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CBSSports.com 2013 First Quarter NFL Awards: Peyton party

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

We're a quarter of the way into the 2013 NFL season. Things are moving too fast. But we can't slow it, only embrace it. Let's do that by picking some quarter-pole awards. You can see picks from CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora in the video above. Agree? Disagree? Let me know on Twitter @WillBrinson or holler Jason's way @JasonLaCanfora as well.

2013 First Quarter NFL Awards
ExpertMVPOPOYDPOYCoachRookieSurpriseBust
Brinson
Manning
Manning
Watt
Reid
Lotulelei

Browns

Steelers
La Canfora

Wilson
Manning
Houston
Reid
Richardson

Titans
Wallace

MVP for me was a cakewalk. No one's done over the past four weeks what Peyton Manning has done so far. He's on pace for the best season of his career (which is really saying something), he hasn't thrown an interception yet (and he has 16 touchdowns) and the Broncos are destroying everything in their path. I get why JLC did what he did -- Russell Wilson has the Seahawks undefeated and was his preseason pick. I was tempted to go with Tom Brady (my preseason pick).

Manning's effort and numbers are just too much. That's precisely why he landed as the selection for both of our Offensive Player of the Year. There's no two ways about this pick. It's Manning, a gigantic gap and then everyone else right now.

Defensively is much tougher. It might seem like a copout but for my money you can't do any better than the Texans J.J. Watt. (It's a copout because he's the best defensive player in the league, so, yeah.) Even with Houston sitting at 2-2, Watt's been an absolutely dominant force, even if he's not quite on pace for a 20-20-20 season. Justin Houston, La Canfora's pick, is absolutely worthy as well. The third-year Chiefs player has 7.5 sacks in just four games. That's a 30-sack pace.

Houston is part of the reason we both picked Andy Reid as the early Coach of the Year. Reid's got the Chiefs, a two-win team in 2013, at 4-0 through the first quarter of the season. It's hard to imagine any other pick at this point.

Taken with back-to-back picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei are paying immediate dividends for the Jets and Panthers, respectively. I'm totally fine with La Canfora going with Richardson -- he has the added benefit of an extra game but he's been incredibly stout on that New York defensive line. Lotulelei only playing in three games made me hesitate a bit but he's totally changed the outlook of the Carolina defense through three games.

There's no question 2013's been a surprising season thus far. You could make the case for any number of really good or really bad teams being the top surprise. I landed somewhere in the middle, with the Cleveland Browns. After bottoming out at 0-2 (for now?), Cleveland traded away Trent Richardson and rolled the dice on Brian Hoyer. Somehow they're now tied for first in a weak AFC North. The Titans are more than pleasantly surprising as well: guys like Jurrell Casey, Zach Brown and Alterraun Verner lead a rejuvenated defense and before his injury Sunday Jake Locker looked poise to make a leap.

Bust has plenty of choices as well. The only hard part about my pick was whether to go with the Giants or the Steelers. Ultimately I chose Pittsburgh because of higher expectations and an inability to believe they can turn it around. Mike Wallace has one good game but he definitely hasn't been worth the $60 million the Dolphins paid him this offseason. Excellent pick by Jason.

 
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