We are through four weeks of the NFL season, which means the first quarter of the season has been completed. Albeit a relatively small sample size, we have some clarity on which teams are contenders and which teams are rebuilding. It is never too early to make predictions on the major individual awards that are given out at the end of the year. Here are my predictions for the major NFL awards.
NFL Awards Predictions
MVP – Russell Wilson
This one may shock you that I am not predicting last year’s MVP Patrick Mahomes to repeat even after their 4-0 start. Yes, Mahomes is on pace for 6,040 yards and 40 touchdowns. His team has also yet to score less than 28 points in a game. However, Russell Wilson through five games has career highs in completion percentage (leads the league), yards per attempt, yards per game, and passer rating.
Wilson plays in a tougher division with two real playoff contenders in the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. The Seattle Seahawks are off to a 4-1 start, with much of the credit being given to Wilson. The Seahawks do not possess the fearsome defense they once did and Wilson does not have the weapons that Mahomes has. If he can lead his team to an NFC West division title, Wilson should win the MVP regardless of what the team’s record is.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Daniel Jones
The New York Giants are playing with belief once again, as they have been sparked by Daniel Jones through his first two starts. Jones is the quarterback of the future in New York, and now that Eli Manning has been ridden to the bench, Jones will have the remaining 12 games on the schedule to further his development. Kyler Murray will start all 16 games, but his team might not even win the amount of games all season that Jones won in his first two starts. And with all the hype surrounding Gardner Minshew and Minshew Mania in Jacksonville, the job will likely be turned back over to Nick Foles once he is fully recovered from his collarbone injury.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Brian Burns
When making NFL Awards predictions such as defensive rookie of the year, take a long look at pass-rushers. As long as the Carolina Panthers defense continues to play well and harass the quarterback, Brian Burns’ name will continue to be heard throughout the league. Carolina selected Burns with the 16th overall pick in the draft, and he has not disappointed so far. Barrett has accumulated 2.5 sacks through the first four games. Burns is constantly a disruptive force, as evident by his nine quarterback knockdowns to go with his 2.5 sacks. The Panthers are fourth in the league in total defense and are first in the league in sacks. Rookie Brian Burns is a big part of this defensive resurgence.
Offensive Player of the Year – Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey keeps racking up huge chunks of yards game in and game out. Since Week 14 of last year, he has 63 receptions which are most in the NFL among running backs. McCaffrey currently leads the league in rushing and is second among running backs in receiving yards. He has taken all but four of his team’s backfield carries so far. A 1,000-1,000 rushing and receiving yards season is not out of the question with such a durable back like McCaffrey. If he achieves this feat, this award is all but a lock.
Defensive Player of the Year – Shaquil Barrett
Shaquil Barrett of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has put up insane numbers through the first four games of the season. He has nine sacks to go along with three forced fumbles, seven tackles for loss, and one interception. Tampa Bay has been a surprise for many this year, and they seem to be clicking on both sides of the ball under new coach Bruce Arians. Tampa Bay is off to a 2-2 start and has a huge divisional showdown with the New Orleans Saints this week. As long as the Buccaneers stay competitive, Barrett’s name will be heard more and more each week.
Coach of the Year – Sean McDermott
The average fan cannot name many defensive players or offensive players for the Buffalo Bills. Neither their skill players nor their defensive stars are flashy, yet they get the job done. The Bills are off to a tremendous 3-1 start under coach Sean McDermott who is looking to take the Bills back to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. They were a special teams blunder and Josh Allen injury away from beating the powerhouse New England Patriots and owning sole possession of first place in the AFC East. If McDermott can lead the Bills back to the playoffs with a 36-year old running back and lunch-pail defense, he is absolutely deserving of this award.