2022 Award Predictions: Most Valuable Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Preseason Week 3 - Bryan: Welcome to the last of our odds previews for the 2022 preseason. We have picked each team's over/unders and predicted the individual leaders in a plethora of stats. Now we come on to the big ones—the winners of the league's individual awards.

This year is actually more interesting than most, as we have traditionally just had the Scramble writers poking at things. This year, though, Aaron's here to help make his picks, and he actually has one of the AP's votes. That makes his opinion slightly more relevant than mine, perhaps.

Aaron: I hereby promise not to waste any of my votes in an effort to make my preseason picks seem more accurate.

Just like yesterday, we're picking three players for each prop. The first is the player we think is most likely to win the category, regardless of the odds given. The second is the player we think is the best bet—the best value for your money. And our third is our favorite longshot, someone with long odds that we think could well end up surprising people, if the chips fall the right way.

Editors' Note: These lines fluctuate quite regularly and can differ from site to site. These specific odds all come from either DraftKings or Bovada, and were all correct as of time of writing.

Most Valuable Player

Most Valuable Player
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Josh Allen +650 Mac Jones +6000 Stefon Diggs +15000
Tom Brady +850 Jameis Winston +8000 Keenan Allen +15000
Patrick Mahomes +900 Mitchell Trubisky +8000 Michael Thomas +15000
Justin Herbert +900 Justin Fields +8000 Sam Darnold +15000
Aaron Rodgers +1000 Trevor Lawrence +8000 Tyreek Hill +15000
Joe Burrow +1200 Deshaun Watson +8000 Aaron Donald +15000
Russell Wilson +1400 Baker Mayfield +8000 Myles Garrett +15000
Dak Prescott +1600 Dalvin Cook +10000 Davis Mills +15000
Matthew Stafford +1600 Jerry Jeudy +10000 TJ Watt +15000
Lamar Jackson +2000 Carson Wentz +10000 Kenny Pickett +15000
Jalen Hurts +2000 Nick Chubb +10000 Teddy Bridgewater +15000
Kyler Murray +2000 Marcus Mariota +10000 AJ Dillon +15000
Derek Carr +2800 Alvin Kamara +10000 Jaylen Waddle +15000
Matt Ryan +3500 Christian McCaffrey +10000 Justin Jefferson +15000
Trey Lance +4000 Ja'Marr Chase +10000 D'Andre Swift +15000
Derrick Henry +5000 Ryan Tannehill +10000 Najee Harris +15000
Jonathan Taylor +5000 Davante Adams +10000 Joe Mixon +15000
Tua Tagovailoa +5000 Austin Ekeler +10000 Javonte Williams +15000
Kirk Cousins +5000 Zach Wilson +13000 Travis Kelce +15000
Deebo Samuel +6000 Micah Parsons +13000 Jimmy Garoppolo +15000
Cooper Kupp +6000 Daniel Jones +13000    

Bryan: It has been 10 years since a non-quarterback won MVP, when Adrian Peterson rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2012. Drew Brees was the league's leading passer, but the Saints had a losing record. Tom Brady was the leader in DVOA and DYAR, while Peyton Manning was the AP's first-team All-Pro quarterback, and none of the three were impressive enough to knock Peterson off his perch. And even then, it was reasonably close—Peterson got just 61% of the vote, with Manning picking up the rest of it.

It's difficult to imagine that happening today. Even the top running backs listed in Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor have longer odds than Trey Lance and his career 71 pass attempts. So while I'm taking Patrick Mahomes as my favorite as I believe he is still the best quarterback in football, the more interesting question might be if there's any situation where a quarterback doesn't win this award?

Aaron: I'm basically in agreement here. Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in football. Therefore, he should be the favorite to win the MVP award every year until such time as he is not the best quarterback in football.

And no, at this point, I think that enough voters believe in the importance of quarterback value that this is a quarterback award. The Offensive Player of the Year award is effectively now the award for the best offensive non-quarterback, and of course defensive players have their own award as well.

