The 2017 NFL regular season is in the books. With the Super Bowl looming and the annual NFL Honors just around the corner, it’s time to start predicting the winners of the NFL’s most prestigious awards.

MVP


Contenders:

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

2017 stats: 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 102.8 passer rating

The case: In 2017, Brady led the NFL in both passing attempts and yards on his way to becoming the first 40-year old quarterback to be named to the AP First-Team All-Pro lineup. Ho, hum. Except in years where there has been a truly magnificent running back performance (think 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson or 2012 Adrian Peterson), the All-Pro quarterback tends to win the MVP award as well. As we’re about to discuss, that may not be the case this year…

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

2017 stats: 1,305 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns; 788 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns

The case: Gurley enjoyed a resurgent third season, accruing over 2,000 scrimmage yards along with 19 total touchdowns. More importantly, the Rams developed into a legitimate playoff team behind his dominance.

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

@cj_wentz/Twitter

2017 stats (13 games): 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 101.9 passer rating

The case: Oh, what could have been. Wentz appeared to be a lock for this award until he suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 against the Rams. He was the clear, unquestioned leader of the NFL’s best (and, arguably, most surprising) team for the better part of the 2017 season, so I’m still considering him for the MVP award.

The Verdict: Brady

In what is admittedly a weak pool of candidates, Brady emerges almost by default. Gurley had a great season, but it wasn’t as good as David Johnson’s 2016 campaign and Johnson didn’t even finish in the top 3 of MVP voting last year. Wentz was as exciting and inspiring a leader as I’ve seen in recent years, but his failure to finish the season and the Eagles’ continued success without him both detract from his case.

Offensive Rookie of the Year


Contenders:

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

@a_kamara6/Twitter

2017 stats: 728 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns; 826 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns; 1 kick return touchdown

The case: As I sit here wearing the Alvin Kamara shirt that I impulsively ordered after he won me an important fantasy football game, I’m reminded of just how exciting the Saints rookie was to watch this season. With 1,554 scrimmage yards and 13 offensive touchdowns, Kamara out-gained and out-scored his backfield partner-in-crime, Mark Ingram, on 87 fewer touches. The Tennessee product’s explosiveness and efficiency delighted many Saints’ fans and fantasy owners (including yours truly).

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

2017 stats: see Offensive Player of the Year Contenders

The case: Hunt became the second consecutive rookie to lead the NFL in rushing yards, albeit in less spectacular fashion than Ezekiel Elliott did last season. Hunt started the year off with a bang, scoring six times and averaging 166 scrimmage yards in his first four NFL contests. The rookie from Toledo looked destined to win the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year Award. Then, he fell back to Earth in ugly fashion before finishing the season on a high note. Overall, he still enjoyed a hugely successful rookie season and should be one of the NFL’s most exciting players for the next several years.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

@deshaunwatson/Twitter

2017 stats (7 games): 1,699 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 103.0 passer rating; 269 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns

The case: Despite the strong competition, Watson had this award in the bag seven weeks into his rookie campaign. Then, he tore his ACL in practice, derailing what could have been a historic season. Despite the fact that he only appeared in seven games, Watson still led all rookie passers with 19 touchdowns. That means that he was on pace for an astonishing 43 touchdown passes, which would have shattered the current rookie record of 26 and tied him with Drew Brees at number 8 on the all-time single-season passing touchdown list. Watson is a long-shot to win this award, but I felt obligated to consider him because of the magnitude of his achievements.

The Verdict: Kamara

Hunt may have had more yards, but Kamara scored more and was wildly efficient. Furthermore, Kamara showed more prowess as a receiver and his numbers rival those of Hunt even though he’s the number two running back on his own team!

Comeback Player of the Year


Contenders:

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

2016 stats: 885 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns; 327 receiving yards

2017 stats: 1,305 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns; 788 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns

The case: Gurley’s 2016 season was a disaster which had some questioning whether he was as great as his rookie year indicated. In 2017, he only led the NFL in scrimmage yards and touchdowns while leading the Rams to their first playoff berth in 14 years.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

2016 stats: 78 receptions, 954 yards, 4 touchdowns

2017 stats: 96 receptions, 1,378 yards, 13 touchdowns

The case: Like Gurley, Hopkins had an uncharacteristically down year in 2016. The Texans’ superstar shined as DeShaun Watson and later Tom Savage took over for the now-infamous Brock Osweiler. Hopkins’ 13 touchdowns were a career-best and he enjoyed several monster games, like his 224-yard outburst against the Seattle Seahawks.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

2016 stats (8 games): 25 receptions, 540 yards, 3 touchdowns

2017 stats (14 games): 69 receptions, 1,084 yards, 8 touchdowns

@RobGronkowski/Twitter

The case: Gronk seems to always be in contention for this award, as he’s had an injury-riddled career. In the words of the legendary two-time Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington, “I don’t want to specialize in that Comeback Player of the Year Award. I wanna be here to stay”. Maybe Gronk feels differently. After an injury-shortened 2016 season in which he caught just 25 passes, the NFL’s premier meathead caught 69 (hehe) passes and was named a First-Team All Pro for the fourth time in his career.  

The Verdict: Gronkowski

I’m giving Gronkowski the edge here because he returned from an actual injury, whereas the other two candidates returned from, for lack of a better term, sucking. The Comeback Player of the Year is one of the more loosely-defined awards the NFL gives out, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the voters pick Hopkins or Gurley.


Do you agree with my predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for next week’s installment, where we’ll break down the contenders for the NFL’s other major awards! And, as always, Roll Armchair.

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Author Details
I’m Andrew Cabatingan, and I only know three things for sure. One, any NFL kicker not named Stephen Gostkowski (GOATkowski) is absolute garbage and cannot be trusted. Two, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback there ever was or ever will be. Three, I am prone to outbursts of Patriots homerism and any hyperbolic statements I make should be taken as sarcasm. If you’re looking for real facts about me, I suppose I would start by saying I am a sophomore at Northeastern University, I love all Boston sports, everything Game of Thrones (kudos to you if you can find the reference I made earlier), reading, singing, and arguing with strangers on the Internet. I hope that any preexisting bias due to any of this does not begin to seep into my writing, but if it does, I have the peace of mind of knowing that some snarky commenter will probably point it out.
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I’m Andrew Cabatingan, and I only know three things for sure. One, any NFL kicker not named Stephen Gostkowski (GOATkowski) is absolute garbage and cannot be trusted. Two, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback there ever was or ever will be. Three, I am prone to outbursts of Patriots homerism and any hyperbolic statements I make should be taken as sarcasm. If you’re looking for real facts about me, I suppose I would start by saying I am a sophomore at Northeastern University, I love all Boston sports, everything Game of Thrones (kudos to you if you can find the reference I made earlier), reading, singing, and arguing with strangers on the Internet. I hope that any preexisting bias due to any of this does not begin to seep into my writing, but if it does, I have the peace of mind of knowing that some snarky commenter will probably point it out.

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