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Midseason report: CBS analysts make their picks

CBS Sports

Judge: Brady leads hardware haul | Prisco: Morris, Bucs make move

MVP: Tom Brady, New England -- His toughness has helped his team get off to a 6-1 start. It's a team in transition so he's the common denominator right there. You've got to give him a lot of credit.

Defensive Player: Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, Kansas City -- It's hard to designate those guys because we want stats – sacks, interceptions. These two guys have jumped out for doing a little bit of everything. Johnson has had a special year and if it continues, someone like him might win the most valuable defensive player in the league.

Coach: Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams -- What a turnaround. It's not only their record. It's the way they're getting there. They are ripping some tail. I can't tell you how impressed I am with how they've turned their whole football team around.

Rookie: Sam Bradford, St. Louis and Ndamukong Suh, Detroit -- Sam Bradford is playing tremendous for a young quarterback. It's hard to pick either one. A dark horse is Dez Bryant. He is without a doubt shown everybody that he is going to be a special player in the NFL.

Team: New England Patriots and New York Giants -- Even though their record is not as good, the Giants make a stronger case just because I don't see a weakness that you can go, ‘Wow, we can beat them because this spot of their team is not good enough.' The Patriots are playing tougher every week but I want more evidence on the defense before I declare them the best team in the NFL.

MVP: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis and Tom Brady, New England

Offensive Player: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis -- In light of all the different injuries to his receiving corps, his production, rating, touchdowns-to-interceptions has been mind-numbing considering all the adversity that he's had to overcome.

Defensive Player: James Harrison, Pittsburgh -- He is the pace-setter for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

Coach: Bill Belichick, New England -- With the roster they have and the turnover, they look like a team in transition. But at the halfway point they have the best record in the NFL.

Rookie: Sam Bradford, St. Louis (Offensive) and Ndamukong Suh, Detroit (Defensive) -- They are proving that they were worth being No. 1 and No. 2 in the draft.

Team: No disrespect to the N.Y. Giants, but the four best football teams are in the AFC. In no particular order: New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the N.Y. Jets. Those four teams have separated themselves from everybody else. They are on a level by themselves.

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay -- Despite all the injuries, Green Bay is 5-3 and in first place in its division at the halfway point. And without a running game, he has this team contending.

Offensive Player: Philip Rivers, San Diego -- Right now he is on target to set the single-season passing record for yards. In fact, he's passed for the most yards in NFL history at the halfway point after eight games. The only reason he wouldn't be MVP at this point is because his team wouldn't make the playoffs if the season ended right now.

Defensive Player: Clay Matthews, Green Bay -- He leads the league in sacks and is a consistent sack-getter. He's not getting them against weak competition. Nine-and-half sacks spread out over eight games, he's a difference-maker every single game.

Coach: Todd Haley, Kansas City; Rex Ryan, N.Y. Jets -- Anytime you raise the Titanic, going from worst-to-first, Haley would win for that reason. For the Jets to be doing what they are doing after all Ryan said, he deserves a lot of credit. He has infused that team with a lot of swagger and confidence that the organization hasn't had.

Rookie: Sam Bradford, St. Louis -- When you're the No. 1 pick overall, that usually means you end up on a really bad team, and he did. But he is 4-4 in his first eight starts in the NFL and ahead of the learning curve. For him to be doing this on a team without a prolific wide receiver, he is by far the best rookie playing right now.

Team: New England -- They've transitioned so well. They have a lot of young players and are rolling with the best record in the NFL.

MVP: Tom Brady, New England and Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay -- For me the MVP is a little bit like the Heisman Trophy; it's the best player on the best team. Brady is certainly up there, best record, and Aaron Rodgers is playing extremely well.

Coach: Todd Haley, Kansas City -- His team is playing almost mistake-free football with talent that is not considered the best in the league and yet they're sitting atop their division. The Chiefs were worst last year and now they're the best -- worst-to-first.

Rookie: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit -- He's playing extremely well on a team that is not doing too well. He's really been a force.

Team: Pittsburgh -- Playing four games to start the season without one of the best players in the league in Ben Roethlisberger and coming out 3-1 without him, that's the best team in the NFL right now. I don't think anybody wants any part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.


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