Bryan: It does raise questions about whether they should change the name from "Most Valuable" Player to "Best" Player, but maybe I just want to see Justin Tucker win a dozen of these things.

My best value is Joe Burrow at +1200. When we did the quarterback tier list earlier this offseason, there was a little talk about whether Burrow should be in the A tier or high in the B+ tier. I wasn't on that podcast, or I would have argued for pushing him into the As; I think that now that Mahomes' contract extension has kicked in, Burrow is literally the most valuable player in football, as in the player with the most value for his actual cap hit. If he cleans up his sacks a little bit, he could very easily top DYAR, DVOA, EPA, whatever you want to use this season. The sky's the limit for him, and I'm a little surprised that his odds are not in triple-digit territory yet.

Aaron: My best value would have been Dak Prescott at +1600 until the Tyron Smith injury, but now I hesitate about whether the offense can be good enough for Prescott to put up MVP numbers. So I guess that I think Mahomes at +900 is still the best value, although you can probably talk me into Russell Wilson at +1400 since he'll get all the credit if the Broncos can somehow win the AFC West.

Bryan: Wilson at +1400 for a division-winning Broncos team makes a significant amount of sense, but his odds aren't long enough for me to pick him as a longshot. Instead, I'm going with Kirk Cousins. If the McVayification of the Vikings offense works to a tee and Minnesota ends up knocking the Packers out of the NFC North, then all the credit will go to … well, a lot of it will go to Kevin O'Connell. But some will go to Cousins, and at +5000, or a 2% implied probability, that's good enough for me! Better than throwing your money away at a running back, at any rate!

Aaron: I have been all over the Interwebs and the football podcast world talking about my "subjective case for the Jacksonville Jaguars." In case you have missed it, here it is. First, we have the entire AFC South projected to be down this year. Imagine that the other three teams end up with losing records. Now, think about the fact that many of us consider Urban Meyer possibly the worst head coach in NFL history. Think of the giant chasm of improvement going from Meyer to Doug Pederson. And remember what a transcendent prospect Trevor Lawrence was, the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. What if he puts it together in his second year, now that he has real NFL coaching? He could be really, really good. And maybe the Jaguars go 9-8 and sneak into a division title. And maybe if Lawrence is even better … he gets MVP votes? He's my longshot pick at +8000.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Patrick Mahomes (+900) Patrick Mahomes (+900) Trevor Lawrence (+8000)
Bryan Patrick Mahomes (+900) Joe Burrow (+1200) Kirk Cousins (+5000)

Coach of the Year

Coach of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Brandon Staley +1400 Kyle Shanahan +2000 Kliff Kingsbury +2800
Dan Campbell +1600 Sean McDermott +2000 Andy Reid +2800
Nathaniel Hackett +1600 Kevin Stefanski +2200 Mike Tomlin +3000
Kevin O'Connell +1600 Mike Vrabel +2500 Dennis Allen +3000
Mike McDaniel +1600 John Harbaugh +2500 Mike McCarthy +3000
Brian Daboll +1800 Zac Taylor +2500 Matt Rhule +4000
Nick Sirianni +1800 Todd Bowles +2500 Matt Eberflus +4000
Doug Pederson +1800 Matt Lafleur +2500 Pete Carroll +5000
Josh McDaniels +1800 Sean McVay +2500 Arthur Smith +5000
Bill Belichick +2000 Robert Saleh +2800 Lovie Smith +5000
Frank Reich +2000 Ron Rivera +2800    

Bryan: Again, trying to be contrary and not just take Brandon Staley seems like arguing for the sake of argument; there's a reason he has become the consensus choice. If the Chargers improve like everyone thinks they will and make the playoffs for the first time since 2018, Staley is going to get lots of love. Especially because he's a showy coach, in that a lot of attention gets paid to his fourth-down decision-making and general aggressiveness. That's not the most important part of coaching, necessarily, but it is one of the most visible, and having success in a visible way is a great way to garner attention and votes.

