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NFL Awards 2020: Date, odds, nominees and predictions

Aaron Rodgers puts on his Green Bay Packers themed face mask
Aaron Rodgers puts on his Green Bay Packers themed face mask
Modified 06 Jan 2021, 12:50 IST

The NFL awards for the 2020 regular season are almost upon us. Everyone from rookies and coaches to offensive and defensive stars will be honored for their standout seasons.

So let's prepare for the NFL awards by dissecting the nominees and the odds behind them. We'll point out dark horses and crowd favorites, along with making some predictions as to what might happen the night before the Super Bowl (Feb. 6) during the NFL Honors awards show.

NFL Awards: Comeback Player of the Year

Alex Smith scrambling out of the pocket
Alex Smith scrambling out of the pocket

Odds and Nominees (via FanDuel):

  • QB Alex Smith, Washington Football Team, -667
  • QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, +380
  • WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals, +900
  • TE Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +2600

This category has been dominated by QBs in recent memory (Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill) and it's hard to see that changing. Despite admirable efforts from Green and Gronk, this award really comes down to Big Ben and Alex Smith.

While Big Ben leading the Steelers to the playoffs is indeed impressive, his season was rather lackluster, as he completed 399 passes for 3,803 yards and 33 TDs. Despite still having a good season, we've come to expect more from Roethlisberger and these numbers show a decline instead of the opposite.

Meanwhile, fans are just clamoring for this award to be renamed after Alex Smith.


His comeback is unprecedented considering the brutal leg injury he suffered over two years ago. Considering there were times where it seemed he might lose his leg and that his career was for sure over, being able to come in, play eight games, throw for 1,582 yards and lead Washington to the playoffs is astonishing. His stats don't speak volumes, but it's all about the comeback and everyone loves a hero.

Prediction: QB Alex Smith

Runner-Up: QB Ben Roethlisberger

NFL Awards: Coach of the Year

Andy Reid on the sidelines, wearing a face shield
Andy Reid on the sidelines, wearing a face shield

Odds and Nominees (via SportsBettingDime):

  • Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills, +125
  • Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins, +150
  • Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns, +600
  • Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs, +1400

There are no shortage of coaches that deserve this award. From Sean McDermott continuing his legendary run of turning the Bills from bottom feeders to legit Super Bowl contenders, to Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins shocking everyone as an almost complete team and playoff contender. The NFL awards show can't contain the coaches that are competing for this trophy.


Then there's the dark horses. Kevin Stefanski stepped in to an organization with nowhere to go but up and turned them into an 11-win playoff team for the first time in a literal generation. Then there's Andy Reid and the Chiefs who had an absurd 14-1 record before resting his best players week 17 and falling to 14-2.

Realistically, all of these coaches could win this award, but McDermott's transformation of the Bills since last year shows that he can truly lead the team to the Super Bowl.

Prediction: Bills HC Sean McDermott

Runner-up: Browns HC Kevin Stefanski

NFL Awards: Offensive Rookie of the Year

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs

Odds and Nominees (via FanDuel):

  • QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers, -1200
  • WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings, +600
  • RB James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars, +4400
  • WR Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers, +2900

Realistically, this NFL awards race is between two people: Herbert and Jefferson.

Two record-shattering rookies that change the outlook of their franchises offense and put up big time numbers. While Jefferson echoed memories of Randy Moss' dominance as a rookie, it was Herbert who was looking more like a veteran than a rookie the second he stepped on the field.

With the NFL being so quarterback-centric, Herbert has a huge advantage already, but Jefferson's swagger and attention-demanding style may make more eyes point his way than other non-QBs in the past at the NFL Awards.

Prediction: QB Justin Herbert


Runner-Up: WR Justin Jefferson

NFL Awards: Defensive Rookie of the Year

Chase Young firing up his teammates
Chase Young firing up his teammates

Odds and Nominees (via SportsBettingDime):

  • DE Chase Young, Washington Football Team, -375
  • S Jeremy Chinn, Carolina Panthers, +250
  • S Antoine Winfield Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +1000
  • MLB Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens, +2000

The defensive rookie race, coincidentally enough, is also a 2-man debate. With Chase Young's presence being a force the second he stepped on the field, teams were quick to double team him as much as possible. Despite having one of the highest double-team rates in the NFL, Chase Young still accumulated a solid 7.5 sacks, 44 tackles, 4 forced fumbles and 1 touchdown.


