin, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson.
No.8 ) The “Dad Wearing A Full Batman Costume” Award for most entertaining coach: Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks.
I love Pete Carroll. Not because he’s a great coach — he surely isn’t — but because he had the balls to bench a prized free-agent quarterback/the next Kevin Kolb for a competent, high-upside rookie.
Because he’s so animated on the sidelines. Because he didn’t apologize when the replacement refs drunkenly gave the Seahawks a free win.
Pete Carroll is truly fun to watch on game day. And there’s something to be said for that, much like the dad who bought a $50, 6-feet-tall Batman outfit just to make his kids laugh and to reiterate to his wife that he is officially disqualifying himself from having sex with anyone else again.
9) The “Cool Dad” Award for the old guy who can hang with the kids: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos.
It’s really hard to decide if Manning is underrated or overrated.
Reasons why he’s underrated: He’s thrown 17 TD’s and only four picks (seriously, did they all come in a row against the Falcons on Monday Night Football?), he has more passing yards than Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford, he is leading a first-place team in the AFC who has only lost to Houston, Atlanta and New England (nothing to be ashamed of).
Reasons why he’s overrated: The Broncos were a second-round playoff team last year with Tim Tebow as their quarterback, Denver is only 4-3 in an unbearably atrocious division, the Broncos are on national TV every week simply because No. 18 is playing.
Regardless, Peyton has proven he’s still “got it” at the ripe age of 112. MVP discussions may be a little overblown, but the guy can hack it.
Honorable Mentions: Ronde Barber, London Fletcher
10) The “Guy Wearing Eyeliner … And Street Clothes… As His Costume” Award for the player no parent should leave around their children: Rob Gronkowski, Tight End, New England Patriots.
Who invited Rob Riggle into the NFL? See the best .gif of the year as Exhibit A.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Vick, Rafi from The League.
11) The “Aren’t You A Little Old To Be Trick-Or-Treating” Award: Randy Moss, WR, San Francisco 49ers.
Could the 49ers really not find anyone else to run a streak route? Their opponents are more scared of Jim Harbaugh’s handshakes then they are of Randy Moss.
Honorable mentions: Charlie Batch, DeAngelo Hall
12) The “15-Year-Old Kid Leading Around A Gang Of Asshole Kids Who Take All Your Candy” Award for having no leadership skills: Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers and Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys.
I couldn’t pick just one. Yes, Norv Turner and Jason Garrett are cursed with traditionally underachieving teams. But their efforts this campaign have been hilariously inept.
The Chargers are doing what the Chargers do. They’re somehow 4-4 (it helps they played New Orleans, Oakland and Kansas City twice), but no one is scared of them and I guarantee they don’t win the AFC West.
The Cowboys just can’t seem to catch a break, and in a division where they could really be in charge (they should have beaten the Giants twice and don’t have a bad loss yet), they seem to find new ways to lose every week. And Tony Romo remains the most criticized man in the league.
Honorable Mentions: Andy Reid, Romeo Crennel
13) The “Twix Bar” Award for playing in a small market (when do you eat Twix besides Halloween?) but being absolutely amazing: CJ Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills.
Spiller has the same amount of rushing yards as Ray Rice.
Except Rice has 106 carries and Spiller has 72.
He’s got that Jamaal Charles/Lindsay Lohan thing where whenever he’s on screen you watch, just in case.
Honorable mentions: Percy Harvin, Patrick Peterson, Marshawn Lynch
14) The “Skittles AND Swedish Fish at the same house?!” Award for Runner-Up MVP: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings are the most surprising team in the NFL, keeping pace with the Packers at 5-3, in no small part due to the NFL’s leading rusher. Percy Harvin has been outstanding as well, but Peterson’s affect on his teammates can’t be ignored.
The guy came back from an ACL injury that happened, like, 3 weeks ago, and he’s now back to being the best RB in the league.
Is Peterson getting enough credit for his herculean effort?
15) The “Kit Kat Bars, Starbursts And A Hot Chick Answering The Door… All At One House?!?! JACKPOT!” Award for Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers.
Consider this: my company interviewed three NFL players this week. A question posed to them was, “Who is the best player in the NFL?”
Each — independently — picked Rodgers.
It’s easy to see why. Rodgers is leading the NFL in touchdowns. He’s second in completion percentage and QBR. And the Packers are one bad call away from 6-2.
He has a skill set that few can match with the experience and youth to form a perfect storm. Game on the line? I’m picking Rodgers.
Honorable mentions (in order): Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Arian Foster, JJ Watt, Peyton Manning and RGIII.
Have an issue with Matt’s football choices? Don’t care. But candy he will happily debate at firstname.lastname@example.org.