Aaron: Well, the Football Outsiders team projections narrowly put the Chargers over the Chiefs for the AFC West title and the Vikings over the Packers for the NFC North title. If either of those things happen, the head coach in question is a very good Coach of the Year candidate. However, I have a little more faith in the Chargers than the Vikings. So I too will go with Brandon Staley as my favorite here.

Bryan: I feel like if I explain why Nick Sirianni is my best bet, I'm going to be jumping all over your Philadelphia Eagles optimism. But, like the Chargers and Vikings, we have the Eagles at the top of their division, and knocking off the Cowboys with what's widely considered to be a lesser quarterback would draw a lot of attention Sirianni's way. If all three of the Chargers, Vikings, and Eagles win their divisions, I think Sirianni finishes third in that grouping, but he's right up there, maybe just a half-step behind your front-runners.

Aaron: I have given my "subjective case for the Jacksonville Jaguars," but you give the objective case for the Philadelphia Eagles and I think the objective case beats out my imagination about how Jacksonville can shock the world this season. I mean, we don't just have the Eagles on top of the NFC East. Our mean projection gives the Eagles the No. 1 seed in the NFC! Thanks in part to their schedule putting them ahead of better teams, but still, if they do that, Nick Sirianni is getting a lot of Coach of the Year support.

Bryan: Well, let's see if we can't split in our longshots, as I'm going alllll the way down the table to Dennis Allen at +3000. Our projections love the Saints' defense. If the Buccaneers slip, and a defense-led Saints team takes the division, Allen is going to get some credit for taking over from Sean Payton and finding a way to get back into the playoffs. This is even more true if all those question marks we mentioned for the Saints offense yesterday end up not working out; if Jameis Winston is more like Tampa Bay Winston and Michael Thomas is still injured and Chris Olave is a rookie. There's a world where Tom Brady is Old, the Saints offense is just OK, and the Saints still end up winning the division in style. A redemption arc for a retread coach!

Aaron: Every year, there's always the possibility of Patrick Mahomes just going completely HAM on the NFL. It will especially look like Mahomes is going nuts if he has a great season and the Chiefs manage to put an above-average defense on the field. Imagine that the Chiefs do that and maybe finish the regular season 15-2 after trading away Tyreek Hill. It would make Andy Reid an excellent Coach of the Year candidate and a good longshot at +2800.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Brandon Staley (+1400) Nick Sirianni (+1800) Andy Reid (+2800)
Bryan Brandon Staley (+1400) Nick Sirianni (+1800) Dennis Allen (+3000)

First Coach to Permanently Leave Position

Coach to Leave
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Matt Rhule +275 John Harbaugh +1600 Kevin O'Connell +6600
Mike McCarthy +450 Mike Tomlin +1800 Doug Pederson +6600
Pete Carroll +500 Nick Sirianni +2500 Dennis Allen +6600
Frank Reich +700 Kyle Shanahan +3300 Brian Daboll +6600
Ron Rivera +750 Lovie Smith +4000 Matt Eberflus +6600
Kevin Stefanski +1000 Bill Belchick +5000 Matt LaFleur +8000
Dan Campbell +1000 Todd Bowles +5000 Sean McDermott +10000
Mike Vrabel +1200 Brandon Staley +6600 Josh McDaniels +10000
Kliff Kingsbury +1200 Nathaniel Hackett +6600 Sean McVay +10000
Robert Saleh +1400 Mike McDaniel +6600 Andy Reid +10000
Arthur Smith +1400 Zac Taylor +6600    

Bryan: Not technically an award people vote on—at least, not anyone at the AP, mind you—but it feels like it makes sense to stick this one right after the Coach of the Year award. I also find it amusing how the name of this one has changed over the years—it went from First Coach Fired to First Coach to Lose Job and now First Coach to Permanently Leave, as sportsbooks try to find a polite way to allow people to spend money on coaches they think are very bad.

