Nov. 24, 2016
NFL Awards Race
As we enter week 11, the conversation for post season awards is getting serious. Of course, it is still much too early to predict who will come home with these awards. There is a lot of football left to play, a season can be made or broken in the closing weeks. That said, here are my predictions for the three major post season awards (MVP, ROTY, and Head Coach of the Year) in the NFL.
Winner: Matt Ryan:
The Atlanta Falcons, a surprise contender this season, are being guided by a quarterback who had until recently been regarded as a mediocre quarterback. But Matt Ryan is playing some elite football right now. Matt Ryan deserves the MVP award because he is absolutely torching defenses. He's slinging the pigskin with ease, tallying 3,247 yards on 236 completions. He's thrown 24 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He's also quite accurate, completing 68% of his passes. Ryan and his boys on offense have led the Falcons to a 6-4 record. With the terrible conference they play in, the Falcons are pretty much guarenteed a playoff spot regardless. But, Ryan and his high flying dirty birds should be a serious threat in the post season. If he keeps his numbers up, he'll win the MVP award.
Tom Brady: If he wasn't suspended the first few games of the season, he probably would have been my MVP candidate. Brady is mad at the league and is taking it out on everyone he faces. His numbers don't stack up to Ryan. Stats: 1,635 yards, 12 touchdowns, 1 interception.
Dak Prescott: I really like what Dallas has going for them right now, and Prescott will undoubtedly be an MVP candidate this season and for many to come. While he's playing well, Ryan has been better. Not to mention, Prescott is blessed with a brick wall for an offensive line and a threat at running back with Elliott. Not this year, not because he's performed poorly, solely because Ryan is that good. Stats: 2,239 yards, 14 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
Derek Carr: Carr has been playing out of his mind this season. He's led his Raiders to a 7-2 record and a tie atop the AFC West. That being said, Ryan has simply outperformed him. While Carr has the better record, Ryan has the numbers. Stats: 2,505 yards, 17 touchdowns, 3 interceptions.
Rookie of the Year
Winner: Ezekiel Elliott:
Elliott has been running wild on the NFL this season. He continues to impress, running behind his top caliber offensive line. His numbers are undeniable. He's broken the 1,000 yard mark this season, tallying 1,005. He's averaging 5 yards per carry and has scored 9 touchdowns on the ground. Elliott is also a threat through the air, catching 18 passes for 250 yards and a score. He has been a key component for the 8-1 Cowboys this season. He has truly been the best rookie this season, and deserves the award.
Prescott and Elliott go hand in hand this season. The award could honestly go to either of them. The difference between the two is Elliott is such a dynamic game changer. He has the constant threat of breaking a big play, while Prescott is just the reliable quarterback. That said, Prescott's work this season should not be looked down upon. He may not be rookie of the year, but could be an MVP candidate in coming years. Stats: 2,239 yards, 14 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
If the award was awarded to the best rookie of the year of the first three weeks, Wentz would have it locked up. Wentz was electrifying his first three weeks, swelling up the stat sheets and the hopes of Philadelphia. His play hasn't dropped off, he has just finally slowed down. He is a good quarterback, no doubt about it. Elliott again is too big of a play maker to lose the award to Wentz. Stats: 2,121 yards, 9 touchdowns, 5 interceptions.
Coach of the Year
Winner: Jack Del Rio- Oakland Raiders
You must have seen this one coming. The Raiders have gone through some very rough times since their 2003 Super Bowl appearance. For a time they were the laughing stock of the league. Now, they are atop the AFC West and look to be scary for years to come. Del Rio has done a great job of getting his young players game time. Youngsters like Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Amari Cooper have had a chance to play and learn early in their careers, which has allowed them to grow and develop.
Bill Belichick- New England Patriots: It's impossible to count this guy out. He's having another Belichick-esque season. He's overcome his star quarterback being suspended and his star tight end being injured to lead the Patriots to a 7-2 record. The difference between Del Rio and Belichick is we're used to Belichick winning football games. Del Rio is proving himself as a legitimate coach this season.
Jason Garrett: The one time interim head coach has proven himself as a legitimate coach. He has found a winning formula in Dallas. What puts him up for the candidacy is he's winning with two rookies at two vital positions. Prescott and Elliott have led his team as rookies, and currently they claim the best record in the league.