2019 NFL Predictons: Playoffs/Awards

Now that we’ve predicted the outcomes of every division, we’ll now take a look at who Aman and I have making the playoffs and how far they’ll go.

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Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011″ by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We’ll provide a round by round breakdown of all the teams who will make the playoffs, working our way to the Super Bowl. You can take a look at all eight of the divisions as we listed the standings. Each division covers the biggest acquisitions and departures for all teams, as well as who we have winning each division. Follow the links to find out more!

NFC West:                                         AFC West:

1. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)           1. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)

2. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)              2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)

3. San Francisco 49ers (8-8)         3. Denver Broncos (9-7)

4. Arizona Cardinals (6-10)          4. Oakland Raiders (6-10)

NFC North:                                       AFC North:

1. Chicago Bears (10-6)                  1. Cleveland Browns (10-6)

2. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)            2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

3. Green Bay Packers (7-9)            3. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

4. Detroit Lions (6-10)                    4. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)

NFC South:                                       AFC South:

1. New Orleans Saints (13-1-2)     1. Houston Texans (11-5)

2. Carolina Panthers (9-7)             2. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)

3. Atlanta Falcons (8-8)                  3. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

4. Tampa Buccaneers (4-12)         4. Indianapolis Colts (6-10)

NFC East:                                          AFC East:

1. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)        1. New England Patriots (12-4)

2. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)                 2. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

3. Washington Redskins (6-10)    3. New York Jets (7-9)

4. New York Giants (4-12)             4. Miami Dolphins (4-12)

Now that you’ve had a chance to look at all the divisions, it’s time to take a look at which six teams from the NFC and which six from the AFC will make the playoffs.

 

Playoff Picks

Rahim’s Picks:

NFC West: Rams (2)                       AFC West: Chargers (1)

NFC North: Bears (3)                     AFC North: Browns (4)

NFC South: Saints (1)                    AFC South: Texans (3)

NFC East: Eagles (4)                      AFC East: Patriots (2)

Wild Card 1: Seahawks               Wild Card 1: Chiefs

Wild Card 2: Cowboys                 Wild Card 2: Steelers

 

Aman’s Picks:

NFC West: Rams (2)                      AFC West: Chiefs (2)

NFC North: Bears (3)                    AFC North: Ravens (3)

NFC South: Saints (1)                   AFC South: Texans (4)

NFC East: Eagles (4)                     AFC East: Patriots (1)

Wild Card 1: Vikings                   Wild Card 1: Browns

Wild Card 2: Seahawks              Wild Card 2: Jaguars

Breakdown:

Aman and I agree that the Rams, Saints, Bears, Chiefs, Patriots, Texans and Browns (you read that right) will make the playoffs. The Eagles and Seahawks are also two teams we agreed upon to make playoffs, but what about the Chargers and Cowboys?

As of yesterday, the Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott agreed to a new deal. That will boost the Cowboys, helping them become a playoff team again. I believe that despite Elliott, the Cowboys would’ve made the playoffs anyway. However, Aman doesn’t believe so, as he has the Vikings sneaking into the last playoff spot in the NFC. That means teams like the Falcons, Packers and Panthers will miss the playoffs again.

I’m a big believer in the Chargers, as I have them being the top team in the AFC without Gordon all season long. I think this will be a good year for the Chargers, as long as they can manage to stay healthy. Aman doesn’t think the Chargers can repeat from last year, but does have better hopes for the Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson to win their division again.

I say the Browns will edge out the Steelers for a division title, but the Steelers get the last playoff spot in the AFC. Aman is believing in QB Nick Foles to lead the Jaguars to a playoff spot.

Who will get the final two spots? Do the Broncos, Colts, Raiders, Titans, Jets or Bills have a chance? Let us know what you think in the comment section below while we jump into the Wild Card matchups!

 

Wild Card Matchups

Rahim’s Picks:

  • 5. Seahawks over 4. Eagles
  • 5. Chiefs over 4. Browns
  • 3. Bears over 6. Cowboys
  • 3. Texans over 6. Steelers

Aman’s Picks:

  • 4. Eagles over 5. Vikings
  • 5. Browns over 4. Texans
  • 3. Bears over 6. Seahawks
  • 3. Ravens over 6. Jaguars

 

Divisional Round

Rahim’s Picks:

  • 1. Saints over 5. Seahawks
  • 5. Chiefs over 1. Chargers
  • 1. Rams over 3. Bears
  • 2. Patriots over 3. Texans

Aman’s Picks:

  • 1. Saints over 4. Eagles
  • 1. Patriots over 5. Browns
  • 2. Rams over 3. Bears
  • 2. Chiefs over 3. Ravens

Divisional Round Recap:

There will be no Wild Card surprise in this year’s playoffs either. We each had at least one of the No. 5’s to advance, but they will lose to the No.1 teams. Well, at least the Seahawks and Browns will lose. I have the Chiefs as a No. 5 beating the top ranked Chargers to advice to their second straight Conference Championship. In fact, we have all four of the same teams from last year’s Conference Championships in there again, as they continue to dominate the NFL. For the sake of good ratings, we might actually want to see the Browns or the Bears make it this far, but are they both ready for that big moment?

