The end of the NFL season is quickly approaching. In just over a week, teams will either be planning for playoff matchups or contemplating a dejected offseason. But whether fans’ teams have been successful or not, it’s almost time to roll out the awards hardware for the 2016 season. Here are our predictions for who wins what.
The Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Wins Offensive Rookie of The Year
Elliot is on the verge of a historic season and should win rookie honors in a minor landslide. He’ll finish a few lengths ahead of a tight pack that includes teammate Dak Prescott, Seahawks pass rusher Joey Bosa – who will win defensive rookie of the year, and Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill.
With two games left in the season, Elliott only need average about 130 yards per outing to break Eric Dickerson’s all-time rookie record. And if he can manage 98 total yards from scrimmage, he’ll be only the third rookie to total 2,000 all-purpose yards.
The Raiders’ Jack Del Rio for Coach of The Year
Del Rio finishes slightly ahead of a competitive field for the masterful job he’d done shaping the young, athletic Raiders into a Super Bowl contender. After several frustrating seasons in Jacksonville, Del Rio has transformed the once lowly Raiders into an aggressive unit on both sides of the ball.
He might not have the reputation of a Bill Belechick or the offensive chops to match Jason Garrett, but no one has done more to guide his team into the top echelon than Del Rio. Look for him to win Coach of the Year by a slight margin.
Denver’s Von Miller Takes Defensive Player of the Year
With JJ Watt out of the picture, Miller should have another trophy to add to his Super Bowl MVP from last year. With 13.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a dozen or so QB pressures, Miller has been a matchup nightmare for opposing offenses all season long.
But the numbers only tell half of the story. Miller’s play has been timely as well as dominant, with the best coming late in the fourth quarter of close games. By adding late game heroics to impressive numbers, Miller should edge out the Raiders’ Khalil Mack for top defensive honors.
The Raiders’ Derek Carr Wins NFL MVP Award
This pick will enrage fans all over New England, but as things stand Carr deserves the MVP over Tom Brady. In a race that might come down to the final week, Carr’s dominant role in leading the Raiders’ turnaround should propel him to the league’s top honor.
Although his numbers alone should merit the award (25 TDs, 6 INT, 95.2 QBR), it’s Carr and the Raiders’ narrative that will help him edge the equally deserving Brady. Brady might well be the best player in the league, but the Raiders’ surprising success will add the narrative spice the voters love come January.