We have reached the bittersweet midpoint of the NFL season. Football is in full swing Cheap Christian McCaffrey Jersey , but there is an end in sight. It feels like it’s flow by, but the Panthers still have a lot of work to do if they want to clinch a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive NFC. The Panthers are sitting pretty at 6-2, and are technically in control of their destiny. They face New Orleans in Weeks 15 and 17 to close out the year, two matchups that could determine the entire landscape of the NFC playoffs. Let’s discuss who’s been the most instrumental in getting the Panthers to this point, and what may have surprised us along the way.Offensive MVP: QB Cam NewtonThis was the easiest award to hand out. Cam Newton has been phenomenal this season, and there is really no other way to put it. Newton is putting together his best season efficiency-wise and it’s really not all that close. Through eight games, Newton has career highs in completion percentage (67.3 percent), touchdown to interception ratio (15:4), and passer rating (100.8).Let’s compare Cam’s 2015 MVP season to the projections based on the first half of this season:2015Completion Percentage: 59.8 percentPasser Rating: 99.4Passing Yards: 3 Cheap Kawann Short Jersey ,837Passing Touchdowns: 35Interceptions: 10Rushing Yards: 636Rushing Touchdowns: 102018 (16-game projection)Completion Percentage: 67.3 percentPasser Rating: 100.8Passing Yards: 3,786Passing Touchdowns: 30Interceptions: 8Rushing Yards: 684Rushing Touchdowns: 8CaMVP is back with a vengeance. The sky’s the limit for a team that gets quarterback play like this.Defensive MVP: CB Donte JacksonThis defense hadn’t seen a play-maker in the secondary since all-pro cornerback Josh Norman’s franchise tag was infamously rescinded by former General Manager Dave Gettleman. It looks like they just may have found him.Rookie Donte Jackson has been phenomenal this year for a secondary that had been in dire need of competence. Not only has Jackson injected life into the back end of this defense with his through-the-roof swagger, but he’s also been able to back it up on the stat sheet. The former LSU Tiger finds himself tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (four) at the halfway mark of the season.Jackson has made a legitimate case to be the first Panther since Luke Kuechly to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. If he keeps playing like this, I’d be shocked if he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. With free agent signing Ross Cockrell going down in training camp, the Panthers were forced to throw Donte into a starting role on one of the NFL’s vaunted defenses. He’s more than answered the call. Most disappointing player: DT Dontari PoeFollowing the loss of former first round pick, Star Lotulelei, in free agency the Panthers had a big hole to fill on their defensive front. They decided to bring in two-time pro bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe to fill the gap. This was a welcome addition to a defense that felt they had upgraded at the position in comparison to the preceding season. So far, Poe has had an underwhelming impact on a middling defense. He is currently ranked by Pro Football Focus as the #91 defensive interior lineman in the NFL. That’s not good. The Panthers expected more out of Poe, especially on the offensive side of the ball Cheap Greg Olsen Jersey , where rumors have run rampant that he’s had trouble fully grasping Norv Turner’s offense.Jokes aside, Poe has been disappointing to the midway point of this season. I’m expecting to see his play pickup as the team gains confidence heading into RONvember.Most surprising player: DT Kyle LoveIf anyone on this defense is earning their keep, it’s 31 year-old South Korea native Kyle Love. Love has quietly been a force on this defense, causing multiple turnovers and causing some havoc up front. Against the Ravens in Week 8, Kyle Love posted an 89.1 grade from Pro Football Focus, best on the team and a whole 14 points higher than runner-up Luke Kuechly. The seventh year defensive tackle has graded out as the 30th ranked player at his position. He’s made a mark on this Panthers defense and adds strong depth to the interior rotation up front. Comeback player of the year: TE Greg Olsen/WR Curtis SamuelThe simultaneous returns of both Greg Olsen and Curtis Samuel excited Panthers fans for the prospects of the offense, but I don’t think anyone expected this outcome. Over the last three weeks, Olsen and Samuel have combined for a total of 248 yards and six touchdowns. There were question marks as to how Olsen would play returning from his second broken foot in as many seasons, but he has answered the bell and looks better every week doing it.Samuel also had question marks in his return. With all the hype surrounding him and nothing to show for it http://www.pantherscheapshop.com/che...unchess-jersey , fans were ready to throw in the towel on Curtis. The former Buckeye has bounced back with a vengeance and looks like a legitimate weapon, scoring four touchdowns on just 11 touches this season. That’s right, Samuel is scoring on 37 percent of his touches in 2018. Get this man the ball. He’s electric.Unsung hero: OT Taylor MotonAfter all-pro guard Andrew Norwell left the Panthers to become the highest paid at his position (at the time) in NFL history, there were many questions surrounding the offensive line. Those questions became screams of despair after all-pro tackle Daryl Williams went down with a knee injury in training camp. Taylor Moton was the next man up, and he’s been an anchor on this hog molly unit ever since.Moton has done his part to help fans forget about the losses of Andrew Norwell and Daryl Williams with his absolutely dominant play. In just his second season, Moton has graded out at the top in his position across the league according to Pro Football Focus. You can attribute a substantial proportion of the new-found success of Cam Newton and this offense to Moton’s stellar performance thus far.Julius Peppers passes physical, Panthers activate him from PUP list All time great Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers is officially back in action.The 38 year old underwent shoulder surgery during the offseason, and needed a little more time to recuperate from the surgery. There really wasn’t any doubt that Peppers would be back, but the fact that he’s practicing again with about 5 weeks left until the regular season is a very good sign. While he likely won’t see a very large group of practice reps Graham Gano Jersey , just getting out there helps with getting the body back in game shape. Peppers likely won’t take the field at all during the preseason either, but just having him out there working alongside some of the younger guys is a huge boost for the limited amount of development they can get from practicing.Peppers is coming off an 11 sack campaign in 2017, and while he won’t start he will be a major factor in getting after the passer. The Panthers didn’t make a significant investment in defensive end over the offseason, only drafting Marquise Haynes in the earlier rounds. The Panthers need Peppers to at least be something like what he was last season if they want to get pressure without blitzing, especially in an offensively heavy NFC South.Are you happy to see Peppers back?