So before I post my next weekly prediction article post my season award predictions. This season we’ve seen some surprises pop up and we’ve seen some non-shocker front-runners. In a season of breakouts, slumps, hilarity, and gut-wrenching injuries, we’ve seen that there’s just no predicting the NFL completely. The NFL will never be fully predictable because there’s just so many random variables that change the scope of the season. That certainly won’t stop me from trying to predict things though, and that certainly includes now.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Patrick Mahommes, QB, CHIEFS
This choice was actually pretty tough and it was the most up in the air choice. The guy is in his second season and he’s currently on pace for over 5,200 yards and 54 TDs…AND HE’S 23 YEARS OLD PEOPLE!! Many people have Brees as a front runner, but this kid is doing things that Drew Brees didn’t accomplish until he was in his mid-30s. It took Peyton Manning 15 years to set the single season passing yards record and passing TDs record, and Mahommes could break both in just his second year. His receivers aren’t necessarily bad. He has Kelce, Hill, and his RB Hunt, but after that he has Chris Conley, and Demarcus Robinson (Sammy Watkins has been hurt). That’s certainly not the most dangerous receiving core in the league, but he most definitely makes them that way. Alex Smith did enough to get this team to the playoffs when he was in KC but Mahommes this season already has more passing yards than all but one season in Smith’s career. The most TDs Smith has thrown for is 26…Mahommes already has 37 and we’re only headed into week 12. The guy has exactly what it takes to be the leader of the next generation of quarterback. This guy is special and is very likely to be the answer for Andy Reid’s playoff woes.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER: TODD GURLEY, RB, RAMS
This was a relatively easy choice. Gurley is doing things we haven’t seen a running back do in a little while. Gurley is out here running and catching the ball with ease and is making a huge difference for his team. He’s showing just how much of a dominant running back and is separating himself from the rest of the pack as the best in the league. He is on pace for 2,100 total yards from scrimmage and 25 total TDs. He’s a major influence in one of the league’s best offenses and is helping Goff have a huge year as well.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER: AARON DONALD, DL, RAMS
This was a pretty easy pick as well. The rest of the league has its fair share of solid defenders but Donald has simply separated himself as the best. He’s absolutely wreaking havoc on offensive lines and backfields. He changes games and makes plays throughout games and also when they’re needed most. I haven’t seen an offense be able to stop him yet as he leads the league in sacks with 14.5 and is on pace for 22. He’s also on pace to have 4 forced fumbles and 3 or 4 recoveries. The guy has just been unstoppable, and the only person who might be a threat to his winning this award is Khalil Mack
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE: SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, GIANTS
This wasn’t super hard to pick either. Barkley has come out and done the same things he was doing at Penn State. He’s running and catching the ball with extreme talent, confidence, and athleticism. He is incredibly shifty, has excellent vision, and is just too damn athletic to bring down. He makes plays that I’ve never seen be made by a running back before. He also has a chance to make history as the first rookie running back to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He’d be just the 3rd running back overall to accomplish the feat also. He’s doing very special things and I can’t wait to see what he does as his career unfolds. The only player I could think would’ve had a shot to compete would be Ridley, but he hasn’t been as explosive lately as he started out.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE: DARIUS LEONARD, LB, COLTS
This one is simply because it’s who I think the committee will select, not who I would personally select. Darius Leonard has played great and has become the best player on the Colts defense. He’s a ball hawk and has been an absolute terror for opposing defenses. He currently has a stat line of 104 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 recoveries. That being said, I would personally pick someone that nobody else has even considered, but deserves to be. Donte Jackson plays for the Panthers and was drafted late in the 2nd round. The guy has 42 tackles, 1 sack, 4 INTs, 7 deflections, and a forced fumble. The guy is performing way above expectations and has become a very solid corner. He would be my pick but Darius Leonard is the more popular choice and is still a good choice at that.
COMEBACK PLAYER: ANDREW LUCK, QB, IND
I believe this pick is the right one for one big reason…the guy hasnt played since 2016. He missed a whole season and a half and he comes back in and starts putting up pro bowl numbers. Luck has come in and put up 29 TDs and almost 2,800 yards. He’s on pace to tally 4,400 yards and 44 TDs after well over 1 year of surgery after surgery. The story itself bids you to ask how that’s even possible. He has overcome so much and is performing at the same high level he was when he went down late in the 2016 season. It almost seems like he just picked up where he left off as if he never got hurt.
COACH OF THE YEAR: ANDY REID
This one isn’t too tough of a selection either. Reid has built this team from the bottom up and they are a top 3 team in the league and has helped turn second year QB Patrick Mahommes and this stellar offense into the deadly juggernaut we see today. He’s done special things for this program and is setting them up for an extremely bright future. Not only has he found tons of talent on this team, but that talent is also very young. Look for them to be very solid for years to come.