For some teams it is now the middle of the NFL season. Speculation is running rampant after eight weeks and I intend to take part. Below I’ve picked my choices for NFL mid-season awards and I’ve included an honorable mention along with each selection. No doubt most of these selections will change in the second half of the season, just like last year, and they’ll all be wrong but at least I can say I tried. All these selections are current as of the end of Week 8.
MVP- Patrick Mahomes QB Kansas City Chiefs (HM- Drew Brees)
I hope you weren’t expecting it to be anybody else. At this point Mahomes is the run-away candidate for league MVP and he’s got the Chiefs in position to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Mahomes is leading the league in yards with 2,526 and touchdowns with 26. He is currently averaging 315.8 yards per game and has the Chiefs sitting at 7-1 midway through the season.
If Brees retires without winning an MVP he will be the greatest quarterback to never win the award. This season Brees has led the Saints to a 6-1 start and is leading the league in completion percentage (77.4%). He’s also thrown 14 touchdowns and just one interception. That kind of efficiency is off the charts, but what else would you expect from the NFL’s all-time leading passer?
Coach of the Year- Sean McVay Los Angeles Rams (HM- Andy Reid)
The Rams are the last undefeated team in football and McVay is on his way to repeating as coach of the year. The Rams are one of the most fun teams to watch and McVay’s whole offensive scheme is brilliant. In just two seasons he’s turned a franchise around and made them the Super Bowl favorites. Hats off to McVay.
Andy Reid also deserves credit for what he’s done in Kansas City, not just this year, but during his whole tenure with the team. He and his staff have assembled one of the best young offensive cores in the game today. The only thing missing from Reid’s trophy case is a Lombardi trophy.
Comeback Player of the Year- J.J. Watt DE Houston Texans (HM- Carson Wentz)
Watt’s resurgence has been made even sweeter given that he basically missed the last two seasons, playing only a combined eight games in 2016 and 2017. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is lighting up quarterbacks this season and is back to being his dominant self. Like it or not, the NFL is better with Watt.
There are so many players who could win this award. While I think Watt has the advantage, there are a multitude of quarterbacks in the conversation. Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, and Wentz all have a shot at this award, as does Odell Beckham Jr. I’m giving the honorable mention edge to Wentz because his completion percentage is over 70%, he’s putting up just under 300 passing yards per game, and has thrown 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Plus he has his team in the best position of the other candidates.
Offensive Player of the Year- Todd Gurley RB Los Angeles Rams (HM- Adam Thielen)
I’ve got Gurley being the second Rams repeat winner on this list. Gurley has 15 rushing and receiving touchdowns so far, leading the league. He’s also leading the NFL in rushing and is having an even better year than in 2017, when he won this award for the first time. Right now, Gurley is averaging an even 100 rushing yards per game to go along with 43.9 receiving yards per game. He really is the best running back in the NFL.
Thielen is now the first wide receiver in NFL history to start a season with eight straight games of 100 receiving yards or more. He deserves consideration, but Gurley is an absolute touchdown machine.
Defensive Player of the Year- Aaron Donald DT Los Angeles Rams (HM- J.J. Watt)
Sheesh, no wonder the Rams are so good. Just look at all the winners they have on this list. Donald has a few more competitors for defensive player of the year this season. He won the award easily last year but Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Watt are all throwing their names in the ring this time around. Then again, Donald does have ten sacks in eight games, pretty hard to top that.
Offensive Rookie of the Year- Saquon Barkley RB New York Giants (HM- Phillip Lindsay)
This isn’t even a race, Barkley has easily run away with the award as most people expected he would. It would matter more if he was just on a better team, but no one can deny he’s been incredible and has made the future of the running back position in the NFL even brighter.
Someone should be fired for not drafting Lindsay. It’s hard to believe that literally every team passed on him in the draft. Right now he’s averaging 66.4 rushing yards per game, which is more than Barkley, and has recorded back-to-back 90 yard rushing performances. He’s also averaging 5.7 yards per attempt, one more whole yard than Barkley (4.7).
Defensive Rookie of the Year- Darius Leonard LB Indianapolis Colts (HM- Denzel Ward)
How this man slid down to the second round of the draft is beyond me. His instincts are sharper than most defenders and he always seem to appear around the football, like he’s constantly being drawn to it. Let me also remind you he’s leading the league in tackles and he missed a game! Ward has also been impressive. In his very first game he made Ben Roethlisberger look silly and has continued to be a turnover machine since.