Also, it's Matt Rhule. Of course it's Matt Rhule; it has to be Matt Rhule. It's a little surprising he was brought back for 2022 to begin with, as the Panthers have had roughly zero success with him in charge. This year, he has bungled his quarterback situation quite badly, and he has the temporary replacement of Ben McAdoo right there in house already. Unless Baker Mayfield has the year of his life, it's hard to see Rhule making it back for 2023, and very, very easy to see a change happening at the bye week.

Aaron: Duh. The Panthers were still talking about starting Sam Darnold even after trading for Baker Mayfield. It's Rhule.

Bryan: And speaking of former (or soon to be former) Carolina coaches, I think we're reaching the end of the line for Ron Rivera in Washington. The greatest coach in Commanders history has at least made the playoffs in Washington, but that was as a 7-9 team in the year everyone in the NFC East stank, so there's not a long track record he has to lean back on. And now he has Carson Wentz as his starter, with both Indianapolis and Philadelphia celebrating as the quarterback was sent out of town. And Chase Young is hurt, and there's likely to be some regression on defense anyway, and … I just can't find room for optimism anywhere in Washington, no matter how hard I squint. Maybe the owner's too busy to fire someone midseason, but unless the Commanders are significantly more competent than I'm giving them credit for, it's probably time for a complete restart.

Aaron: I don't care that he has the lowest odds. The best bet is still Rhule. The Panthers are a mess.

Bryan: For the second year in a row, I'm picking Kliff Kingsbury as my longshot—and, in fact, I'm disappointed his odds have come down so low, as I'm clearly not the only one on this train. The Arizona offseason has been … contentious, to say the least, with new points of drama popping up nearly every week. The relationship between Kingsbury and Kyler Murray does appear strained, even as they do their best to assure everyone that no, everything's fine, really, it's great down here. And while Kingsbury did just sign a new extension, the Cardinals also made Murray the highest-paid quarterback in the league and, well, there's no salary cap for coaches. If the Cardinals fade down the stretch again, as Kingsbury's struggles in November onwards continue despite all logic and probability, the only move they really can make is moving on from Kingsbury. Plus, I think there's real "bottom falls out" potential on this team; it's entirely possible their collapse starts before Halloween this time around.

Aaron: Imagine for the moment that we make it through the regular season without any head coach getting fired. But the Houston Texans have a bad year, and when we get to the end of the season it becomes clear that the man they wanted as head coach all along was Josh McCown. So they get the jump on the other losing teams, becoming the first franchise to fire their head coach on Black Monday. Well, Black Sunday night, I guess. Goodbye, Lovie Smith (+4000). Hello McCown.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Matt Rhule (+275) Matt Rhule (+275) Lovie Smith (+4000)
Bryan Matt Rhule (+275) Ron Rivera (+750) Kliff Kingsbury (+1200)

Offensive Player of the Year

Offensive Player of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Jonathan Taylor +1000 Ceedee Lamb +4000 Alvin Kamara +6000
Deebo Samuel +1000 Aaron Jones +4000 Michael Pittman Jr +6000
Cooper Kupp +1200 Stefon Diggs +4500 Michael Thomas +6000
Derrick Henry +1400 Jerry Jeudy +5000 Mark Andrews +7000
Justin Jefferson +1500 Javonte Williams +5000 Mac Jones +7000
Josh Allen +1800 Derek Carr +5000 Matt Ryan +7000
Davante Adams +1800 Tua Tagovailoa +5000 Marquise Brown +8000
Justin Herbert +2000 Tom Brady +5000 Leonard Fournette +8000
Patrick Mahomes +2000 Russell Wilson +5000 Kirk Cousins +8000
Nick Chubb +2000 Austin Ekeler +5000 James Conner +8000
Lamar Jackson +2200 Matthew Stafford +5000 Jameis Winston +8000
Joe Burrow +2500 Ezekiel Elliott +5500 Cordarrelle Patterson +8000
Christian McCaffrey +2500 Keenan Allen +6000 Diontae Johnson +8000
Kyler Murray +2800 Joe Mixon +6000 Terry McLaurin +8000
Aaron Rodgers +2800 Jaylen Waddle +6000 Tee Higgins +8000
Ja'Marr Chase +3000 Hunter Renfrow +6000 Cam Akers +8000
Jalen Hurts +3000 Deshaun Watson +6000 Mike Williams +8000
Dalvin Cook +3000 Tyreek Hill +6000 A.J. Brown +8000
Travis Kelce +4000 D'Andre Swift +6000 Mike Evans +8000
Trey Lance +4000 Saquon Barkley +6000 Mitchell Trubisky +8000
Dak Prescott +4000 Najee Harris +6000    