 

Conference Championship

Rahim’s Picks:

  • 2. Rams over 1. Saints
  • 5. Chiefs over 2. Patriots

Aman’s Picks:

  • 1. Saints over 2. Rams
  • 1. Patriots over 2. Chiefs

Conference Recap:

I guess it’s time for me to explain why I have the Chiefs as a No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff standings, but still the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. I think the Chiefs’ offense won’t be as explosive as we saw it last year. Everyone was wowed by what QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs did despite all the Kareem Hunt controversy. Mahomes surprised us all, as he threw for 50 touchdowns in a season and earned MVP honors last year, but I don’t think he’ll be able to have the same numbers this season, and the team will lose at least five games.

The thing that sucks is that they will finish with a better record than the Browns and the Texans, but still be a Wild Card team. I think they will thrive off the energy of the fans that cheer for them away from Arrowhead and make it to the Super Bowl.

I also think the Rams will win their second Conference Championship game against the Saints, and this time it won’t be controversial. Aman thinks differently, and that’s what makes this interesting. He has the Patriots going to their fourth straight Super Bowl. I think the Chiefs will beat the Patriots and start a new era. I like who Aman picked for the Super Bowl matchup, because honestly, I wanted to see the Saints and Patriots matchup last year, so let’s see who we both have winning the Super Bowl.

 

Super Bowl LIV

Rahim’s Pick: Los Angeles Rams over Kansas City Chiefs

Aman’s Pick: New Orleans Saints over New England Patriots

Super Bowl Recap:

As you can see, Aman and I both picked the NFC champs to win the Super Bowl, and this is a start of a new era that could see the Patriots championship runs come to an end.

Now let’s see who earns the greatest honor of the season, with awards like Most Valuable Player and Offensive player of the year. Aman and I will share our picks for those awards as we wrap up our predictions and head into the 2019 NFL season.

 

Award Predictions

Most Valuable Player:

Rahim’s Pick: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Aman’s Pick: RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

 

Offensive Player of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Aman’s Pick: QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

 

Defensive Player of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: DE Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos

Aman’s Pick: OLB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Aman’s Pick: WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

Aman’s Pick: CB Justin Layne, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Comeback Player of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Aman’s Pick: RB Devonte Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

 

Coach of the Year:

Rahim’s Pick: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

Aman’s Pick: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

After agreeing on most of the playoff teams, Aman and I find disagreements on the awards. I like Brees as MVP, simply because he has never won it before. Aman is all in on Kamara this year. He even drafted him on his fantasy team.

I think Barkley will come into the season looking to get the rushing title, but he’ll also be one of the leading receivers on his team. Can Trubisky become Offensive Player of The Year?

How about Defensive Player of The Year? I think Denver’s new defensive scheme will help Chubb lead the league in sacks and QB hits, which will earn him the award. You can’t forget about Mack or Aaron Donald either, though. It’s going to be an interesting season.

When I say interesting, I mean interesting, because this could be a year where we see the No. 1 and No. 2 picks from this year’s draft win the Rookie of the Year award, but Aman doesn’t think so.

How about Comeback Player of The Year? Both Garoppolo and Freeman will be in the running for this award, and it’s honestly going to be good to see these guys back on field.

Can Kitchens lead the Browns to the players and earn himself Coach of the Year honors? A lot of us think the Browns are a favorite to win. If they make playoffs, Kitchens should win this award.

Now that you’ve read our thoughts, let us know yours in the comments below!

Remaining NFL teams - Saints

Why the remaining NFL teams will win the Super Bowl and why they won’t

After last week’s Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, the four remaining NFL teams are the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. Which team will win the Super Bowl?

For the Saints, Rams, Patriots and Chiefs, one more win gets them into the Super Bowl. One more win gives them a chance to be crowned as champions of the NFL. Two of these of four remaining NFL teams will get that chance after Sunday’s Conference Championship games. However, making it to the Super Bowl means there’s one more game left to win. That’s the Super Bowl itself.

Any of these four remaining NFL teams could win the Super Bowl. All of them would be worthy champions. With that being said, any of them could also lose the Super Bowl, or not make it at all. These are the four best teams in the NFL. Anyone can beat anyone at this point of the season. What we’re going to do today is examine one reason why each of the four remaining NFL teams will win the Super Bowl and one reason why they won’t.

Remaining NFL teams

 

Remaining NFL teams - Patriots
0 New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

New England Patriots

Why they will: RB Sony Michel

Tom Brady should obviously be the reason why the Patriots will win the Super Bowl, right? Well, not this year. Tom Brady has done this many times before, but I’m not sure I’d want him throwing the ball around 40 or 50+ times a game. If I were a Patriots fan, I’d rather watch the Patriots dominate on the ground. Enter Sony Michel.

Sony Michel has had a fantastic rookie season. He carried the ball 209 times for 931 yards and six TDs during the regular season. Had he not missed three games, he’d easily have been a 1,000+ yard rusher. Michel carried his regular season success into the playoffs. In their dominating win against the Chargers, Sony Michel ran for 124 yards and three TDs. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry. The Chargers just couldn’t stop him.

Because Michel was too good on the ground, Tom Brady couldn’t be stopped in the passing game either. He threw for 343 yards and one TD. Brady was Brady, but it looked like it was so much easier to be Brady because of how Michel controlled the game on the ground.

The Patriots are now going up against Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s best offense. If they make it past them, they’ll have to up against either the Rams or the Saints. What can the Patriots do to keep these explosive offense’s off the field? Run the ball, run the ball and then run the ball some more.

