Individual and offbeat award contenders

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Nine weeks into a season hardly is a time to select winners for the prestigious awards The Associated Press will hand out on the NFL Honors show the night before the Super Bowl. So much can (and will) change over the next two months.

Still, here’s how the first half of the season went down in the seven award categories, along with some other offbeat offerings.

MVP

Peyton Manning owns four of these, the only player with that many. At the pace he is going, the brilliant Broncos quarterback could wind up a unanimous choice. The league’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2012, his revival after multiple neck surgeries would be complete with another MVP plaque _ and a Super Bowl ring, of course.

Runners-up: Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, Kansas City; Andrew Luck, Indianapolis.

COACH

No contest right now: Andy Reid.

Fired by Philadelphia, he took over the Chiefs, 2-14 a year ago, and has them at 9-0, the only unbeaten team in the NFL. Their defense is fearsome, the offense functional, the coaching impeccable.

Runners-up: Rex Ryan, New York Jets; Bill Belichick, New England; Ron Rivera, Carolina.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER

Impossible to look past Manning here. The numbers are phenomenal: 237 for 333 for a 71.2 completion percentage, 2,919 yards, 29 touchdowns, six interceptions, a 119.4 QB rating. And the kind of leadership expected from Hall of Fame-quality players.

Runners-up: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans; Jamaal Charles, Kansas City; Marshawn Lynch, Seattle.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER

Trying to separate Chiefs linebackers Houston and Hali is as difficult as trying to block them. Both are versatile big-play guys on a defense that turns around games with takeaways and stinginess at the most critical times. They’re reminiscent of some of the Steelers’ most dynamic LB combinations.

Runners-up: J.J. Watt, Houston; Richard Sherman, Seattle; Robert Mathis, Indianapolis.

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