Predictions for NFL Awards
Coach Of The Year
Top 3 Candidates: Anthony Lynn, Matt Nagy, Frank Reich
Who Will Win: Matt Nagy HC Bears
Who Should Win: Frank Reich HC Colts
The Coach of the year award belongs to someone who builds a culture and turns a team around. To the coach with the most creative plays and one that has brought success to a revamped franchise. This year, a lot of coaches are deserving, but I believe Frank Reich deserves it the most. If we look at the teams that had the most mystery coming into this season, the Colts had to be at the top. The Colts have had a struggling offensive line for what seems like Andrew Luck's entire career. Any player will tell you, the Colts are known for being a "softer franchise". Teams used to smirk when they head down to Indianapolis because they knew that they were going to pound them into the ground. The Colts were known for being a "finesse team". There was even mystery around there "franchise quarterback". People were questioning if Andrew Luck was truly a franchise quarterback because we hadn't seen him throw a football on live television if more than 2 years. Andrew Luck has had a career year and is back to his old self. As a matter of fact, Reich wasn't even supposed to be the head coach of the Colts. Reich was there "back up option", but he turned out pretty well. The Colts have a revamped defense and a high scoring offense. Reich deserves COTY. I think Matt Nagy, who is also very deserving, will win Coach of the year. Similar to Reich, Nagy turned around the Bears modern-day franchise. The Bears haven't been good since the early Lovie Smith days. Nagy turned what looked like a sluggish bears offense into an electric offense that uses both the pass and run game. Nagy has used Tarik Cohen all over the place and found where Trubisky is most comfortable (outside of the pocket). Nagy has turned the Bears into NFC North Division winners, which they haven't done since 2010. Nagy is extremely creative with his play-calls. From trick plays to runs straight down the two hole, you never know what he's going to call. Nagy is this season's Sean McVay. He fills his play-calls with pre-snap motions to confuse the defense, Nagy's creativity will help him win COTY.
Offensive Rookie Of The Year
Top 3 Candidates: Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, Phillip Lindsay
Who Will Win: Saquon Barkley RB Giants
Who Deserves It: Baker Mayfield QB Browns
Don't get me wrong, both Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield deserve rookie of the year, but I think Mayfield deserves it a little more because of the impact he's had on his team. Mayfield had to deal with the firing of both his head coach and his offensive coordinator. Mayfield had his starting running back traded in the middle of the season, and didn't even start at the beginning of the year. He has led the Browns to 7 wins with one week left, since 2015 the Browns have 4 wins. Baker has put the Browns on the map this year. Baker has been spreading the ball around and opened up the run game for Nick Chubb. Baker has been in the headlines for both his successes on the field and his hype off the field. If it's him nailing an air-drum solo or staring down Hue Jackson, I'm here for all of it. He has brought back the Browns-Bengals rivalry, and he is the hot-thing in the NFL. Since his head coach was fired, Baker has led the Browns to a 5-1 record. Baker has a chance to play spoiler for the Ravens this week and I wouldn't be surprised if he does it. Baker is my favorite quarterback to watch in the NFL and I believe he deserves Offensive Rookie of the year for what he's done for the Browns this season. I mean they might actually have a winning record. Baker is great, but I think that Saquon will end up winning the award. Saquon is a tad bit flashier I have to say. I think Saquon is arguably the most talented running back in the NFL, and when you think about it what do you think he can do with an offensive line? When we've seen all-pro running backs like David Johnson and Todd Gurley without an offensive line, we've seen them struggle. Barkley is already a pro-bowler in his rookie year with Chad Wheeler as his starting offensive tackle. Barkley has every move in the book from a spin move to the hurdle. Barkley has been a threat in both the run and the pass game. Barkley is going to be a really good player for a really long time and I think he will start out his career with winning the offensive rookie of the year.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Top 3 Candidates: Darius Leonard, Derwin James, Bradley Chubb
Who Will Win: Darius Leonard LB Colts
Who Deserves It: Darius Leonard LB Colts
Darius Leonard has been a huge part of the change of culture in Indy. Leonard plays like a maniac, he has outstanding speed and can run sideline to sideline. Leonard leads the league in tackles, and it's not even close. The next closest is Blake Martinez who has 23 less tackles. Leonard is extremely versatile, he is a stud when it comes to run stuffing, pass coverage, and pass rushing. Leonard is the leader of a young colts defense, he has the second most sacks on the team with 7 and has 2 more forced fumbles than any other player on that defense. Leonard is also a freak in the run game, he has 12 tackles for loss in his rookie year! When it comes to coverage, Leonard is a maniac. He has 6 broken up passes to go along with 1 interception. Leonard also has 8 quarterback hits, not to mention he's missed a game and still has one game left to go in this season. Leonard has helped put the Colts as a top 10 run defense in the NFL and the 11th best total defense. Leonard is a big reason for why the Colts are looking like a playoff bound team and expect him to show up big in January,
Breakout Player of the Year
Top 3 Candidates: Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Eric Ebron
Who Will Win: Christian McCaffrey RB Panthers
Who Deserves It: George Kittle TE 49ers
While this isn't an actual award, this is my award for second year or veteran players that haven't had a premier year before. All these candidates are very deserving, but I think McCaffrey and Kittle deserve it the most. I think McCaffrey would win it if it was an actual award. Christian has arguably been a top three back in all of football this year and broke the record for most receptions by a running back in a season. McCaffrey is the heart and soul of the Panthers offense even with Cam Newton in the game. McCaffrey is a game changer and can handle production. CMC most likely was the MVP for your fantasy teams and is changing the running back position. Defenses haven't figured out how to stop him yet, if you overcommit he'll juke you, if you go low he'l hurdle you, and if you triple team him he'll throw the ball. Norv Turner has been a big reason for why McCaffrey has been so successful. McCaffrey has had over 320 touches this year and still has one week to go. McCaffrey has had a phenomenal year and is very deserving of Breakout Player of the Year. If we look to the bay area, the 49ers tight end has had a season of a lifetime. George Kittle is second in the NFL with yards after the catch, and is just 100 yards away from breaking the single season receiving record for tight ends. Kittle's breakout game came against Denver, he had 205 yards in the first half to go along with one touchdown. Kittle came 5 yards short of breaking the single game record for a tight end, and was on pace to break the single game record for receiving yards in a game. Kittle is also known for his long receptions, if it was his 82 yarder vs the Chargers, his 75 yarder vs the Raiders, or his 85 yarder vs the Broncos; Kittle is also racing downfield. Not to mention, Kittle has also had inconsistencies at the quarterback position. Kittle has had three different quarterbacks running his offense, and he's been all three of there number one targets. Kittle is the leader of the 49ers offense and the future of the tight end position in the National Football League.