Why they won’t: Lack of pressure on opposing QBs

When the regular season came to an end, guess where the Patriots ranked in sacks. 30th. They were tied for second worst in the league with the New York Giants. They only tallied 30 sacks all season long. Usually when you see a low number of sacks, it means a low number of pressures.

In their win against the Chargers, the Patriots were able to sack Philip Rivers two times. That’s decent, but here’s what I was impressed with. They got seven hits on Philip Rivers. Although they only sacked him twice, they got a good amount of pressure on him throughout the game. That has to stay constant for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

The other three remaining NFL teams ranked second (Saints), fifth (Chiefs) and ninth (Rams) in sacks allowed this season. If the Patriots can’t get pressure on the league’s best offense’s and QBs, they can’t expect to win the Super Bowl. Jared Goff would be the easiest QB to overcome, but Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees? I like their chances if they have time to throw the ball.

 

Remaining NFL teams - Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

Kansas City Chiefs

Why they will: Explosive offense

If you’re looking for an offensive show, look no further than the Kansas City Chiefs. This team led the league in points per game, averaging 35.3. In their Divisional Round win, this team absolutely dominated the Colts’ defense, winning the game 31-13. This week the New England Patriots are coming to town. A New England team who just walked all over a 12-4 Chargers team who was tied for the best record in the AFC. In that game against the Chargers, the Patriots put up 41 points!

For the Chiefs to make it to the Super Bowl, this offense has to be as explosive as ever. It’s probably going to take 40+ points. That’s not a huge deal for the Chiefs, who scored 40+ points five times during the regular season. They were close on several other occasions.

Patrick Mahomes and his incredible throws. Travis Kelce, who is one of, if not the best TE in the NFL. Tyreek Hill, who will be the fastest player on the field. How do you defend that? All of these guys are going to have be at the top of their game to win the Super Bowl. The other three remaining NFL teams can all score, but there’s something special about this offense. How explosive this offense is will go a long way, especially with their questionable defense, which we’ll talk about next.

Why they won’t: Questionable defense

I was actually impressed by how well this defense played against the Colts last week. They held a hot Andrew Luck and his offense to 13 points. This defense dominated! Now the question is, can they do it again against the Patriots? If they make it past them, can they do it against either the Saints or Rams?

We’ve seen flashes of the Chiefs being able to play well defensively, but they haven’t been able to do it consistently. During the regular season, the Chiefs had four games where they gave up less than 20 points. Those four games were against the Jaguars, Bengals, Cardinals and Raiders. Not impressive.

In games where they played the league’s better teams, this defense gave up 43 points (Loss to the Patriots), 54 points (Loss to the Rams), 29 points (Loss to the Chargers) and 38 points (Loss to the Seahawks). Those are just to name a few times. This defense even game up 33 points to the Raiders one week, although the offense saved the day by scoring 40.

The three offense’s left are ranked second (Rams), third (Saints) and fourth (Patriots) in points per game. Can this defense hold up against the best offensive teams in the NFL?

 

Remaining NFL teams - Rams
Los Angeles Rams Robert Woods – Seattle Seahawks Delano Hill” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

Los Angeles Rams

Why they will: Play-calling

Todd Gurley, Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks. You could name a ton of players on this team who dictate their success. While that is true, there’s nothing making the Rams as successful as they are more than play-calling. You could find several NFL teams who have stars you could easily matchup with Gurley and Goff offensively. What you can’t find, is several NFL teams who call plays like the Rams do. When they have star players offensively and the best play-calling in the NFL, how do you defend that?

The Rams have the best play-calling in the NFL because they run multiple plays from the same formation. If the Rams run a run play from a certain formation, the next time they come out in that formation, they’ll pass. The defense thought they knew what was coming, but they had no idea. If you haven’t noticed this while watching the Rams play, watch this video of Good Morning Football’s Nate Burlesson explaining just how explosive this style of play-calling can be here.

How do you defend that? It’s nearly impossible. Even when the Saints beat the Rams earlier in the season, the Rams still scored 35 points. New Orleans had to score 45 to comfortably beat them. Of the remaining NFL teams, the Rams by far have the best play-calling. If they win the Super Bowl, their play-calling will be the reason.

Why they won’t: QB Jared Goff

Jared Goff finally got his first playoff win last week, which makes his playoff record 1-1. Despite getting his first playoff win, Goff was underwhelming. While it’s true Goff didn’t need to do anything spectacular to win their Divisional Round game because of how well their running game was, it would have been nice to see a little more from him.

Even though the Rams got the win, Goff completed just 53.6% of his passes for 186 yards, zero TDs and a passer rating of 74.4. Goff may have been able to get away with that kind of play against the Cowboys, an offense who struggled all season, but what happens when the Rams go up against the offense’s of the Saints, Chiefs or Patriots? Goff won’t be able to get away with completing 53.6% of his passes and having a 74.4 passer rating. He just won’t be able to against Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady.

I know Goff has played well throughout the season, but in two playoff games, Goff hasn’t impressed me. In his two playoff games, Goff has completed 53.4% of his passes for 445 yards, one TD and a passer rating of 76.6. How many playoff games can you win with that from your QB?

