With the 2018 National Football League season coming to an end, it’s time for me to reveal my predictions for certain upcoming NFL awards. The winners will officially be announced Feb. 2, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. That is the day before the Super Bowl, which is the championship of the NFL.
There are a lot of awards that can still be taken by my second or third picks, but some of these breakout players already have these awards in the bag. Such as MVP, which I believe has already been won by a very surprising player.
Patrick Mahomes has had an amazing season throwing 43 touchdown passes, 4,300 passing yards, and only 11 interceptions out of 13 games. This has helped lead the Kansas City Chiefs to their current record of 11-2. Mahomes is only in his sophomore season and is already making a very persuasive case on why he should be MVP. He honestly has everything – good awareness, great accuracy, unmatched arm strength, and the ability to get out of the pocket and scramble.
Drew Brees has also had a great season so far. He officially broke the record of passing yards in a career with 73,908 yards and has made 519 passing touchdowns in his career, helping lead the New Orleans Saints to their record of 11-2. The Saints have a great offense and it is all because Brees is just so dangerous. When they are able to run all over people, it really opens up their pass game and that’s what makes Brees thrive. This season already he has 3,463 passing yards and 31 touchdown passes to four interceptions.
Another potential MVP candidate is Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan is third in the league for passing, has made 28 passing touchdowns, and has only thrown six interceptions.
For Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY) I believe Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley will take it home due to his magnificent season. Gurley is currently third in the league for his all purpose yards with a total of 1,707 yards. The Rams are also 11-2 and look to be Super Bowl contenders due to Gurley helping lead the pack.
My second pick for OPOY, Julio Jones, has been a beast this season with the Atlanta Falcons. After not getting any touchdowns the first eight weeks of the season, Jones has finally made five touchdowns since Nov. 4 when the Falcons played the Redskins. Quite an improvement, which easily qualifies him for OPOY.
My third pick, Tyreek Hill, seems to be the fastest player in the NFL. Everytime he touches the ball for the Kansas City Chiefs he has the potential to score, as he has already made 11 total touchdowns this season. Tyreek is my third pick only because of his big play potential having 1,258 receiving yards, with seven catches going for over 40+ yards. These numbers are good for any receiver, but Jones and Gurley are better players overall.
What I believe will be the closest race of all is the award for Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY), which should go to Aaron Donald, the defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams. Aaron Donald has been a force to be reckoned with this year racking up 16.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 46 total tackles. He seems like an easy winner for the award due to his sacks and presence felt alone. Even with teams gameplanning around him, he is still achieving great numbers.
A very close second pick is Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears. Mack has been an all-around great pick-up for the Bears as he has made 10 sacks, six forced fumbles, and a interception that he took back for a touchdown. The only thing that could put Mack over Donald would be more sacks, which is what he is currently lacking in. Mack has also missed two games which could also lead to his numbers lacking a bit. The Bears love Mack and hope to re-sign him when he is a free agent for good reason.
In third place I have the outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos Von Miller. It seems like every year Von Miller is in contention for DPOY and he deserves it. He has the numbers every single year, but gets beat out every year. This year, Miller has gotten 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and one interception. He is also one of those players that teams game plan around just to stop him from wreaking havoc.
Comeback Player of the Year is an award for a player that missed most of the previous season, has since come back, and did amazing. This award should go to Andrew Luck, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Luck was last season out due to recovery from a shoulder surgery all the way back in early 2017 and honestly, I did not expect him to come back and play as many games as he has. Since he has thrown 3,759 yards with 34 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
My second pick is Adrian Peterson, running back for the Washington Redskins. Peterson has only played a combined total of 13 games from the last three seasons and has already played 13 this season alone, which shows much improvement. Peterson has also rushed 872 yards this season which is eighth in the league with also seven touchdowns.
My third pick, J.J. Watt from the Houston Texans is a terrific player, but I gave Adrian Peterson the edge. This doesn’t take away from the fact that he is currently tied for third in the league with 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and four pass deflections to go along with it.
The award for Offensive Rookie of the Year has a very clear and mutually agreed on winner – Saquon Barkley, running back for the New York Giants. Barkley is a very obvious winner for this award as he is top 10 in the league with a total of nine total touchdowns, while currently being second in the league in all purpose yards and third in rushing yards.
I have the Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay in second. Lindsay had a crazy story coming out of Colorado, being undrafted, and then being picked up by his hometown team. Lindsay is fourth in the league in rushing yards with 967, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, and has made nine touchdowns this season so far.
My third pick is Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Ridley is a very solid secondary receiver having a total of 657 yards and eight touchdowns. He is a very consistent receiver but fortunately most of the attention from defenses is taken away from him due to Julio Jones, another Falcons Receiver, helps Ridley get open. Being only their 26th pick, I think the Falcons got a pretty solid receiver who has the potential to turn into a great receiver next season.
For Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY), I have outside linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts Darius Leonard taking home the award. No one really expected Darius Leonard to have the season he is having, leading the league in tackles with 135 tackles. To add on, he has made four forced fumbles and 7 sacks.
My second pick, safety for the Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James was a well-known baller coming out of college and has definitely lived up to his expectations. James has made three interceptions, 12 pass deflections, and 88 total tackles, which is a very solid season for any safety, let alone a rookie.
My third pick, outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos Bradley Chubb is currently teamed up with Von Miller, another defensive end on the Broncos, which makes Chubb’s job just a little easier. Chubb only has 47 tackles, but because he is played more as a defensive end, this makes sense because defensive ends normally don’t have many tackles. Not to mention, Chubb also has 12 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
My Coach of the Year is Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy. This is Nagy’s second season with the Chicago Bears after being signed last season on Jan. 8. The Bears had a record of 5-11 last year, but Nagy has helped them improve to a 9-4 record, shaping a playoff-bound team.
In second I have Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Mcvay was another head coach who was signed during the offseason. Since this season started, he has found a way to make all of the talent work together as one, resulting in their current record of 11-2. I personally don’t think this Rams team would be as good as they are without McVay at the head coach position.
Coming in third is Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. Reid began coaching the Chiefs back in 2013 and has consistently made improvements to the team. This year, the team’s record is 11-2, compared to last you when it was just 10-6.
Like I said earlier, some of these awards can still be won by my second or third choices but for most of these awards, these players already have them in the bag. I truly believe most of my predictions will be correct. I may have been off on a few of them, but for the most part I think these awards are pretty obvious.