Bryan: Well, I have Jonathan Taylor leading the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns on a team that is a little iffy at quarterback. And if this award is generally now reserved for the best non-quarterback skill position player, it's hard to go away from Taylor as the favorite. I would stay far away from co-favorite Deebo Samuel, not because he's not good, but because the expectation is that the 49ers' offense will operate deeper in the passing game this year, which should lead to Brandon Aiyuk eating into Samuel's volume a little bit.

Aaron: I think it's more likely that Cooper Kupp puts up another year of fantastic receiving numbers than it is that Jonathan Taylor can match last year's rushing numbers. The Rams offense should still be powerful, but like we wrote about yesterday, we're not sure how much faith we have in Van Jefferson or Tyler Higbee to put up big numbers. That means another year with a lot of passes going to Kupp.

Bryan: I have always been a little obsessed with the 1,000/1,000 season; nice, big, round numbers. For years, the only player who had ever picked up a thousand yards rushing and receiving in the same year was Roger Craig, who happened to play for my favorite team when I was a kid. That was matched 15 years later by Marshall Faulk, whom I think never gets enough credit in the "best running back of all time" discussion. So I admit to being a bit bedazzled by the third man to hit that mark, Christian McCaffrey, as I love his playstyle and his usage beyond the limits of rational thought. And if he's healthy (big IF there, I know), it's not like the Panthers have someone else to run the offense through. And because OPOY doesn't have the same sort of successful team requirements we see in the MVP race, I could see McCaffrey being the one bright spot in a long Panthers season, and getting some votes for success in suboptimal conditions.

Aaron: There has been a lot of talk about Justin Jefferson in the "Cooper Kupp role" with Kevin O'Connell bringing the Sean McVay offense over to Minnesota. Most observers would say Jefferson is a more talented receiver than Kupp, so imagine the numbers he could put up in that role! With slightly better odds than Kupp for Offensive Player of the Year, that makes Jefferson my best value.

Bryan: I'll side with your Vikings optimism here for my longshot. Dalvin Cook makes it three out of three running backs for my picks, which may be silly considering the actual guy with the vote just picked a bunch of wideouts, but you're right. A more successful offense in Minnesota should lift all the skill position players up. And if Cook has, say, a 1,600-rushing yard, 600-receiving yard, 20-touchdown year? Yeah, I could absolutely see him winning OPOY, and all those thresholds seem at least possible enough for +3000.

Aaron: I'm going to go three out of three on wide receivers. Imagine what Tyreek Hill (+6000) can do in the YAC-friendly Kyle Shanahan offense, which Mike McDaniel has brought with him to Miami. We know that Hill is probably the fastest player in the league. We know that opponents will also need to pay attention to Jaylen Waddle. Hill could put up extraordinary numbers, and maybe McDaniel uses him as a runner a bit too, which gives that little extra novelty that might get Hill some OPOY votes.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Cooper Kupp (+1200) Justin Jefferson (+1500) Tyreek Hill (+6000)
Bryan Jonathan Taylor (+1000) Christian McCaffrey (+2500) Dalvin Cook (+3000)

