NFL Award Predictions as the Regular Season Comes Down to the Wire

As the 2020 NFL regular season starts to come to an end and teams continue their playoff pushes, it’s time to start taking into consideration the several awards and honors that will be handed out prior to Super Bowl LV (55). Most of the award races have been close, but many players have been recently pulling away in their respective categories and have put themselves in good positions to win. Here are my predictions for who will come out on top in each category:

Most Valuable Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Runners-up: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson

While the first half of the season seemed to be all Wilson, Patrick Mahomes has absolutely dominated the 2nd half of the season. Leading the league with a current 4,208 passing yards, which is more than 447 more yards than any other quarterback. That astounding stat, along with 33 passing touchdowns on only five interceptions has helped his reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to a 12-1 record through week 14 and a clinched playoff spot. 

Fun Fact: Patrick Mahomes owns a stake in the Kansas City Royals, making him the youngest MLB owner ever.

Offensive Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Runners Up: Dalvin Cook, Davante Adams, Derrick Henry

In the best year of his four year career, Alvin Kamara has been the number one man all season in one of the NFL’s top offenses. Totaling around 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, Kamara has also put up one of the best receiving years the league has ever seen. While 77 receptions for 699 yards and four touchdowns is impressive for a receiver, it is more than outstanding for a running back. With similar total stats and production to runner up Cook, Kamara’s 10-3 record to Cook’s 6-7 gives Kamara the edge.

Fun fact: Cook was taken in the 2017 NFL draft at pick 41 in the second round, 26 picks ahead of Kamara at pick 67.

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Runners up: T.J Watt, Myles Garrett

This is still a three-horse race. Watt and Garrett have both been phenomenal all year long, Donald’s dominance is just unmatched. His ability to get off double teams and even triple teams is unbelievable. With 12.5 Sacks while being double-teamed during every play, the Rams have one of the best defenses in the league. Donald is an absolute nightmare for other teams’ quarterbacks and running backs.

Fun Fact: Donald’s older brother Archie Donald Jr. was an NFL linebacker for the Cleveland Browns until 2012.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Runners up: Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow

Jefferson may be the best rookie Wide Receiver we’ve seen in the last decade. 1,039 yards in his first 12 games are 4th amongst NFL receivers and he is only the fifth guy in NFL History to have 1,000+ yards in his first 12 games. The only other Viking to do that? Legend Randy Moss. Runner up Justin Herbert’s inability to win games with all of the talent he’s surrounded with and Joe Burrow’s year-ending injury give Jefferson the hardware for Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

Fun Fact: Jefferson played College Football at LSU, where his two brothers, Jordan and Rickey Jefferson, also played. 

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young, W

ashington Football Team

 Runners up: Jeremy Chinn, Antoine Winfield Jr., Jaylon Johnson, Patrick Queen

Young is an absolute monster and is not raw by any standard. The edge rusher is able to bend down, get low to the ground around offensive tackles and finish plays. With 35 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, Young is circled in every offensive opponent’s game plan every week, as a 6’5, 265-pound edge rusher requires double teams often to stop him. While Young has been outstanding, Jeremy Chinn of the Carolina Panthers has been closing the gap for the award with his aggressive tackling and two defensive touchdown performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12. 

Fun Fact: Young trained with world-famous bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger in preparation for the NFL Draft.

Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Runner up: Brian Flores

The Steelers have been nothing short of fantastic this season, mostly thanks to a great defense and Tomlin. The team got off to an 11-0 start, best in franchise history, before losing to the Washington Football Team and the Buffalo Bills. However, they still hold the second seed in the AFC and have clinched a playoff spot. Tomlin continues to build his legacy as one of the coaching greats, never having a season with a losing record in 14 seasons.

Fun Fact: Mike Tomlin is the first African American coach in Steelers history.

Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Smith, Washington Football Team

Runner up: Ben Roethlisberger 

Smith’s comeback season has been inspirational, around two years ago, he injured his leg during a game and almost had it amputated. It looked nearly impossible for him to ever play football again. But, he was determined to get back on the gridiron. 693 days later, he played for the Washington Football Team and has led them to four straight wins currently, including defeating the undefeated Steelers on Monday Night Football.

Fun Fact: Smith was the Chiefs’ Walter Payton Man of the Year award candidate in 2017.

* As of December 15th, 2020*