Over the next week and a half, I’ll be taking a look at each of the NFL’s individual divisions and offering my thoughts and predictions for how they will fare in the 2012-13 campaign. In today’s piece, I’ll be predicting the winners for each of the major awards that the NFL hands out at the end of each season.
The schedule for the 2012 NFL predictions pieces is as follows:
AFC East (09/01/12)
AFC South (09/03/12)
AFC North (09/03/12)
AFC West (09/04/12)
NFC East (09/04/12)
NFC South (09/05/12)
NFC North (09/05/12)
NFC West (09/06/12)
Without further ado, my predictions for the major NFL Awards…..
Comeback Player of the Year – QB Peyton Manning : Denver Broncos — This one here is about as easy as it gets. Arguably the best quarterback in the game is set to return from what once looked like a career-ending injury on a loaded team headed for the postseason. It’s the perfect storyline. After tossing a 40-touchdown, 5,000-yard season in 2012, expect Peyton Manning to run away with the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
Runner-Up: LB Jon Beason : Carolina Panthers
Coach of the Year — Romeo Crennel : Kansas City Chiefs — In his first full season as head coach of the Chiefs, I expect big things from Romeo Crennel. After having the “interim” tag removed from his title over the winter, due in part by overwhelming support from his players, Crennel will have a second chance to coach in the NFL. After missing the playoffs a year ago, I expect Crennel to turn things around in Kansas City and help the Chiefs get back to the postseason for the second time in three years.
Runner-Up: Jim Harbaugh : San Francisco 49ers
Offensive Rookie of the Year — WR Michael Floyd : Arizona Cardinals — Behind only Oklahoma State standout Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd was the best wide receiver eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft. After four consecutive 1,000-plus yard seasons at Notre Dame, Floyd is ready to make the jump to the next level. With opposing defenses focused on containing superstar teammate Larry Fitzgerald, expect Floyd to catch lots of passes for the Cardinals this season.
Runner-Up: WR Justin Blackmon : Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive Rookie of the Year — DE Chandler Jones : New England Patriots — Head coach Bill Belichick took a chance and made the move to trade up in the draft to secure the services of this former Syracuse Orangeman. As a lanky defensive end with speed and explosiveness, obvious comparisons have been made to New York Giants’ superstar pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul. I’m expecting Jones to surprise a lot of people with a twelve-sack season in 2012 and an NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Runner-Up: S Mark Barron : Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offensive Player of the Year — RB Ray Rice : Baltimore Ravens — In the Ravens’ run-heavy offensive system, Rutgers University product Ray Rice is the star of the show. Behind a stellar offensive line, Rice ran for over 1,300 yards last season and scored twelve touchdowns. As of this writing, I don’t see any reason why Rice won’t be able to improve upon those numbers in this upcoming season.
Runner-Up: RB LeSean McCoy : Philadelphia Eagles
Defensive Player of the Year — DE Jason Pierre-Paul : New York Giants — In his sophomore season with the Giants in 2011-12, Jason Pierre-Paul was an absolute monster, accumulating 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Now, with another year of experience – and a Superbowl championship — under his belt, expect J.P.P. to be better than ever in 2012-13 and lead the entire NFL in sacks.
Runner-Up: LB Aldon Smith : San Francisco 49ers
NFL MVP — QB Aaron Rodgers : Green Bay Packers — If there’s a better quarterback in the NFL, today, than Aaron Rodgers, please point him out to me. Rodgers was without a doubt the league’s best offensive player in 2011-12, and I wouldn’t expect him to slow down this season. With a bevy of offensive weapons like Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Cedric Benson, expect nothing short of spectacular in 2012-13 from Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Runner-Up: TE Rob Gronkowski : New England Patriots
Thanks For Reading!