The defensive side of the ball is a bit convoluted, and I really want to find a way to honor everyone, so I am going to cheat on this side of the ball and go with a 3-4 defensive alignment.
As always, any disagreements I would love to hear about.
Mid Season All Pro Defense:
Defensive End- Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings: Is there any doubt who is playing the best at defensive end this year? Allen has taken advantage of a soft pass blocking schedule, he hasn’t played a top ten pass blocking unit since week two against Tampa, and in five October games didn’t play a team ranked above 15, but he is putting up monster numbers still. 12.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and an INT this season puts Allen squarely in the middle of our defensive front four.
Defensive End- Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers: Here comes the questions. Yes he only has 4.5 sacks on the season, and 29 total tackles. No he is not the most important person on his own defense, we will get to that in a little bit. The reason is no one means more to their defensive line than Smith. He sets the tempo for the defense, has a motor that doesn’t stop, and most importantly, I can line him up opposite of Allen, and know that the defense can’t single block him.
Defensive Tackle: Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens: Ngata isn’t having a season approaching last year, but no one is at the DT spot, I’m looking at you Ndamukong Suh, but he has been producing at a high level still.
LB- LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers: The LB play this year has been spotty to say the least, but Woodley has put up great numbers, on a team that has fielded less than healthy units for nearly the whole season. He has quietly become the best player on the Steelers defense this year, I’m sure that will change as the season goes along, but for now, he has to get the honor.
LB- Daryl Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars: Smith doesn’t put up the same sexy numbers as other OLB’s, but he also plays in a 4-3 scheme. I don’t have bias to scheme, and the way Smith has played this season has been head turning. He is constantly overlooked b/c he plays for a Jacksonville, but this year he has been special.
LB- Von Miller, Denver Broncos: I know, I know, three OLB’s? Well I can’t leave off the best OLB in the NFL right now. Miller does so much for the Broncos, not just get to the quarterback, which he does so well getting to the QB about every seven snaps, but he is phenomenal in coverage whenever he needs to drop in. Miller is a special player, and Denver, you better enjoy him.
LB- Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers: Shocking right? No one does it better than Willis at this point and I don’t feel a need to really defend this pick.
CB- Darrelle Revis, New York Jets: Whether you think he gets away with PI on every play or not, we have to judge it based on production, not what we think should be called.
CB: Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns: Haden in his second year in the league and is making a play as one of the premier corners in the league already. He has not allowed a 100 yard game to a receiver all season and has only allowed by two touchdowns catches on the season.
S- Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers: I fought this tooth and nail, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t leave the best safety in the game off the All-Pro defense. While the beginning of the season he seemed to have lost a step, but now he seems to be getting back to the old Troy, instead of being an old version of Troy.
S- Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers: Weddle has lived up to the contract the Chargers gave him, and then some. He has more interceptions this season than his entire career combined, and is commanding the defense, even if they aren’t as good this year on that side of the ball, it isn’t because of Weddle.
P and K- Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski: Best kicking unit in football, and only Andy Lee is close to Lechler punting right now.
Return Man- Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals: I don’t need a KR, even if P2 doesn’t do it for the Cardinals; no one has been in Peterson’s class this season when it comes to returns.
Week 10 Picks:
Steelers at Bengals (+4)
Broncos at Chiefs (-3)
Jaguars at Colts (+3)
Bills at Cowboys (-5.5)
Texans at Bucs (+3.5)
Titans at Panthers (-3.5)
Redskins at Dolphins (-4)
Saints at Falcons (pick em)
Rams at Browns (-2.5)
Cardinals at Eagles (-14)
Ravens at Seahawks (+7)
Lions at Bears (-3)
Giants at 49ers (-3.5)
Patriots at Jets (-1.5)
Vikings at Packers (-13)