With the season only 2 weeks away and coming fast, we already shared our standings projections and now it is time for the NFL Awards predictions. These predictions will be on the 7 major awards and they will be based on past stats and conditions that will help him succeed. Let’s get into it.
AP Most Valuable Player Honors:
This award is Tom Brady’s to lose. He is going to be 40, but he has put up great numbers in these last 3-4 years and he finally has a deep threat speedster again. Last time he had a big deep threat like Cooks he had a historic year (2007 with Randy Moss). The depth of this team is crazy, especially at running back. Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, and James White should provide a steady diet of rushing and pass catching for Brady to rely on. The injury of Julian Edelman should hurt but this team is too deep for that. Brady can make any receiver look good and has done that for years. His TD-Int ratio last year led the league at 28-2 which is INSANE. He probably won’t repeat that but he should be somewhere near that. He is a lock for 4,500+ yards and 40 TDs this year. This team led by Brady will most likely be playing in the AFC Championship game yet again.
Other Candidates: Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Aaron Rodgers
AP Coach of the Year:
Let’s be honest, Bill Belichick should win this award every year. He makes moves and has his team in Super Bowl contention every year. But he can’t win it every year so let’s go with someone else. Jack Del Rio is in prime condition to win this award. Coming off a season where his team went 12-4 and lost their starting QB before playoffs is devastating, but much of the same team is back. Derek Carr should be healthy and ready for a great season ahead of him. The addition of Marshawn Lynch is also big for this team as well. Del Rio has shown that he is willing to risk anything to win. He proved that by going for the 2-point conversion in a shootout against the Saints and it worked. He is willing to do stuff like that to win and it often pays off. His bold moves and highly thought out strategies should help him win this award.
Other Candidates: Andy Reid, Adam Gase, and Ben Mcadoo
AP Offensive Player of the Year:
This award will be the one with the closest raise this season. Between David Johnson and Le’veon Bell. In the end, though it will be Le’veon Bell hoisting the trophy come the end of the season. He has the better O-line and better vision than Johnson. Bell has averaged 4.5 yards per carry over his career and has increased it year after year since his rookie campaign. He has gotten it to 4.9 this past season. He has a history of injuries but was healthy all last season. He played in 12 games because of suspension but is healthy this season and lined up for a huge season. The offensive line in front of him is top 3 in the league and should give him plenty of time and holes to run through. He will go for 1,500+ yards and double-digit touchdowns on the ground and add 500+ yards receiving. His dual threat skills have given him success and should give him a large payday next season.
Other Candidates: David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., and Antonio Brown
AP Defensive Player of the Year:
This seems like the easiest one of them all. A healthy J.J. Watt is an unstoppable J.J. Watt. He has already won 3 DPOY awards in his career and is on track for a 4th one. The 4-time all-pro defensive end is in a great defensive scheme in Houston, and with Clowney, on the other side of the line or even at OLB and on the same side it will be hard for teams to double team Watt and get away with it. Leaving him on single blockage isn’t very wise though because he will make you pay if that happens. From 2012-2015 he averaged 17.25 sacks per season. Those 4 years were when he was healthy and dominating, he also averaged 18.5 hurries per season during that stretch as well. If he can avoid another major injury he is almost a lock for another DPOY. 20 sacks is never out of reach for him and he will come close to that again this season.
Other Candidates: Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Eric Berry
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year:
This draft was loaded with talented running backs. There were 15 backs in the first 4 rounds taken but this award is going to the best of all of them. Leonard Fournette, the #4 overall pick in the draft will have the best year of them all. He will get a lot of touches and thrive from that. The O-line in Jacksonville is not that great but if fellow rookie, Cam Robinson can come in and play well though, that will help Fournette tremendously. Fournette is a grown man and is not easy to take down. His speed is not normal for his size, and he is not afraid to just put his head down and run you over. His stiff arm could be the best in the league already. His 6.2 average yards per carry over 3 years in college in tremendous. He also rushed for 3,830 yards and 40 touchdowns in college. He should rush for 1,200+ yards and 9+ touchdowns. He will also finally give Blake Bortles the run game he has never had in his career.
Other Candidates: Joe Mixon, DeShaun Watson, and Christian McCaffrey
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year:
The #1 overall pick, Myles Garrett, has looked like a monster in the first 3 preseason games. Yes it is preseason but he’s still going up against 1st string offenses and it looking like a pro already. He has 1 sack, 2 solo tackles, in only 2 games played. While the lack of tackles is shocking, it was not a whole 2 games because it is preseason. We can’t look just at preseason though, looking at training camp helps too. He has been a terror in practice, often showing the gruesome speed that he displayed in college, beating o-lineman straight off the line for what would be sacks if they were allowed to hit the QB, but its practice so he can’t. If he stays healthy the animal should be unleashed. Look for 10+ sacks this year from him.
Other Candidates: Malik Hooker, Reuben Foster, and Jamal Adams
AP Comeback Player of the Year:
This spot could easily go to a player mentioned earlier in J.J. Watt, but I’m all for spreading the wealth and having a different player for each award so I’m going to go with someone else. The Pittsburgh Steelers have an explosive offense and they are gaining back a top receiver from suspension. Martavis Bryant is a freak of an athlete and is coming off a full season of rest. He has added 10 pounds of muscle since the last time we saw him on the field where he played well. In his career, he has battled suspensions and injury but has a 17.3 yards per catch average and has 14 touchdown catches. That is in 24 career games. With teams going to double team Antonio Brown and have to worry about Le’veon Bell in both the running and passing game, expect Bryant to have a lot of single coverage and for Big Ben to look his way a lot. Expect a 1,000+ yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns this season.
Other Candidates: Keenan Allen, Brandon Marshall, J.J. Watt