 

Remaining NFL teams - Saints
New Orleans Saints Michael Thomas – Carolina Panthers Donte Jackson” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

New Orleans Saints

Why they will: They remain calm, cool and collected

In their win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Saints dug themselves into a 14-0 hole in the first quarter. Drew Brees threw an INT on his first pass attempt. Then they had to punt on their second drive. Everything was going wrong, while everything went right for the defending champs. It really couldn’t have been a worse start for the Saints, but what they did after that terrible start impressed me.

Did the Saints panic? Not one bit. A lot of times when teams dig themselves into an early hole, they panic and start to play a game that’s not theirs. Instead of getting away from who they are, the Saints stuck to their game, slowly chipping away at the 14-0 lead built by the Eagles. By halftime, the Saints had almost dug themselves out of that hole by getting the score to 14-10. By the end of the third quarter, the Saints took the lead, eventually winning the game 20-14.

If the Saints win the Super Bowl, one of the main reasons why will be because of their ability to stay calm, cool and collected in big games. Going against the Rams and then either the Patriots or Chiefs, there’s a good chance they’re going to have some points scored on them. These are three of the best offense’s in the NFL. Don’t be surprised if the Rams build a lead on the Saints in the Conference Championship game. If the Rams do build a lead, don’t be surprised if the Saints come back. There’s a reason this team went 13-3. They’re not just a good offense when they’re winning. This team will play their game regardless of the score.

Why they won’t: Relying too much on WR Michael Thomas

WR Michael Thomas has established himself as one of the best WRs in the NFL. Thomas recorded 125 catches for 1,405 yards and nine TDs in the regular season. In the Saints’ game against the Eagles, Thomas recorded 12 catches for 171 yards and one TD. Having a receiver who can consistently change a game is something every QB wants, but what happens when that receiver gets shut down?

Looking back at the Saints’ schedule, their two worst performances came against the Dallas Cowboys (10 points) and Carolina Panthers (12 points). In both games, Michael Thomas was held to below 50 yards receiving. That’s not a problem if another receiver steps up, but Thomas was the leading receiver in both games.

In the game against Dallas, Thomas was held to 40 yards. Outside of RB Alvin Kamara, who was targeted 11 times, no other Saints receiver was targeted more than three times. In the game against Carolina, Thomas was held to 49 yards. Outside of RB Alvin Kamara, who was targeted nine times, no other Saints receiver was targeted more than four times.

What does that tell us? It tells us the Saints don’t have a reliable receiving option outside of Michael Thomas. Thomas had about twice as many yards as the Saints’ next leading receiver, who was RB Alvin Kamara (709 yards). The next leading receiver on the team was rookie Tre’Quan Smith, who caught 28 passes for 427 yards and five TDs.

If the Rams, Patriots or Chiefs are able to limit the impact of Thomas, they will limit the impact of everyone else on the Saints’ offense. For the Saints to be one of the four remaining NFL teams to not only make, but win the Super Bowl, their other receiving options need to step up.

NFL Awards

Fourth Quarter Sports’ NFL Awards Ceremony

With the regular season of the NFL officially over, it’s time to take a look at all the NFL awards that will be given to those players who deserve it. We will have to wait until Saturday, Feb. 2nd to find out the official result of these NFL awards, but we at Fourth Quarter Sports would like to give you a sneak peek of who we think will win each of the major NFL awards.

NFL Awards
Saquon Barkley” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

But first, congratulations are to the 2019 National Champion Clemson Tigers. You have proven to the world once again why you are the best team in the country. They became the first team ever in the College Football Playoff to finish a season with a perfect 15-0 record.

We also have to congratulate Cullen Jekel for winning the weekly predictions award! We can also congratulate Jon Geib for having the highest percentage (78) of games right. Cullen finished third in percentage with 67 behind Jon and Dennis Olmsted (72). Aman Huda finished just four games behind Cullen in the overall predictions, which is outstanding for a guy who thought he didn’t know much about football.

If you’re wondering where the rest of us finished, well… Regarding both percentage and overall record, I finished last. I had a few weeks of upset picks that never got upset, but I am hoping to have better results in the playoff version of these predictions, which you can see here.

Here are the final results for the regular season:

Cullen: 158-81-1 (67%)

Aman: 154-85-1 (64%)

Joel: 150-89-1 (63%)

Adam: 150-89-1 (63%)

Mickayeen: 149-90-1 (62%)

Rahim: 139-100-1 (58%)

Kevin: 101-62 (62%)

Josh: 90-45 (67%)

Dan: 83-52 (61%)

Christan: 68-40 (63%)

Dennis: 35-13 (72%)

Jon: 25-7 (78%)

Now it’s on to the big awards, the awards that we have been waiting for! Those NFL awards are: Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. So let’s find out who we all think will win! We’ll start with one of the most prestigious NFL awards.

 

NFL Awards

Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

NFL Awards

Most Valuable Player

Rahim’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Jon’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Dan’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Aman’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Joel’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Adam’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

When we started this season, and everyone gave their own predictions for all the awards which can be seen here, no one thought it was going to be Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Especially not after he only played one game all season the year prior as a rookie. He has definitely surprised us all with the numbers he put up this season. Is 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns not enough for you to give him the award? It really only came down to him and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. Mahomes has over 1,000 yards and 18 passing touchdowns more than Brees. He’s pretty much a lock to win MVP since he was already named First Team All-Pro at QB. In other words, the NFL has already named him the MVP winner.

