Aaron Rodgers and Le'Veon Bell's late-season surges helped lead their teams into the playoffs. Both have earned NFL Offensive Player of the Month honors for their troubles.
Rodgers was as close to perfect as a quarterback could be during the five-game stretch in earning NFC honors. After starting the season 4-6, Rodgers famously said he believed his team could run the table and get into the playoffs. They did just that.
Rodgers threw 13 touchdowns against no interceptions over the last five games, which includes 69.6 percent completion rate and a 122.0 quarterback rating. Rodgers even rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown. This includes a Week 17 win at Detroit that locked up the NFC North title and a home game on Wild Card Weekend against the Giants.
In four games, Bell compiled 748 yards rushing and receiving to earn the AFC award. It's no coincidence that the Steelers were a perfect 4-0 during that stretch, leading to an AFC North title in the process. Bell had five touchdowns and a 5.2 yard per carry average, which includied a 38 carry, 236 yard rushing performance against the Bills in a 27-20 win in Week 14. Bell sat out a meaningless Week 17 game after Pittsburgh wrapped up the division the week before against Baltimore.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is getting a lot of MVP buzz, but linebacker Vic Beasley might have been just as instrumental in Atlanta's late-season surge. Beasley compiled six sacks over the last five games, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Beasley has been the brightest spot on Atlanta's defense as of late, and he closed the season with an NFC Defensive Player of the Month award.
Like the previously mentioned names, Texans cornerback Quintin Demps contributed greatly to his team making the postseason. Demps had four interceptions in the last five games, and added a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Demps was awarded the AFC Defensive Player of the Month.
Chiefs wideout and return man Tyreek Hill was the obvious choice for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Hill had two punt returns for scores, including a key one that came in a 21-13 win over the Raiders that helped Kansas City win the AFC West and a first-round bye.
One of the few bright spots for the Rams this year was punter Johnny Hekker. In five December and January contests, Hekker punted 34 times for a 49.74 average to earn NFC Special Teams Player of the Month honors.