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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

So Far, NFL Season One of Surprises

You want intrigue? Try the AFC East race, where one game separates first from fourth.


You want heroes? Try Steve Young running for a game-winning touchdown off a bootleg with a groin pull. Or Jim Harbaugh continuing to play after serving as a human punching bag for a month and a half.


You want surprises? Just check out first place in the NFC East and realize it's not the defending-champion Dallas Cowboys, but their mortal enemies from the nation's capital and a bargain-basement quarterback.


Halfway through another NFL season, and there isn't much we haven't seen. Shoot, we might even have ourselves the first 0-16 team before it's all over. In fact, we might even have two of them.


So while we wait to see if the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons will ever win a game, a look back at the best and the worst of the first half ... and a glimpse at what's ahead:


Offensive MVP: Brett Favre, quarterback, Green Bay Packers. Favre told us not to bet against him this year in his comeback from a painkiller addiction, and he has done his part by averaging three touchdown passes per game.


Defensive MVP: Bruce Smith, defensive end, Buffalo Bills. He threatened to sit out the first part of the season in a contract dispute, but decided he would show team owner Ralph Wilson on the field. Am I out of line to suggest that Smith is one of the top three defensive ends ever to play the game?


Biggest surprise team: Redskins: O.K., so they have beaten only one team with a winning record. But after a 6-10 season in '95, a 6-1 start is a work of art.


Biggest disappointment: Chicago Bears. They torch the defending champs in the Monday night opener, then watch helplessly as their season goes up in flames.


Most decisive moment of the season: The Jeff George benching/blowup in Week 4 against the Eagles. George told coach June Jones he wasn't a very nice man -- or something to that effect -- and Jones suspended George for four games, before George was released Tuesday. I have never seen a season unravel that quickly in all my life.


One game you can't afford to miss in the second half of the season: 1. Dolphins-Cowboys, this Sunday. Memo to Jerry Jones: Don't ruin this one by hugging Jimmy before the game. Smack him in the face or something, but please, keep the venom flowing.


2. Broncos at Raiders, Week 10. It is the closest thing to actual combat the NFL has to offer.


3. Packers at Chiefs, Week 11. Some say it will be a preview of things to come in January. But it won't be, because the Packers will expose the Chiefs' Achilles' heel -- the running game.