 

Offensive Player of the Year

Rahim’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Jon’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Dan’s: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Aman’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City

Joel’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Adam’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

With Mahomes winning the MVP, the next award belongs to Drew Brees. Just look at what he has done with the Saints’ offense. He led them to the best record in the NFL! This was one of the best seasons of his career. He actually has fewer interceptions than Mahomes and set a record for completion percentage with 74.4 percent. Brees will be the MVP runner-up, so it’s only fitting he be the one to win this award. The only other player we see winning this award is RB Todd Gurley, but he missed two games and didn’t even lead the league in rushing. If Drew Brees really is in close contention with Mahomes for MVP, this award has to go to him.

 

Defensive Player of the Year

Rahim’s: LB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Jon’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Dan’s: LB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Aman’s: LB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Joel’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Adam’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack? Who do you pick? We’re split 50-50. We’ll break it down and see where each of them are in the statistics. Donald got paid this offseason and still put up great numbers! His best number is 20.5 sacks, and he has obviously made an impact on the defensive front this year for the Rams. His sacks were the most ever by a defensive tackle, and he was only two short of the season sack record. He recorded 9.5 sacks more than last year. For Mack, it’s simple! Get traded, then be the biggest thing on your team! Mack helped change the Bears’ defense around. He took the Bears from 5-11 and being last to the NFC North, to going 12-4 and winning the division. Let’s not forget he has done everything possible for the Bears this season, including sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles and touchdowns!

 

NFL Awards
Baker Mayfield” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Rahim’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Jon’s: RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Dan’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Aman’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Joel’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Adam’s: RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

This was close between Barkley and Mayfield. Some might give it to Barkley based off his numbers on a bad team. He had 91 receptions as a rookie running back, and he is the real deal! If this award were to come down to player stats, it’d be Barkley. Barkley had 2,000 plus yards from scrimmage this season. Unfortunately, his team finished 5-11.

For Mayfield, it was all about making an impact and helping this team win games. That’s precisely what Mayfield did. He led the previously 0-16 Cleveland Browns team to a seven-win season. Not only did he help the Browns win, but he looked great doing. Mayfield and the Browns weren’t that far from having a playoff spot. They finished 7-8-1 and 9th in the AFC standings. Let’s also not forget that his head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley both got fired. I’ll admit, I doubted Mayfield’s ability, but anytime you take a team with a 4-44 record over the past three seasons and make them somewhat relevant, that’s an automatic lock!

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Rahim’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Jon’s: S Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

Dan’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Aman’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Joel’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Adam’s: S Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

James was just named a first-team All-Pro safety as a rookie. He played all over the field and finished with 105 tackles, three-and-a-half sacks and three interceptions. James is the best rookie on the best team, and he has easily stepped in to the starting lineup affecting the game in sacks, picks and 70 tackles.

Leonard had the greater impact on this team. The Chargers had a pretty good defense last season, but the Colts had one of the worst. This season the Colts have drastically improved defensively, in large part to the play of Darius Leonard. He totaled 163 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions for the Colts this season. Those 163 tackles led the entire NFL.

So will it be James or Leonard?

 

NFL Awards
Andrew Luck” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Comeback Player of the Year

Rahim’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Jon’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Dan’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Aman’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Joel’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Adam’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck is the clear cut Comeback Player of the Year. He played all 16 games after not playing a single game last year. In the 16 games he played this season, Luck had the highest passer rating of his career. In addition to that, Luck had the second most passing yards and second most TD passes of his career. Then there’s the fact that Luck led his team to a 10-6 record and a playoff spot. It’s been an incredible year for Luck, as he returned from injury and helped turn a 4-12 Colts team in 2017 to a 10-6 playoff team in 2018. There’s no doubting this one! This is one of the more obvious picks among the NFL awards.

 

Coach of the Year:

Rahim’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Jon’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Dan’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Aman’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Joel’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Adam’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Last season the Bears were 5-11 and last in the NFC North. In their first season under Matt Nagy, the Bears went 12-4, won the NFC North and almost got themselves a first-round bye in the NFC. If that’s not enough, Nagy helped second year QB Mitch Trubisky make huge strides this season. Trubisky’s passer rating went from 77.5 to 95.4.

Then there’s the defense. Nagy was able to put together, one of, if not the best defense in the NFL. He changed this team in all phases. The addition of Khalil Mack helped the Bears’ turnaround, but the addition of Nagy has turned Mitchell Trubisky into the franchise quarterback the Bears certainly hoped he would be.

 

Let us know your opinions on who wins the NFL awards, as we have plenty of time left before they are announced. Comment your winner for each of the these NFL awards!

Breaking down the NFL MVP race after Week 16

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been giving you my top three NFL MVP candidates. This week is different. With just one week left to play in the regular season, another QB has inserted himself into the MVP conversation. This week’s rankings have some movement based on how my top MVP candidates played in Week 16. Even though there’s only one week left in the season, I believe there are four candidates who have a legit shot at winning the award. Find my breakdown of where each player is ranked below.

Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s the main reason Patrick Mahomes remains number one, even after the Chiefs have lost two straight games. Even when Patrick Mahomes can’t get the Chiefs a win, he still has a good game. In three out of the four losses the Chiefs have, Mahomes has thrown three or more TDs. In the one game he didn’t throw three or more TDs, he threw two. He just hasn’t had a game you could really consider bad.