Jeremy Chinn on the other hand, was a quiet superstar on the Panthers defense. Chinn racked up 116 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, as well as 2 forced fumbles which he recovered and returned for touchdowns.

Both players prove they were a force on the field, but Chinn did most of his talking in a couple games rather than having a season long impact like Young did. As such, Young deserves to take this NFL award home.

Prediction: DE Chase Young

Runner-Up: S Jeremy Chinn

NFL Awards: Offensive Player of the Year

Derrick Henry jogging across a snowy Lambeau field
Derrick Henry jogging across a snowy Lambeau field

Nominees (No Odds):

  • RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
  • QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  • QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  • QB Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Usually, the OPOY award foreshadows the eventual MVP winner. However, this year, that narrative could be flipped on its head.

Derrick Henry became the 8th player ever to break 2000 rushing yards in a season, along with leading the league in rushing touchdowns at 17. Henry could make a case for MVP (if he wasn't a running back) and it seems as though he'd be the favorite for OPOY at the NFL Awards.


However, MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers can certainly steal this award away. Rodgers turned back the clock a bit and dealt out 48 touchdowns to go along with a passer rating of 121.5. While Rodgers fell behind in yards, his 70.7% completion rate is absurd and shows that Rodgers is still one of the most efficient players around.

Dark horses Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady both had more yards than Rodgers, finishing with 4,740 yards (Mahomes, 2nd in NFL) and 4,633 yards (Brady, 3rd in NFL), respectively. Brady also tossed 40 touchdowns, becoming the oldest QB ever to finish with 4000+ yards and 40+ touchdowns.

While it's hard to imagine the likely MVP not even being the runner-up may be shocking, in terms of straight up offense, Henry and Brady made history while putting up some of the most impressive numbers many of us have seen. However, Henry scores his first OPOY at the NFL Awards.

Prediction: RB Derrick Henry

Runner-Up: QB Tom Brady

NFL Awards: Defensive Player of the Year

Xavien Howard celebrating an interception
Xavien Howard celebrating an interception

Odds and Nominees (via SportsBettingDime):

  • LB T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers, -215
  • DL Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams, +205
  • CB Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins, +700
  • DE Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns, +2000

In a very tight 3-way race for the DPOY, are 3 different types of players. Watt's finesse and pursuit as an edge rusher continually evolve and he took it to another level this year, leading the leagues in sacks at 15.

Aaron Donald is shooting for his third straight DPOY award and despite offensive lines doing their best to nullify his presence, Donald still racked up 13.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.

Xavien Howard is a big reason as to why the Miami Dolphins were so successful. His league leading 10 interceptions allowed the Miami offense to take advantage of several games, helping propel them to a 10-6 record.

Much like how Young won DROY for being a year-round presence, Donald will get the upset and secure his third straight DPOY. his stats are only slightly less desirable but Donald face double-teams and even triple-teams more than anyone else in the NFL and that says something at the NFL Awards.

Prediction: DL Aaron Donald

Runner-Up: LB T.J. Watt

NFL Awards: MVP

Josh Allen winding up to throw
Josh Allen winding up to throw

Odds and Nominees (via SportsBettingDime):

  • QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, -2500
  • QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills, +950
  • QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, +1500
  • RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans, +5000

The lead in the MVP race at this year's NFL Awards has switched hands more than a baton rally. From Russell Wilson, to Patrick Mahomes, to Aaron Rodgers, to maybe Josh Allen?

As mentioned earlier, Rodger's efficiency matters much more here than it did in the OPOY section. Without the Rodgers the Packers would be in shambles, however they were propelled to the NFC's number one seed after a ridiculous season from Rodgers.

Yet, a late season bid from Josh Allen has many Packers fans worried the MVP award may be stolen. Allen is a big reason as to why McDermott has been able to turn the Bills into contenders, and without him, there's little reason to believe the Bills would be anywhere near where they are now.

However, Rodgers beats out Allen still here, mostly due to consistency. Allen may have his moment at a future NFL Awards ceremony but this is likely the last time Rodgers will be the MVP favorite at the NFL Awards.

Prediction: QB Aaron Rodgers

Runner-Up: RB Derrick Henry

Published 06 Jan 2021, 12:50 IST
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