NFL Awards Predictions

Alex Calder, Contributing Writer

With week 9 of the NFL season in the books, we are officially at the halfway point of the regular season. This is the perfect time to predict the end-of-season NFL rewards based on how this season has started. 

First, we have the Celebration of the Year. Last year it went to Christian Wilkins when he did “the worm” after scoring a touchdown, and this year I do not think it will be much different. I predict the celebration of the year will go to Mike Gesicki because of his “griddy” in week 6 against the Vikings. He went all the way down the sideline to silence the haters and trolls who roasted his “griddy” online.

Next, we have the Unstoppable Performance Award. It has to go to Derrick Henry in the game against the Texans in week 8. Everything in that game was Derrick Henry. He rushed for 219 yards on 32 attempts with 2 touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill was hurt and the backup quarterback Malik Willis had only 10 passes in the 17-10 win for the Titans. This game marks the fourth consecutive time Derrick Henry has destroyed this defense putting up 200+ yards and 2+ TDs. The funny thing is, the player with the second-highest number of games with 200+ yards and 2+ TDs throughout his entire career has only done it 3 times, one less than Henry against the Texans alone.

Now, we have the Air and Ground Award which goes to Josh Allen.  Allen has had an amazing start to the season and even with his off-game against the Jets, has the most fantasy points of any quarterback. I think his mild injury and the bad game will put him out of contention for Offensive Player of the Year and will instead land him here. I think Derrick Henry will win the Ground Award, but Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey are right on his tail. Derrick Henry has not looked like he skipped a beat, and is still getting the superior production especially since the Titan’s receivers have been completely unproductive. Henry currently has 870 yards, 9 touchdowns, and averages 4.8 yards per attempt. Henry is going to keep up this domination even after Tannehill is back.

Time for the bigger of the awards. First, let’s talk about the Comeback Player of the Year. Although there are some great options for this award, like McCaffrey, Henry, and Barkley, it has to go to Geno Smith. Everyone in the world had written off Geno Smith and thought Drew Lock would be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks. Despite this, Smith has led the Seahawks to a 6-3 headstart which is the best in their division. Smith has put up 2,199 yards, 15 touchdowns, only 4 interceptions, and has a completion percentage of 73.1%. Smith’s stats say it all for why he deserves this award. 

The Rookie Awards: Defensive Rookie of the Year has to be Sauce Gardner. Sauce has looked like a top-10 corner in the league in just his first 9 games in the league, and he has 2 interceptions already. Offensive Rookie of the Year is a much closer race, but I think Seattle Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker will outpace Houston’s Dameon Pierce for it. Pierce started as the front-runner but ever since Rashad Perry got hurt, Kenneth Walker has played better than Pierce. Kenneth Walker already has 570 yards and 7 touchdowns with 5.1 yards per carry and hasn’t even started in all of the games. I think Walker will have a great last stretch of the season and he will get both offensive rookie of the year and overall rookie of the year.

Now we have Coach of the Year, an award never really given to the best coach. Coach of the Year often goes to the coach with the best record and does not actually account for what he does for the team. This year I think Miami Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel and Brian Daboll on the NY Football Giants deserve it most. They have completely turned around their respective organizations but will not get enough wins to get the award. Instead, I think it will go to Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni. Don’t get me wrong, Nick deserves to win this award just not as much as others. The Eagles will most likely have the best record in football, but the teams they play against are not that good. Before you yell at me saying the Cowboys and Giants being in their division is hard enough, look at who the Cowboys and Giants have played. Neither of these teams is a Super Bowl contender; their division just has a very easy schedule. However, Sirianni still deserves a lot of credit as the team has turned around from last year and has utilized their new additions beautifully.

It’s time for the most important awards for the NFL. First off, we have the Offensive Player of the Year. Now personally I think Tyreek Hill deserves it and will probably get it. Currently, he is on pace to beat Calvin Johnson’s record for most receiving yards in a season. Hill has 1,104 receiving yards to date. However, there might be some quarterback bias and the award could end up going to Jalen Hurts, but I think Tyreek Hill is the best offensive player in the league and has made Tua Tagovailoa look good even when he cannot throw it that far. Second, we have Defensive Player of the Year. This one is not even close. It is obviously Micah Parsons who can do everything on the field, step back into coverage and go for the quarterback, and he has stats to prove it. Finally, the most important award of them all is MVP. This could be a close race between several different quarterbacks, but I think it will end up going to Patrick Mahomes. Everyone was wondering what Mahomes was going to do without Tyreek Hill. He has shown that he is just as good without Hill and has put up some amazing stats this year. He has 2,605 yards, with 21 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions, certainly an MVP stat line.

All of this could change in an instant with an injury, so make sure to check out the follow-up post after all the awards have been presented.