Patrick Mahomes has been exciting to watch in every game this season. In their loss to the Seahawks, Mahomes only completed 57.5% of his passes, but he threw three TD passes and had a passer rating of 103.4. Even though Mahomes isn’t always great in every category, his ability to make huge plays and put up big numbers in other categories makes up for it.

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

I knocked Drew Brees down to third in last week’s rankings. The reason why was because he had a string of subpar games. Although Brees didn’t have a spectacular game against the Steelers this past week, Brees moved back up to number two. He has Philip Rivers to thank for that. We’ll get to him in a minute.

Brees only threw one TD pass against the Steelers, but he did throw for 326 yards and completed 69.2% of his passes. That led him to a passer rating of 103.2. After three straight games of having a passer rating below 100, Brees finally made it back up there. Even though his numbers weren’t huge for the fourth straight week, Brees looked like the MVP Brees we saw earlier in the season.

3. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

By beating the Kansas City Chiefs and securing the Seahawks a playoff spot, Russell Wilson put himself into the MVP mix after Week 16. This was a must win game for the Seahawks after losing to the 49ers the week before. Boy oh boy did they deliver, especially Russell Wilson. His completion percentage of 62.1% was a little down, but he threw for 271 yards and three TDs. Wilson was able to earn himself a passer rating of 127.2.

In addition to passing for 271 yards, Wilson added 57 yards on the ground. Wilson had a great game, but perhaps what’s most important to Wilson moving into third place is the fact that he out dueled the MVP leader in Patrick Mahomes. Russell Wilson was clutch when his team needed him. Wilson can’t be ignored in the MVP conversation.

4. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

After being ranked second in last week’s NFL MVP rankings, Philip Rivers moved back down the list, this time to fourth. The reason why Rivers moved down two spots is because he had a bad game against the Ravens. I’ll cut him a little slack because the Ravens have one of, if not the best defense in the NFL this season, but that kind of game from Rivers was unacceptable. It was even more unacceptable because the Chargers needed to win for playoff purposes. If they would have won, they would now be the number one seed in the AFC, probably getting a first-round bye.

Instead of stepping up his play in a huge game, Philip Rivers completed 62.2% of his passes for just 181 yards, zero TDs and two INTs. His passer rating was 51.7, which is his worst of the season by far. His worst passer rating before that was 89.0. It’s possible the Chargers could still get a first-round bye and home field advantage in the AFC, but Philip Rivers may have blown their shot by having his worst game of the season.

Top three NFL MVP rankings after Week 15

Only two more weeks to go in the NFL season! That means we’re one step closer to crowning the NFL MVP. Last week I cut my list from five to three candidates. This week remains at three, but there is some movement among the top three NFL MVP candidates. Let’s find out who’s leading the MVP race after Week 15!

Philip Rivers - Top three NFL MVP rankings
– Chargers Philip Rivers Jets Shaun Ellis” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain
1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Last week’s game against the Chargers wasn’t the typical game we’ve seen from Patrick Mahomes. He had his lowest passing yardage of the season (243) and only threw two TDs. His team also lost the game to the Chargers 29-28. Despite those negatives, Patrick Mahomes did have some positives against the Chargers.

For starters, he helped the Chiefs build a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter. On his way to leading the Chiefs to 28 points, Mahomes had some incredible throws! It was like the Chargers weren’t able to bring him down. The pressure of having a guy about to wreck him didn’t seem to impact his throws. I was amazed by some of the throws I saw him make. Mahomes also had a passer rating of 110.3 against the Chargers.

Despite losing and dropping to 11-3, Mahomes still has the Chiefs as the best team in the AFC and in position to have home field advantage in the playoffs. He also leads the NFL in passing yards and TD passes. Even if the Chiefs don’t get the number one seed in the AFC, Mahomes will still be the favorite for MVP. He’s number one in my top three NFL MVP rankings again this week, and he’ll likely stay here.

 

2. QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers was already in my top three NFL MVP rankings last week, but this week he’s making his highest appearance in my rankings. I’ve had Rivers on my MVP radar for most of the season, but he’s had a very quiet MVP campaign. That is until he helped lead the Chargers to an incredible comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Rivers and the Chargers were down by 14 with about five minutes left in the game. Rivers drove them down the field for a TD, the defense got a stop, and then Rivers drove down the field again to help the Chargers score a TD.

What I loved most about this last drive from Rivers, is the fact that he immediately held up two fingers after they scored a TD to signal they were going for two. Not sure if it was his idea, but I loved it regardless. There was not going to be OT in this game. It was win or lose.

Rivers didn’t have the best overall game against the Chiefs, as he threw two INTs and had a passer rating of 89.0. Believe it or not, that was actually his worst passer rating of the season, but he played at an elite level when the game was on the line. This win put the Chargers at 11-3, which is now tied for the best record in the AFC with the Chiefs. The Chiefs are still leading the AFC West, but Rivers is doing everything he can to get the Chargers that AFC West crown and a first-round bye.

 

3. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints 

Drew Brees ranked second last week, but now ranks third in my top three NFL MVP rankings after another dull performance. Ever since that loss to the Cowboys, Drew Brees hasn’t been putting up MVP numbers. The Saints are still winning, but Drew Brees has created a lot of separation between himself and Patrick Mahomes. That’s not in a good way for Brees.

