Your Guide to the 2018 NFL Honors

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Each year, the end of the NFL regular season comes with endless discussion about who will receive the most important awards in February at the NFL Honors show. Here are our predictions for who will take home each of this season’s biggest accolades.

Most Valuable Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Mahomes threw for over 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns, the first quarterback to do so in one season since Peyton Manning in 2013. He had the highest Quarterback Rating in the league at 82. His yards per attempt was an incredible 8.8 yards. These stats are, frankly, ridiculous, especially for someone in their first year as a starter. Despite the fact that all four of his losses were nationally televised and against playoff teams has led Mahomes’s critics to claim he doesn’t show up in big games, he still performed well in those losses, averaging 325 passing yards and almost four touchdowns. Even with those four losses, Mahomes’s Chiefs still have the best record in the AFC and are arguably the best team in football.
Runner Up: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Offensive Player of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott has quietly been the best running back in the NFL this year. He led all running backs in rushing yards and carries this season despite playing in one fewer game. In Dallas’s wins, he averaged 22 carries, but in their losses, he only averaged 17, showing his value to the Cowboy’s offense, which has been completely reliant on Elliot’s skill set. Elliot truly powers the Cowboys offense, and when they get him going, he takes their team to another level. He’s been a workhorse for the Cowboys and has carried them to an NFC East title.

Runner Up: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Aaron Donald has had one of the best seasons by a defensive player ever. Despite getting double or triple teamed in almost every play this year, he still racked up 20.5 sacks, the most ever for an interior defensive lineman. He had 59 tackles this season as well, tied for the third most this season among interior defensive linemen. Though the Rams are known for their powerful offense, Donald is the best player on a defensive front that has been essential to the team’s success. Last year, Donald won this award with only 11 sacks and 41 tackles, but he has only gotten better. With the dominant year he has had, he even has a case for MVP.

Runner Up: Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley has been the most dynamic rookie since his teammate Odell Beckham Jr. entered the league in 2014. While other rookies like Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb had great rookie seasons, Barkley had an amazing season by any standard regardless of experience. He’s already one of the most entertaining players to watch and can be considered a top five running back after just one year in the league. His versatility is what really sets him apart. He can run inside, run outside, block, and catch the ball out of the backfield. He averaged over a 125 total yards per game and had 14 total touchdowns even though he ran behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. He’s going to be a huge part of the Giants offense for years to come.

Runner Up: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Leading the league with 163 tackles, Darius Leonard was one of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs this year. He also recorded seven sacks and four forced fumbles this season. He’s a dominant player on what has become a dominant defense. Since the 11th week, the Colts have given up an average of just 15 points per game. This defense helped them reach the playoffs, and Leonard played a major role in their success.

Runner Up: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

After Andrew Luck missed an entire season with a shoulder injury, no one was sure if he would ever be able to play again. Even if he did, no one knew if he would return to his elite level of play. He’s returned to that level this year, single-handedly carrying his team to the playoffs. He runs an offense that’s fifth best in the league despite having only one true playmaker in T.Y. Hilton, who has been banged up all year. Luck finished second in the league in pass attempts, which is extremely impressive coming off of an injury to his throwing shoulder. Luck has stood out from the group of star players like Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, Deshaun Watson, and Odell Beckham Jr., who were injured last year. Despite the formidable competition, Luck is a lock for Comeback Player of the Year.

Runner Up: JJ Watt, Houston Texans

Coach of the Year: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

The Bears have shocked everyone this year with their 12-4 record, a large part of which is thanks to the acquisition of head coach Matt Nagy. Under Nagy’s leadership, the team went from finishing last in the NFC North in 2018 to finishing first this year. Nagy is an offensive genius and has turned a terrible offense into one of the league’s best. After placing 29th in the league last year, the Bears offense finished ninth in scoring this year despite having no offensive pro bowlers. Nagy has also helped second year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky develop and play well above his level. Nagy’s performance has been reminiscent of that of last year’s Coach of the Year, Sean McVay, who helped his own quarterback, Jared Goff, become one of the best in the NFL.

Runner up: Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks