TDT’s NFL Midseason Awards Predictions
We’re at the halfway point of the 2017-18 NFL season, folks, meaning it’s time to delve into midseason awards predictions. Obviously, there is so much that can happen in the second half of the season which could change the trajectory of these awards races, but this is based solely off of the first eight weeks of football. Without further ado, here are my NFL midseason awards picks.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Kareem Hunt, Chiefs
There have been several offensive rookies who have played well thus far and deserve consideration for this award, but Kareem Hunt is undoubtedly the frontrunner. Hunt has well surpassed expectations for him this season, especially after entering the season as a backup. He currently leads the league in rushing, fending off some of the league’s toughest ball carriers. Not only has he put up big numbers on the ground, but he has also found success catching the ball out of the backfield. The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the true contenders in the AFC and Hunt is one of the biggest reasons why.
Runner Up: QB Deshaun Watson, Texans
Defensive Rookie of the Year: CB Marshon Lattimore, Saints
This is another tight race, but I firmly believe that this award will go to a defensive back this year. The Saints defense has gotten significantly better since the beginning of the season and they have Lattimore to thank for that. In just his first season, he can already be deemed a shutdown cornerback. He hasn’t just been one of the best rookie cornerbacks. He has been one of the best cornerbacks, period. Through eight games, Lattimore has 24 combines tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. Don’t be alarmed by that low interception count. It’s because opposing quarterbacks are afraid to test him.
Runner Up: CB Tre’Davious White, Bills
Coach of the Year: Sean McVay, Rams
This season has been full of surprises, but I don’t think there have been many more pleasant than the resurgence of the Los Angeles Rams. After a disappointing 4-12 season last year, the Rams have already surpassed that win total in 2017. New head coach Sean McVay has them at 5-2, which is good for a tie with the Seahawks atop the NFC West. It’s still too early to tell if the Rams are contenders or pretenders, but the way it looks right now, the Rams are back! They have a stout defense and an explosive offense. The Rams are a very young team, but McVay has gotten his players to buy in and has them in great position to continue to thrive as we head into the second half of the season.
Runner Up: Doug Pederson, Eagles
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Alex Smith, Chiefs
Oftentimes, one player takes home both Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year, but I figured I would switch things up a little bit and show Alex Smith some love. This guy has not gotten enough credit for how well the Chiefs have played this season. We’ve never seen Smith play this well in his whole career. He’s already thrown for more than 2,000 yards this season to go along with 15 touchdowns. Smith has been insanely accurate as well, completing over 72 percent of his throws. With a 120.5 passer rating, it’s rather safe to say that he’s been effective up to this point. Before this year, he was a game manager, but so far in 2017, he’s been a game changer. Put some respect on his name.
Runner Up: QB Carson Wentz, Eagles
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Calais Campbell, Jaguars
Defensive Player of the Year is a crapshoot at the halfway point. No one player has completely stood out among the rest, but there are a handful of players who has been really impressive. Calais Campbell has been one of them. Rushing the passer is surely an art form, one that Campbell has mastered. Through eight weeks, he has registered 10 sacks, which leads the league. He also has 32 combined tackles, to go along with two forced fumbles. The Jaguars boast one of the NFL’s top defensive units, in part because of the efforts of Campbell. His unstoppable pass rush has created opportunities for Jacksonville’s stingy secondary.
Runner Up: DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys
Comeback Player of the Year: S Earl Thomas, Seahawks
There are a few names who are up for consideration for this award, but I don’t think the race is even close right now. Earl Thomas, one of the unquestioned leaders of Seattle’s Legion of Boom, broke his leg in the latter portion of the regular season a year ago. That proved to be a devastating blow for the Seahawks. He rehabbed and has since returned to his All-Pro form. Thomas currently has 38 combined tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. His impact cannot simply be measured in the numbers, however, as he is a vocal leader for a Seattle team that is one of the better teams in the NFC once again.
Runner Up: TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Most Valuable Player: QB Carson Wentz, Eagles
While it’s certainly far from a done deal, it’s hard to argue against Carson Wentz being the MVP at the NFL’s halfway point. For starters, the Eagles are sitting atop the tough NFC East with an impressive 7-1 record. Through eight games, the second-year signal caller has thrown for 1,852 yards and 17 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Wentz has also shown an ability to make plays with his legs. He’s been pretty accurate as well, completing nearly 62 percent of his passes. If he continues to play like this and their defense keeps playing well, the Eagles could be in for a deep playoff run.
Runner Up: QB Alex Smith, Chiefs