The 2012 NFL season is almost upon us and you know what that means–predictions. So, without further delay, here are my 2012 NFL predictions for the player awards:
Most Valuable Player: Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints. There is no question the Saints are going to have a tough go of it this year with so many suspensions and coaches missing. However, Brees knows the offense and could probably play the game without a head coach. He will become the first quarterback to ever throw for 5,000 yards three times in his career and the first to do so in back to back seasons. While I don’t envision another record setting year, it will be almost impossible not to notice how well Brees does.
Offensive Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers. It is hard to pick someone else in this position seeing as quarterbacks tend to get all the credit for everything short of getting Osama bin Laden, but that’s the nature of the beast. Last season’s MVP will trade places with last year’s Offensive Player of the Year Drew Brees, who I have winning the MVP, as you just read. Rodgers is one of the top two quarterbacks in the game and could very easily win his second MVP. There is no reason to think Rodgers will drop off from last season’s production, but just don’t expect only six interceptions again this year. The interceptions might go up slightly, but so might his touchdown totals.
Defensive Player of the Year: DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker, Dallas Cowboys. Ware might be the most prolific pass rusher in the NFL since Lawrence Taylor–he is that good. He has accumulated 99.5 sacks in 112 games. Think about that for a moment. That is close to a sack per game. Don’t expect his production to drop off this year, either. He has his sights set on Michael Strahan’s single season sack record of 22.5, something he might very achieve.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Washington Redskins. Everything in my gut tells me to pick Andrew Luck, but my brain says RGIII is better set up for immediate success. He has more offensive weapons around him and a capable defense that shouldn’t allow games to get too out of hand. His offensive line is decent enough to keep the likes of Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul and Jason Babin off of him for the most part. More importantly, because the Redskins defense won’t allow too many games to get out of hand, RGIII won’t be asked to play chuck and pray in the hopes of making up large deficits, which means fewer chances to make mistakes. While Luck might go on to have the better career, it is RGIII who will hit the ground running.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Quinton Coples, Defensive End/Linebacker, New York Jets. Coples surprisingly dropped to the Jets at 16th overall. He is tall at 6 foot 6 and athletic. More importantly, he can get after the quarterback and can hound a running game. More important than that? Darrelle Revis will take away one option in the opponents’ passing game, which means more time for Coples to get to the quarterback as he looks for secondary options.
Comeback Player of the Year: Jamaal Charles, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs. Charles is coming off an ACL injury that caused him to miss all but a little over one game. To help Charles with the workload, the Chiefs went out and acquired Peyton Hillis–a comeback player of the year candidate himself who can wear defenses down–and little scatback Dexter McCluster to help keep defenses on edge. Charles won’t be asked to shoulder the load, but will still get his fair share of carries and should get back to being the 1,000-yard rusher he was before his ACL injury.
Coach of the Year: Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills. The Bills have been in the bottom tier of the NFL for so long, but that is about to change. Their defense should be good enough to keep them in games and if Ryan Fitzpatrick can play like he did in the first seven weeks of the season, the Bills will make the playoffs. With the Bills’ new defense, they could really shock some folks.