Originally posted on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 1/2/13
(Photos: AP) If the Associated Press gave out 2012 NFL season awards today, Defensive Player of the Year would go to Houston’s J.J. Watt. Fortunately for Denver’s Von Miller, there is still time to close in on Watt for increased DPOY consideration. The AP awards will be given out in New Orleans the night before the Super Bowl, giving Watt, Miller, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, and San Francisco’s Aldon Smith up to five weeks to strengthen their DPOY résumés. Ultimately, voters could be swayed by who performs the best when it matters most, in the postseason—which would directly correlate with how long each player’s respective team lasts in playoffs. Heading into Wild Card weekend, Miller has the edge over Smith and Sherman but is trailing Watt, who has the most-worthy DPOY candidacy.  Since Week 15, Smith has totaled nine tackles (one tackle for loss) and zero sacks.  Miller recorded eight tackles (four for losses) and 2.5 sacks during the same time frame. Sherman’s numbers have been impressive, but voters worship sacks almost as reverently as they do quarterbacks when it comes to awards (see: Bailey, Champ, 2006), which all but eliminates Sherman from DPOY contention.  The top DPOY candidate, Watt, has recorded 17 tackles (nine for losses), four sacks, two forced fumbles and has batted down one pass since Week 15. In order to close in on Watt, Miller will have to come up big for the Broncos in January, having a bigger impact on Denver’s Super Bowl run than Watt’s impact in Houston.  If either one of the players is eliminated from the playoffs early, the DPOY race would potentially narrow down quickly. What’s your take?  Can Miller beat out Watt for DPOY?  Dish out your thoughts in the comments below!
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