Just four weeks ago, Brees had only thrown one INT all season long. Four weeks later, Brees has five INTs on the season. That’s still not a ton of INTs, but he’s thrown an INT in four straight games. Over the last three games, Brees has thrown two TDs to three INTs. His passer rating over those three games has been an average of 77.2. It’s like Drew Brees hit a wall all of a sudden and hasn’t been able to recover yet.

Despite his lack of MVP level play over the last three weeks, Brees did enough earlier in the season to not be passed up by anyone else. I don’t see anyone really being in MVP consideration other than the three guys I have on this list. Brees will still be in consideration for MVP this season, but I think the last few weeks may have made the MVP decision a lot easier. Brees has to find that MVP level play again before the Saints hit the playoffs.

Top three NFL MVP rankings after Week 14

Ever since the first week of the season, I’ve been ranking the top five NFL MVP candidates. This week is different. This week I’ve cut my list down to three candidates for MVP. The reason why I’ve cut down the list, is because I feel like there are only three players who really have a shot at winning this award with three weeks left in the season. So, the rest of the way we’ll be looking at the top three rather than top five NFL MVP rankings. 

Which three players are still in contention for the award? Let’s find out who makes the cut! 

45586551031_74aced56d7_k.jpg
Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain
1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes had another spectacular performance against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Mahomes completed 66% of his passes for 377 yards, two TDs and one INT. That performance came against the number one ranked defense in points per game, the Baltimore Ravens.

While Mahomes put up good numbers, his numbers weren’t the most impressive part about this performance. Mahomes was able to lead a comeback victory over the Ravens, tying the game with less than a minute left and then putting his team in position for a FG in OT. Then there was the insane no look pass Mahomes threw! If you didn’t see that one, go watch the replay. I don’t know how this guy does it. With only three weeks left in the season, Mahomes seems to have a choke hold on the MVP award.

 

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Brees was able to bounce back nicely against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a terrible game against the Dallas Cowboys the week before. Brees completed 77.4 of his passes for 201 yards, one TD and one INT. While Brees was able to get his team the win and put up decent numbers, I feel like he’s losing more and more ground every week in the MVP race.

After throwing just one INT through 11 weeks of the season, Brees has now thrown an INT in three straight games. That, combined with a lack of big numbers, has him losing ground with little time left.

 

3. QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers was able to lead the Chargers to a 26-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. With how much the Bengals are banged up right now, I thought the Chargers would have put up more points, but they got the win and that’s what really matters.

In that win, Rivers threw for 220 yards and one TD on 65.5% completions. Not incredible numbers, but not bad. Rivers may not have done anything last week to help his MVP case, but he also didn’t do anything to hurt it. That’s why he remains third in my MVP rankings.

 

Who’s off the list?

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson was ranked fourth on the list last week, but I couldn’t put him in the top three after his bad performance last night against the Vikings. His team got the win, but he only completed 50% of his passes for 72 yards and one INT. That one INT may have been the worst INT I’ve ever seen. It was that bad.

 

QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff was ranked fifth on my list last week. With a terrible performance against the Chicago Bears, there was no way I could put him in the top three. Goff completed just 45.5% of his passes for 180 yards and no TDs. He also threw four INTs. How bad was Goff really? His passer rating was 19.1. 19.1! That’s just embarrassing. If there was any chance  for Goff to be the NFL MVP this season, it’s gone now.

NFL MVP rankings after Week 13

Top five NFL MVP rankings after Week 13

NFL MVP rankings after Week 13
Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The top five NFL MVP rankings after Week 13 make another shift. We’ve got movement throughout the entire top five, with MVP candidates moving at the top, middle and bottom of the rankings. We’ve also got another new name on the list this week! Let’s see how the MVP race is shaping up after Week 13.

 

1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes claims the number one spot in my NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. He’s back on top! Mahomes continues to stuff the stat sheet every game. This week against the Oakland Raiders, Mahomes threw for 295 yards and four TDs. The best part for Mahomes, is the fact that he didn’t throw any INTs this past week. His 10 INTs on the season are one reason why I’ve continually kept him at number two.

After Week 13, Mahomes is still the leader in TD passes (41), leading that race by nine. He’s also second in passing yards and passer rating. Mahomes did get some help from the Dallas Cowboys’ defense this week to move him back into first, but he also had another impressive performance.

 

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees looked average at best against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. The Dallas defense held Brees to 127 yards passing and one TD on 64.3% completions. That completion percentage was his second worst of the season. In addition to the low numbers, Brees also threw an INT. However, this was no regular INT. Brees had the ball with an opportunity to put the Saints up on that drive, but he threw the INT early in the drive, which ended up giving Dallas the win.

Overall, Brees is still having a great season. He still leads the NFL in completion percentage and passer rating. The reason I moved him down in the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13, is because there’s not much room for bad performances as the MVP race begins to wind down. With Mahomes lighting it up every week, this bad performance may have cost Brees.

 

3. QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

With a comeback win over the Steelers and another great performance, Philip Rivers makes his highest appearance in the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. In the Chargers’ 33-30 win, Rivers threw for 299 yards and two TDs on 72.2% completions. The comeback was the most impressive thing about this game for Rivers. With the Chargers down 23-7, it looked like things were over.

