The 2018 season officially wraps up this Sunday, and it was quite the year.
It was an exciting season that saw higher scoring and lower drama surrounding political differences, as the NFL seemed to get back to pure football.
This triggered a resurgence in TV ratings for America’s most popular sport. After a 10% decline in 2017, a 4% increase was seen this year.
As mentioned, scoring was up, and many players had career years offensively. Every rookie QB drafted taken in the first round of the draft became a starter before the year ended. Several rookie running backs made their mark, and asserted themselves as future starters.
Much like every year, some of the NFL awards are going to draw questions and debate, while others will be a unanimous decision.
That being said, here are my predictions for the 2019 NFL Awards.
Most Valuable Player: Pat Mahomes
The 2nd year Kansas City Chiefs QB took the league by storm in Week 1 against the Chargers, and he never looked back, Throwing for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns on only 15 completions!
Mahomes went on to finish the year 2nd in yards (5,097), 1st in TD’s (50), and 2nd in passer rating (113.8). He led the charge for KC who tied for the best record in the AFC at 12-4.
Runners Up: Drew Brees, Andrew Luck
Offensive POY: Drew Brees
We all talk about Tom Brady getting it done at his age, but let’s not forget Brees who had one of his best years as a pro at 40 years old.
The Saints passer threw 32 TD’s and only five interceptions, leading the league in passer rating (115.7). He also led New Orleans to a 13-3 record, and had it not been for a blown call in the NFC championship game, would be playing for his 2nd Lombardi trophy.
Runner Up: Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins
Defensive POY: Aaron Donald
The young Rams defensive tackle has truly become the most disruptive forces in the game today. Even at 6’1″ 280lbs, which is small for the position, Donald was still a nightmare for opposing offenses.
He finished the year with 20.5 sacks, 59 tackles, and four forced fumbles.
Runners Up: Khalil Mack, Bobby Wagner
Offensive ROY: Baker Mayfield
The first overall pick in last year’s draft was everything the Browns hoped he would be. He took over the starting job by Week 4 and made an immediate impact.
Mayfield led all rookie QB’s in yards, completions, TDs, and passer rating. The future looks bright in Cleveland knowing who’s under center.
Runners Up: Saquon Barkley, Phillip Lindsay
Defensive ROY: Darius Leonard
The 2nd round pick out of South Carolina State was virtually a no-name going in to the season. That soon changed when we all saw him play.
The rookie LB led the league in tackles (163), while also racking up seven sacks, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
Runners Up: Derwin James, Bradley Chubb
Comeback POY: Andrew Luck
So much was said about Luck in the offseason, raising questions about if he would ever be the same after his shoulder surgery.
After he missed all of the 2017 season, Luck came back better than ever having arguably his best year as a pro.
4,593 yards, 39 TD’s, and 98.7 passer rating, all topped off with a surprising playoff berth for Indy.
Runners Up: J.J. Watt, Adrian Peterson
Coach of the year: Matt Nagy
Preseason expectations for Chicago were that they were still a year away from being a legit playoff team. Instead their first year head coach led the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North Championship.
Nagy’s unique offense play-calling mixed with their elite defense propelled the Bears to the playoffs. Look for Chicago to be even better next year under Matt Nagy’s leadership.
Runners Up: Frank Reich, Anthony Lynn
Executive of the year: Chris Ballard
From hiring the right coach, to drafting an incredible rookie class. Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts had a fantastic 2018.
The Colts who were coming off a 4-12 season, and found themselves by season’s end at 10-6 and in the playoffs. Much of the credit of the team’s success goes to the man in the front office.
Runners Up: Ryan Pace (Chicago), John Dorsey (Cleveland)
Tune in to the NFL Honors show to see who will take home the awards. It airs this Saturday night (February 2nd) on CBS.