Defensive Player of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Myles Garrett +700 Trey Hendrickson +4000 J.C. Jackson +6500
T.J. Watt +700 Shaquil Barrett +5000 Demarcus Lawrence +6500
Aaron Donald +750 Devin White +5000 Harold Landry +6500
Micah Parsons +1000 Brian Burns +5000 AJ Terrell +6500
Nick Bosa +1500 Jalen Ramsey +5000 Marlon Humphrey +6500
Chase Young +2000 Bobby Wagner +5000 Cameron Jordan +6500
Joey Bosa +2000 Jaire Alexander +5000 Marcus Davenport +6500
Maxx Crosby +2800 Matthew Judon +5000 Jamal Adams +7000
Khalil Mack +3000 Chris Jones +5000 Marcus Peters +7000
Darius Leonard +3000 Josh Allen +5000 Trevon Diggs +7000
Bradley Chubb +3000 Stephon Gilmore +5000 Budda Baker +8000
Danielle Hunter +3000 Jeffery Simmons +6000 Odafe Oweh +8000
Von Miller +3000 Za'Darius Smith +6000 Denzel Ward +8000
Rashan Gary +3500 Xavien Howard +6000 DeForest Buckner +8000
Derwin James Jr +3500 Tyrann Mathieu +6000 Yannick Ngakoue +8000
Chandler Jones +3500 Robert Quinn +6500 Justin Simmons +8000
Roquan Smith +4000 Randy Gregory +6500 Jessie Bates III +8000
Fred Warner +4000 Minkah Fitzpatrick +6500    

Bryan: This award comes down to which defensive players, in any given season, are just about as good as Aaron Donald. Well, Aaron Donald is usually just about as good as Aaron Donald. He's going to be my favorite in this category until the moment he retires, and then maybe a good season or two after that.

Aaron: Just like picking Mahomes for MVP every year, I think you pick Aaron Donald as your favorite for DPOY every year.

Bryan: If the Chargers are as good as we think they're going to be, we're probably going to see a lot of awards headed their way. You said yesterday that you prefer Nick as your Bosa brother with the most sacks, but I actually like Joey. I think he has higher quality players around him as a pass-rusher—while San Francisco's depth is fantastic, they don't have someone like Khalil Mack to draw blockers away from Nick. That should give Joey easier matchups than Nick throughout the year, which should lead to larger numbers. And even if he doesn't catch the Watts and Garretts of the world in terms of sacks, a superior defensive performance from the Chargers with Bosa in charge would seem to be the way to get him votes.

Aaron: OK, you want to go with Joey Bosa? I'll go with Nick Bosa! After all, I did say he would be the Bosa brother with the most sacks, and if the 49ers manage to win the NFC West, the biggest reason will probably be their defensive front. The 49ers may not have Khalil Mack on the edge, but they do have Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw in the middle.

Bryan: Nothing wrong with that; Bosa these guys are pretty good.

You had Nick Bosa as your best bet for the most sacks yesterday; I had Cameron Jordan in the same spot. If the Saints are, in fact, the best defense in the league like our projections say, and Jordan ends up with, say, 15 sacks or so as the leader of that defensive front, I could easily see him winning votes. And +6500 is very long odds for someone who I think is one of the better pass-rushers in the league.

Aaron: What if AJ Terrell (+6500) puts together another year like last year, where he had the best cornerback charting stats since Darrelle Revis? And what if the other 49 voters who are not me actually pay attention to things like cornerback charting stats and even—gasp!—PFF grades and realize how good AJ Terrell is? And what if … OK, now you really have to imagine … what if the Atlanta Falcons win enough games for people to actually pay attention to how good AJ Terrell is? No? You don't see it? Well, that's why these are our longshot bets.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Aaron Donald (+750) Joey Bosa (+2000) AJ Terrell (+6500)
Bryan Aaron Donald (+750) Nick Bosa (+1500) Cameron Jordan (+6500)