But then Philip Rivers and the entire team turned things around. Not all the credit can be given to Rivers for this comeback win, but he does deserve a lot of it. On the season, Rivers is third in passer rating, behind only Brees and Mahomes. Rivers may not be getting the attention Mahomes and Brees are for MVP, but I think he should be. He deserves it.

 

4. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson makes his first appearance on the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. Wilson has played well all season long, but his MVP case hasn’t picked up until recently when the Seahawks have been winning games. Now sitting 7-5, Russell Wilson’s MVP case is getting better and better. Against the 49ers, Wilson threw four TD passes, helping the Seahawks earn a 43-16 win.

On the season, Wilson ranks fourth in passer rating and fourth in TD passes. It seems like  if Russell Wilson doesn’t have a good game, the Seahawks won’t win. On their three game win streak, Wilson has been playing great football. Look for him and the Seahawks to finish the season strong as they fight for a playoff spot.

 

5. QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Goff had a bad performance against the Lions on Sunday, which is why he’s been moved down two spots in the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. He helped the Rams get a 30-16 win, but I think that win was more on Gurley than Goff. Goff was held to 51.5% completions for 207 yards, one TD and one INT. His passer rating was 68.6, which was his second worst of the season.

Despite the bad game, Goff is still fifth in passer rating, sixth in TD passes and fourth in passing yards. Those numbers make the fifth spot in the rankings look like the perfect place for the QB leading the league’s best team.

 

Who’s off the list?

QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

After being on fire over the last five weeks and earning himself a spot in the top five, Andrew has fallen back out after the Jaguars shut down the Colts. Luck threw for 248 yards, but he didn’t throw any TDs and threw one INT. The Colts scored zero points. An MVP candidate can’t let his team not score at all. Overall, Luck is having a pretty good season, but it’s hard to elevate his status as an MVP candidate when the Colts are 6-6 and he’s coming off a bad game.

Drew Brees - NFL MVP Week 12

Top five NFL MVP rankings after Week 12

Drew Brees - NFL MVP Week 12
IMG_4477” by Tom Pumphret is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Two QBs on my top five NFL MVP rankings list had a bye this past week, meaning there wasn’t a lot of movement after Week 12. However, there is one new name on the list. That means someone got kicked off. Who is this new name? I’ll give you a hint. He hasn’t been on this list before.

Need another hint? Okay, I’ll give you one. He’s a QB. Think you might know who it is? Let’s find out if you guessed it right!

 

1. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Another dominating performance by Drew Brees and the Saints continues to earn Brees the number one spot on my NFL MVP rankings. Brees didn’t have big numbers in this one, throwing for only 171 yards. He also threw an INT, but it was just his second of the season.

However, Brees threw four TD passes in a 31-17 win over the Falcons. That was his third game in the last four weeks throwing four TD passes. Brees continues to have the best completion percentage and best passer rating, all while leading the NFL’s best team.

 

2. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

I couldn’t move Patrick Mahomes up or down this week because he had a bye. I can’t say anything about his performance this week, so I’ll have to restate what he’s done over the course of the season. Mahomes has his team as the best in the AFC at 9-2. He leads the NFL in passing TDs, is third in passing yards and is second in passer rating. Pretty dang good stats if you ask me.

 

3. QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Like Mahomes, Goff had a bye this week, so I couldn’t knock him or move him up. He’s the QB of a team tied for the best record in the NFL. He’s got the fourth best passer rating, fourth most yards and fourth most TDs. He’s having a great year, having come through in the clutch multiple times.

 

4. QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

After a subpar performance and loss against the Denver Broncos, Philip Rivers bounced back in a huge way against the Arizona Cardinals! Rivers completed 28 of his 29 passes, completing his first 25. That tied the most consecutive completions ever. He also set the record for most completions to start a game. Rivers also set the record for best completion rate, completing 96.55% of his passes.

Talk about an MVP performance. That alone looks great, and I hadn’t even mentioned he threw for 259 yards and three TDs! Congrats to Rivers on his record setting day, getting the victory and keeping himself very much alive in the MVP conversation.

 

5. QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

A first timer on my NFL MVP rankings this season, Andrew Luck has been on fire over the last five games. After the Colts started 1-5, Luck has led them to five straight wins and a 6-5 record, very much so keeping them alive in the playoff conversation.

Though Luck did throw two INTs against the Dolphins, he completed 81.1% of his passes for 343 yards and three TDs. What’s most impressive about that, is the fact that Luck led the Colts to a victory after being down 10 points in the fourth quarter. Luck played his best when his team needed him most, earning him the number five spot on my NFL MVP rankings.

 

Who’s off the list?

RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Although I didn’t knock Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff for having a bye, I did knock Todd Gurley. It wasn’t so much because he had a bye, but rather because he’s a RB. I don’t doubt Todd Gurley will win offensive player of the year, but MVP has become a QB award. There are too many QBs playing at a high level right now for a RB to be named MVP.

Too add to that, Gurley is no longer the NFL’s rushing leader. Ezekiel Elliott has been running wild lately and has taken over that title for now. There’s a good chance Zeke will finish the season as the rushing leader, because he’s the guy Dallas goes through every game. For Gurley to win MVP, he’d have to put up ridiculous rushing numbers. His TDs are great, but the rushing yards aren’t something we’ve never seen before.