10 In The Books: Pickard’s Latest NFL End-Of-Season Awards Predictions

Welcome to the third of four parts of a mini-series looking ahead at the NFL season with Week 10 officially in the books.

FedEx Air Player of the Year: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Confidence Level: 9.5

Russell Wilson has played the best football out of all quarterbacks this season, emerging himself as an MVP candidate. The race is considered tight between him and Christian McCaffrey for the honors of the league’s best player, but in terms of Air Player of the Year, it’s easily Wilson. Currently just 79 yards out of first place in the passing leaderboard, Wilson has thrown for 2,737 yards and 23 touchdowns.

FedEx Ground Player of the Year: Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
Confidence Level: 10

There is no player more suitable for this award than McCaffrey, who should run away with the honors. He has 185 rushes for 989 yards and a career-high 11 scores on the ground, plus 48 catches for 396 yards and three touchdowns through the air. McCaffrey is an absolute beast all over the field and will easily secure these honors.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa
Confidence Level: 10

The Giants selected Nick Bosa with their first-round pick after he was passed on by the Cardinals in favor of Kyler Murray, and it’s impossible for them to have any regrets. Bosa has been the leader of this defense, playing a huge role in the team’s 8-1 start. Bosa has an interception, a pass deflection, a fumble forced, a fumble recovery, seven sacks, and 29 tackles so far.

Defensive Player of the Year: New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore
Confidence Level: 7

Stephon Gilmore has emerged as the best cornerback in the league, leading the Patriots’ defense to be dubbed the best in the NFL. Gilmore has intercepted a trio of passes this year, including one for a pick-six. He has also deflected 10 passes while making 27 tackles, including 22 solo. I’m not 100 percent confident that Gilmore will win it over the likes of Bosa and Aaron Donald, but the Pats’ ball-hawker has my vote as of now.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Oakland Raiders RB Josh Jacobs
Confidence Level: 10

Josh Jacobs fell in the draft and the Raiders took him with one of their three first-round picks in an attempt to replace Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Jacobs has been explosive in the running game, tallying 168 carries for 811 yards and seven scores on the ground while being responsible for 14 catches and 132 yards in the air. He has yet to register a receiving touchdown in his young career, but given how reliable the rookie has been this season, that should come soon enough. There’s nobody close to Jacobs when it comes to qualifications for this award.

Offensive Player of the Year: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Confidence Level: 7

Whoever wins this award will win MVP. Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson will get some looks, but as of now, the race is really between Wilson and McCaffrey. As of now, Wilson’s team is heading the playoffs and McCaffrey’s team isn’t. Additionally, while it’s hard to compare running backs and quarterbacks without a universal stat, Wilson seems to have played better. I’m not extremely confident here, but as of now, the honors are Wilson’s to lose.

Comeback Player of the Year: Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Confidence Level: 9

This award and its recipient are both currently being overlooked by many, but Cooper Kupp is absolutely the player to win it. The third-year wideout has registered 58 catches on 91 targets for 792 yards in eight starts (nine games) this year. He’s picked up a whopping 32 first downs via the passing game and has found the end zone five times, approaching the benchmark of six that would tie his career-high. Kupp missed most of last season with an ACL tear and is having an incredible bounce-back season.

Coach of the Year: Green Bay Packers HC Matt LaFleur
Confidence Level: 5

This is truly a neck-and-neck race between LaFleur and Seattle’s Pete Carroll. LaFleur has less experience and is being talked about more, which is why I think he has the edge. However, the final seven weeks of the regular season could surely change that. LaFleur, formerly the offensive coordinator for the 2017 Rams and 2018 Titans, is 8-2 in his rookie campaign as Packers head coach. He has won four of seven challenges at the helm for an electric Packers team.

Most Valuable Player: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Confidence Level: 7

As I said earlier in this piece, whoever is dubbed Offensive Player of the Year will also win MVP. Wilson’s Seahawks are playing great football and just defeated the undefeated 49ers. Wilson has played better and the award is his to lose.

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