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Breece Hall +850 Isiah Pacheco +3000 Jerrion Ealy +10000
Kenny Pickett +900 Alec Pierce +3000 Jeremy Ruckert +10000
George Pickens +1000 Brian Robinson Jr +3500 Khalil Shakir +10000
Chris Olave +1000 Rachaad White +4000 Pierre Strong Jr +10000
Skyy Moore +1000 Kyren Williams +4000 Hassan Haskins +10000
Romeo Doubs +1100 Isaiah Spiller +4500 Dontario Drummond +10000
Jalen Tolbert +1200 Malik Willis +5000 Jalen Wydermyer +10000
Garrett Wilson +1400 Tyrion Davis-Price +5000 Kyle Philips +10000
Drake London +1400 Velus Jones Jr +5000 Evan Neal +10000
Kenneth Walker III +1600 Wan'Dale Robinson +5000 Charles Cross +10000
Christian Watson +1600 Tyler Allgeier +5000 Cade Otton +10000
Dameon Pierce +1600 Zamir White +6000 Calvin Austin III +10000
James Cook +1800 Isaiah Likely +6000 Kaleb Eleby +10000
Treylon Burks +1800 Tyquan Thornton +7500 Jerome Ford +10000
Jahan Dotson +2000 Trey McBride +7500 Ikem Ekwonu +10000
Jameson Williams +2000 Sam Howell +7500 Cole Turner +10000
Desmond Ridder +2000 Zonovan Knight +10000 Tyler Goodson +10000
David Bell +2500 ZaQuandre White +10000 Ty Chandler +10000

Bryan: I know reports out of Jets camp as we were writing these said that Breece Hall had not done enough to win the starting job from Michael Carter. And I know that Hall played with the second team during the Jets' preseason, while Carter got to rest with the starters. And it's disappointing that someone of his talent couldn't just take the job and run with it from Day 1. But I still think that, by the end of the year, Hall will be RB1 in New York and putting up enough highlight-reel plays to get noticed. I wouldn't touch the +850 line with how his preseason has gone, but without a rookie quarterback primed to take over from the start of the season, Hall seems like a more solid bet than any of the other rookies out there.

Aaron: I still think a rookie quarterback is the best pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year, barring some kind of crazy season like what Ja'Marr Chase did in 2021. Kenny Pickett (+900) isn't currently the starter in Pittsburgh, but the chances are strong enough that he'll start Week 1—or soon afterwards—to make him the favorite.

Bryan: I'll get to Pickett soon enough, have no fear, but for my best bet, I want someone who is starting from Week 1. Somewhat shockingly, that's Dameon Pierce, the fourth-round pick out of Florida who has just blown Texans camp away, to the point where Houston started holding him out of preseason games because they had honestly seen enough. Insert all the usual talk about running back draft value and such here. Usually, the winners of these awards are highly drafted players because they get more opportunities and start with the higher name recognition, but Pierce looks like he'll be a solid contributor right from the word go, draft position be damned. I will note that BackCAST didn't like him at all, but BackCAST isn't coaching the Houston Texans. Yet.

Aaron: Playmaker Score liked Treylon Burks the best out of this year's receivers, but Burks has had issues in training camp with the Tennessee Titans. That scares me away from picking him. Garrett Wilson (+1400) was second in Playmaker Score and should have plenty of opportunity as WR1 for the New York Jets. Zach Wilson can make big plays; his problem is that he makes bad plays instead of checking down when the big play isn't there. Nobody's going to blame Garrett Wilson for that, so he could put up some nice, big numbers as a rookie. I understand why hype puts receivers such as George Pickens and Skyy Moore ahead of Wilson, but those guys won't be the focal point of their teams' passing games the way Wilson should be.

