Early Predictions for 2016 NFL Awards

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Last Word On Pro Football, by Ryan Smith

Is it too early to start predicting who will bring home the gold at the Sixth Annual NFL Honors? Absolutely. The season isn’t even halfway over yet. Things can and will change so much by the end of the season that these predictions could end up being way off. However, there’s also a chance that a few of these predictions will be correct, and half the fun of sports analysis is taking educated guesses. So here they are.

Early Predictions for 2016 NFL Awards

Coach of the Year

Bill Belichick

This one is pretty much locked up. The New England Patriots are the best team in the AFC, and in much better position than people thought they would be. Imagine any good team in the NFL. Now suspend their best player for four games. Now have their second best player start the season injured. How well do you think they would fare?

Because that’s exactly what happened to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season, and Rob Gronkowski was sidelined by injuries. How did the Patriots respond? They won three of their first four.

Even after they lost Jimmy Garoppolo to injury, Belichick and the Patriots still managed to win with rookie Jacoby Brissett under center. Losing your star quarterback would be a death sentence for most teams, but the Patriot machine simply adapted. Now, Brady is averaging nearly 400 yards a game and the Patriots look unstoppable. Belichick kept the team afloat, and Lombardi number five might be in his future.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Ezekiel Elliott

Barring an injury or some kind of collapse, this award is pretty much a given at this point. The young rusher out of Ohio State has been great for the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott not only leads the league in rushing, but has helped America’s Team to a great start. The rookie running back has helped Dak Prescott adjust to the NFL as well, practically carrying the team. Elliott is on pace for a 2,000 yard season, and should absolutely win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Joey Bosa

Even though Joey Bosa has only played in three games, he leads all rookies in sacks already. That’s not a typo, Joey Bosa has four sacks in three games. Yannick Ngakoue also has four sacks, but he’s played in two more games.

According to PFF, Bosa has registered twenty pressures in his first three games. That’s more than any other player in the last ten years. That’s more than Von Miller, Khalil Mack, and that’s more than J.J. Watt. If Bosa maintains his current pace, he’ll finish the season with sixteen sacks. Quite the impressive haul for a rookie.

Offensive Player of the Year

Julio Jones

Julio Jones had 300 receiving yards in one game. Repeat. Julio Jones had 300 receiving yards in one game. It could be said that it was just a fluke, and that his overall stats are inflated because of it. But then again, it could also be said that only six men in NFL history have had that kind of a game. He’s currently on pace for well over 1,800 receiving yards and has been the go-to option for the Atlanta Falcons this year.

Defensive Player of the Year

Von Miller

Von Miller had a fantastic post-season last year, and it seems like he’s picked off right where he left off. He’s registered at least half a sack in every game this year, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s on pace for double digit sacks again, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him earn a Defensive Player of the Year award to pair with his Super Bowl MVP.

Most Valuable Player

Tom Brady

Yup. Tom Brady is going to win the Most Valuable Player award. Does it seem ridiculous? Because it really is. Despite missing a quarter of the season, Brady is already 14th in touchdown passes and is creeping up the passing yardage board. Motivated by rage, and assisted by a receiving corps that includes the likes of Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, and Martellus Bennett, Tom Brady is out for blood. If the Patriots keep winning games in dominant fashion, the AP will have no choice but to crown Tom Terrific yet again.