End-of-season award prediction for 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
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Here are my choices for winner and runner-up for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year (see past winners):
Winner: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
There was some doubt whether or not Peterson would be healthy enough to start the season as he worked his way back from a torn ACL suffered in December 2011. Throughout the offseason, Peterson vowed to be ready for the season opener.
And he was.
Peterson started (relatively) slowly in the first six weeks and then there was stopping him.
From Week 7 to 17, Peterson rushed for 100-plus yards in all but one game. During that span, he had seven games with at least 150 yards and three games with at least 199 yards.
Over that 10-game stretch, Peterson rushed for 1,598 yards and 10 touchdowns. That means, he averaged just under 160 yards per game and 6.80 yards per carry since Week 7.
Especially after the team lost Percy Harvin for the season, the team lacked a passing game to keep opposing defenses honest. They stacked the box but to no avail.
Peterson gained a phenominal 1,109 yards after contact.
Despite the overall shift in the sport's landscape to become a passing league, Peterson nearly broke the single-season rushing record of Eric Dickerson (2,105 yards). With 2,097 yards, his total ranks second all-time and he became only the seventh player in NFL history to reach the 2,000-yard milestone.
Runner-up: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Going into the season, I thought Manning would be the slam-dunk choice for this award. Not only did he miss games last year, but he missed them all.
Of course, his multiple neck surgeries kept him out of the lineup last year as the Colts and Peyton parted aways in the offseason. Even though he signed with the Broncos, there some lingering concerns about his ability to rebuild arm strength to put enough zip and velocity on certain throws.
Fast forward to the end of the season and Manning is playing as well as any quarterback and he's led the Broncos to 11 consecutive victories and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Manning has thrown for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns, both of which are the second-highest total in his illustrious career. In addition, he threw only 11 interceptions, his lowest total since 2006 (nine).
Throughout the rest of the week, I will make my predictions for the remainder of the postseason awards. For an easy way to keep track of my picks, they will all be recorded on this page.