Offensive Player of the Year
Top 3 Candidates: Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Todd Gurley
Who Will Win: Drew Brees QB Saints
Who Deserves It: Patrick Mahomes QB Chiefs
If we are talking about the best offensive player in football this year, it has to be Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is electric, he's one of a kind; but I want to save the Mahomes talk for the MVP conversation. Drew Brees has been extremely consistent this year, but he's slowed down in recent years. He didn't have a single touchdown against either the Panthers or the Cowboys. Drew Brees has led the Saints to a 13-2 record and is the starting quarterback for the best team in the NFL. Brees gets two weeks to rest and work on his game. The Saints are going to be a scary team with their quarterback having fresh legs. Brees has modeled consistency, he has thrown for more than 30 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. Brees models greatness, he is the face of New Orleans and is the first person you think of when it comes to the New Orleans Saints franchise. While Brees is very deserving of the award, he's focused on the playoffs. Brees is having a stellar year under Sean Payton's offense this year.
Defensive Player of the Year
Top 3 Candidates: Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Chris Jones
Who Will Win: Aaron Donald DT Rams
Who Deserves It: Aaron Donald DT Rams
This is probably the most obvious award. Aaron Donald might be having the best defensive tackle season of all time. He has 19.5 sacks from the interior and still has to face the 49ers who have had there struggles against interior defensive lineman. If Aaron Donald has 4 sacks versus San Fransisco, then he will win MVP. Aaron Donald is changing the game, and might already be considered a hall of famer. Aaron Donald has 73 total tackles on the year and is something that we have never seen on the interior. In the open field, nobody wants to tackle him. Aaron Donald is so athletic, I could even see him playing full back in a couple of packages. Donald comes at you with both speed and power moves. He's arguably the most feared player in the NFL and some teams might need to even triple team him. Donald's combination of speed and strength will win him his second DPOY award in two years.
Comeback Player of the Year
Top 3 Candidates: JJ Watt, Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck
Who Will Win: Andrew Luck QB Colts
Who Deserves It: Andrew Luck QB Colts
Good old Captain Andrew Luck. Going into this season, we weren't sure if Andrew Luck would ever be the same. He was faced with a "broken shoulder" and a lacerated kidney. For god sake, we hadn't seen him throw a football in more than 2 years. When we were hearing about the Jaguars and Deshaun Watson all offseason, the only time they mentioned Andrew Luck's name was about the size football he was throwing. People didn't believe Luck was a franchise quarterback and some people thought the Colts should build around Jacoby Brissett. I can't imagine how Luck was feeling; infuriated, motivated, ready to prove people wrong... Luck was ready for a comeback. It took some time for Andrew Luck to get used to the game, the Colts started with a 1-5 record and has pulled together a 9-6 record. Luck is one of the best players in the NFL and if you asked me who deserves the most valuable player, it has to be Luck. Andrew Luck has led his team to what looks like a playoff position and deserves comeback player of the year.
Most Valuable Player
Top 3 Candidates: Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Aaron Donald
Who Will Win: Patrick Mahomes QB Chiefs
Who Deserves It: Patrick Mahomes QB Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is the best player in the NFL, said and done. Mahomes is electric, he has a jaw-dropping arm and spectacular play-making ability. Patrick Mahomes is a game changer; if it's no look passes, throwing across his body, or putting the ball in his left hand; Mahomes can do anything. Mahomes is mesmerizing. We have seen him defeat the Ravens and lighting up the skies versus the Rams. One thing I want to see Mahomes do is finish the game on primetime football. His two games that he won on a prime time game were versus the Bengals and the Broncos. He lost versus the Chargers, Chiefs, and the Rams. Mahomes is on a great team and has a lot around him. He's done a lot with it, the Chiefs are in position to clinch home field advantage against the Raiders. Mahomes is a special player and will bring in the MVP honor.