NFL Award Candidates and Predictions
2021 has been a year of great highs and woeful lows. Particularly in the NFL, the gap between the best teams and the worst have been clear for almost the entire season. Teams like the Buccaneers, Packers, Cowboys and Chiefs are so above every other team that awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year have been all but given to players on these teams already. However the award selection for the NFL has often been unpredictable and some awards are given to players not on the very best teams but to players that truly deserve these awards based on personally magnificent seasons.
Will 2021 be this kind of year where underdogs and undervalued players are recognized on a national scale? Or will we see the players from the same eight-ish teams win these awards again like always? Let's take a look at the most likely scenarios.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers
Runner-Ups: Tom Brady, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jonathan Taylor, RB Indianapolis Colts
The 38-year old reigning MVP has had a fantastic season. His 111.1 QB-Rating leads the league, as does his 8.75 TD-INT ratio. He has added 3 rushing touchdowns to his 35 passing, and led his Packers to a 13-3 record clinching a 1st-round bye.
Coach of the Year: Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers
Runner-Ups: Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Matt LaFleur has become the first coach in NFL history to win 13 games in his first three seasons. LaFleur's coaching has been questioned due to his decision to draft QB Jordan Love before the 2020 season, however since that point Aaron Rodgers has been the best player in the league, so is it possible that LaFleur is just smarter than the rest of us?
Offensive Player of Year: Jonathan Taylor, RB Indianapolis Colts
Cooper Kupp, WR Los Angeles Rams
Deebo Samuel, WR San Francisco 49ers
The 22-year old has already broken his own team's single season rushing record and is on pace to beat their TD record too. The Colts lost their first game in which Taylor rushed for over 100 yards making them now 9-1 in those circumstances. With 2074 scrimmage yards (250 more than Cooper Kupp in 2nd) and 20 TD's (2 more than Austin Ekeler in 2nd), Taylor is the right choice for the award even considering the amazing season Cooper Kupp has had.
Defensive Player of Year: TJ Watt, LB Pittsburgh Steelers
Runner-Ups: Micah Parsons, LB Dallas Cowboys
Myles Garrett, DE Cleveland Browns
The 2nd coming of the Watt family has reminded us all of the older brother and 3-time winner of this award. Watt has had an amazing season, at times single-handedly winning games for the Steelers, his dual ability to drop back in coverage or rush the passer is second to none in the league. With 17.5 sacks, 17 TFLs, 4 forced fumbles and 4 Pass deflections his well-roundedness makes him an easy choice for this award. However, Micah Parsons has been hot on his tail and could become the second rookie to ever win this award if he finishes the season strong.
Defensive Rookie of Year: Micah Parsons, LB Dallas Cowboys
Runner-Ups: Patrick Surtain II, CB Denver Broncos
Jaelen Phillips, Edge Miami Dolphins
This prediction is the easiest to make. One of the greatest defensive rookie seasons we've ever seen. HIs 13 sacks is good for 6th in the NFL, and 1 away from a rookie record. He added 84 tackles, 20 TFLs, 3 forced fumbles and 3 pass deflections. Micah Parsons not only deserves this award but deserves a strong consideration for DPOY.
Offensive Rookie of Year: Ja'Marr Chase, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Runner-Ups: Mac Jones, QB New England Patriots
Najee Harris, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
Ja'Marr Chase has put up numbers eerily similar to Justin Jefferson last season. He has also been partly responsible for the rise of the Bengals to AFC North champions. Expected rookie ranks include 1st in receiving yards, 2nd in receiving TDs and 5th in catches.
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