Heading into the 2017 season, the hope was the Detroit Lions, who looked to have a very difficult schedule early on, would weather the storm and give themselves a shot at getting into playoff contention by the time the later weeks rolled around.
Well, the Lions did just that and following a win on Monday Night Football over the Green Bay Packers, they sit at 4-4, just two games behind the Minnesota Vikings for first place in the NFC North.
So, with the first half of the season in the books, it's time to had out our DSN Detroit Lions Midseason Awards.
Most Valuable Player – Matthew Stafford
Let me begin by saying that it was not a cut and dry decision to give this award to Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Safety Glover Quin has been absolutely amazing on the defensive side of the football as he already has three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and he has even scored a touchdown. Without Quin, there is no telling what the Lions defense could look like.
That being said, though Matthew Stafford has struggled at times, he has thrown 14 touchdown passes and only four interceptions through eight games, and he is still the MVP of the Detroit Lions. Just imagine if Stafford were to suffer an injury similar to what Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered, forcing him to miss extended time. If that were to happen, the Lions season would be over, immediately.
Offensive MVP – Matthew Stafford
With Stafford's success throwing the football, both Golden Tate (562) and Marvin Jones Jr. (515) are on pace to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards this season. But, neither of those players make Stafford what he is, in fact, it's the other way around. Therefore, this award goes to Stafford.
Defensive MVP – Glover Quin
As we said before, Glover Quin is having one hell of a season at the safety position. He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time and more importantly, he has made big plays for the defense.
Not only does Quin have three interceptions and two forced fumbles (along with a recovery) as mentioned above, but he is also second on the Lions with 41 tackles and five passes defended. He is clearly the leader of the defense and is crucial to their success in the second half of the season.
Special Teams MVP – Matt Prater
This award came down to kicker Matt Prater and rookie return specialist Jamal Agnew but the award goes to Prater.
So far in 2017, Prater has continued to prove that he is one of the best kickers in the NFL. Through eight games, he has made 18 out of 21 field goal attempts, including a long of 58 yards. Having Prater on the team is a HUGE weapon for a Lions offense that has struggled to score touchdowns this season.
Rookie of the Year – Jamal Agnew
First of all, it's tough to give an award like this to a player like Jamal Agnew who primarily on the field on special teams. In addition, rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis is tied for second on the team with 41 tackles.
So, Davis is the no-brainer, right?
Wrong. Though Agnew has been nothing to call home about in the kickoff return game (17.4 yards per return), he has been the best in the NFL when it comes to returning punts. Through eight games, the Lions rookie leads the league in return yards (291), average yards per return (19.4), longest return (88) and touchdowns (2).
Most Improved Player – Anthony Zettel
During his rookie season in 2016, defensive end Anthony Zettel was not asked to do much, other than to be ready as a backup. But when Kerry Hyder went down with an Achilles injury in the preseason, forcing him to miss the entire season, Zettel was forced to start.
Not only has Zettel started every game in place of Hyder, but he leads the Lions defense with five sacks on the season. When he was drafted, the hope was that he would develop into a rotational player for the Lions but as we have been able to see, he can be much more than that.
Best Touchdown Celebration – ‘The People's Elbow' Golden Tate
The NFL is now allowing players to have a little fun after they score a touchdown and no team in the league (though there are a couple trying) have embraced it like the Detroit Lions have.
There were certainly some good Lions celebrations to choose from, including the Rock 'em, Sock 'em robots celebration from the Monday Night Football game vs. the Packers, but even that was not as awesome as Golden Tate scoring a TD and then performing ‘The People's Elbow' in the end zone. If you missed it, please click on the bolded link above.