Image courtesy Sports Chat Place
By: Jonathan Norman
With Weeks Nine and Ten of the 2021 NFL season in the books, it is already past the midpoint of this season, which means it’s time to pick some midseason NFL awards.
Six of the NFL’s most prestigious awards are Most Valuable Player (MVP), Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year. They will be decided at the NFL Honors just before the Super Bowl, but who would win these awards if the season ended today?
My MVP pick at this point in the season would be Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. The 44-year-old quarterback has been sensational for Tampa: he currently leads the league in passing yards, with 2,870, and touchdown passes, with 27. Despite the loss to the Washington Football Team this past Sunday, the Buccaneers are still 6-3 and are averaging the most passing yards a game with 315.6. Brady’s spectacular numbers have made him the frontrunner to win this award for the fourth time.
The Offensive Player of the Year so far has clearly been Los Angeles Rams wide receiver, Cooper Kupp. Kupp is by far leading the league in receiving yards with 1,019 (the next best is Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill with 882). He also leads the league in touchdown receptions, with 10. This season, Kupp became the first player since Jerry Rice in 1990 to have 1,000 yards and 10 or more touchdowns in the first 10 games. As for Defensive Player of the Year, I would choose Cleveland Browns’ defensive end, Myles Garrett. Garrett is leading the NFL in sacks, with 13, and tackles for losses, with 12. He is also on pace to surpass Giants legend Michael Strahan’s single-season sacks record of 22.5.
Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been the clear favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year as of now. He is putting up all-time numbers for a rookie receiver with 835 receiving yards (5th best in the NFL) and 7 receiving touchdowns. My pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year would be Dallas Cowboys linebacker, Micah Parsons. So far Parsons has 5 sacks and has been a big contributor to the much improved Cowboys defense.
As for the last two awards, the comeback player of the year so far has been Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. In Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season, Prescott dislocated his ankle and missed the remainder of the season. Prescott’s comeback has been strong so far, with 2,341 yards and a 110.8 quarterback rating this season. His large role on the team with the most offensive yards in the NFL this season have led many to consider his name in the MVP conversation as well.
For Coach of the Year, my pick would be Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Cardinals have been one of the best teams in the NFL this season with a record of 8-2. They also have been a top offense in the NFL, with Kingsbury’s most impressive win to date, coming against their division rival San Francisco 49ers. Kingsbury coached his team to a 31-17 win without his starting quarterback Kyler Murray or starting wide receiver Deandre Hopkins.
With Kingsbury’s impressive coaching, the Arizona Cardinals have been the most surprising NFL team this season. Last year, the Cardinals went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. This season the Cardinals are 8-2 and are in contention for the top seed in the NFC. The most disappointing team in the NFL this year has been the Miami Dolphins. Last season, they were 10-6 and just barely missed the playoffs. This year they are 3-7 and look to be heading towards a rebuild with many fans wanting to replace quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
The 2021 NFL season has been quite competitive as there are no clear favorites to make the Super Bowl. However, my prediction would be that Super Bowl LVI will consist of the Green Bay Packers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers are 8-2 this season and are coming off a shutout win against the Seahawks. Even with Aaron Rogers’ drama in the offseason and his recent contraction of COVID-19, the Packers still look sharp and are poised to make their third straight NFC championship game. As for the AFC representative, I picked the Chiefs, due to their past success and the current rise in their play. The Chiefs started off slow, but they just got a huge win against the Oakland Raiders, which put them in first place in the AFC West at 6-4. Their quarterback Patrick Mahomes had 406 passing yards and 5 touchdowns in this game. I think the Chiefs will continue to improve and make another trip to the Super Bowl.