Bryan: You're right when you say that rookie quarterbacks are the best choices for rookie of the year, when they play. And with Pickett's odds too short for me, that leaves one rookie passer with the chance to play significant time this year: Desmond Ridder. I was moderately impressed by Ridder's performance so far in the preseason, and I'm still gobsmacked by Derrick Klassen's never-ending love for the guy. Marcus Mariota has looked solid enough, but there's very little reason for the Falcons not to see what they have in Ridder at some point early this season. He'll get opportunities for sure, and he looks put together enough to take advantage of them from the beginning.

Aaron: For +1000, I'm not falling for the Isaiah Likely hype. For +2000, I'm not falling for the Isaiah Likely hype. For +6000, however, I'm willing to put a little bit of longshot money on the Isaiah Likely hype. Hey, somebody has to catch the ball in Baltimore besides Mark Andrews. Maybe 800 receiving yards and eight touchdowns for a No. 2 tight end gets some OROY votes?

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Kenny Pickett (+900) Garrett Wilson (+1400) Isaiah Likely (+6000)
Bryan Breece Hall (+850) Dameon Pierce (+1600) Desmond Ridder (+2000)

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Aidan Hutchinson +450 Lewis Cine +3500 Jack Sanborn +10000
Kayvon Thibodeaux +600 Roger McCreary +4000 Haskell Garrett +10000
Travon Walker +800 Leo Chenal +4000 Derion Kendrick +10000
Kyle Hamilton +800 Jalen Pitre +4000 DeAngelo Malone +10000
Ahmad Gardner +1000 Jaquan Brisker +5000 Darrian Beavers +10000
Quay Walker +1000 Christian Harris +5000 Channing Tindall +10000
Derek Stingley Jr +1200 Chad Muma +5000 Coby Bryant +10000
Nakobe Dean +1200 Brian Asamoah +5000 Cam Taylor-Britt +10000
Jermaine Johnson II +1200 Boye Mafe +5000 Bryan Cook +10000
Jordan Davis +1400 Arnold Ebiketie +5000 Tariq Woolen +10000
Devin Lloyd +1500 Troy Andersen +5000 Perrion Winfrey +10000
George Karlaftis +1600 Nik Bonitto +5000 Martin Emerson +10000
Trent McDuffie +1600 Malcolm Rodriguez +5000 Nick Cross +10000
Kaiir Elam +2000 DeMarvin Leal +6500 Mykael Wright +10000
Devonte Wyatt +2500 Cameron Thomas +6500 Marcus Jones +10000
Andrew Booth Jr +2500 Travis Jones +6500 Mario Goodrich +10000
Drake Jackson +3000 Logan Hall +6500 Kerby Joseph +10000
Kyler Gordon +3000 Brandon Smith +8000 Josh Paschal +10000
Daxton Hill +3500 Myjai Sanders +8000 Josh Jobe +10000
Sam Williams +3500 Kingsley Enagbare +8000    

Bryan: What was a somewhat difficult choice got made a lot easier when Kayvon Thibodeaux sprained his MCL; although it looks like he'll avoid missing serious time, he's getting second opinions on it as we speak. With Thibodeaux's early-season effectiveness thus at least somewhat in question, I think Aidan Hutchinson becomes the clear favorite. He was my favorite guy coming out of the draft, I think he fits really well for Dan Campbell, and he's going to produce a lot of highlight-reel plays very quickly—a lead that Thibodeaux may not be able to claw back by the time he's back up to speed.

Aaron: Agreed, Hutchinson is the favorite here. He had the college production and great measurables and he's in a good situation where he can be the top pass-rusher and get plenty of snaps.

Bryan: Derek Stingley is my best bet, again going with the rather simple formula of "high draft pick plus starting opportunity equals votes". It's harder to go with a cornerback than an edge rusher because of issues with forcing yourself into plays; it's easier for a good cornerback to blend in a little bit as other players are targeted. But if Stingley is really fully healthy and anywhere near where he was a couple years ago, the Texans may have grabbed the best player in this year's class.

Aaron: Voters like numbers when it comes to defensive players, and linebackers get numbers. Since Nakobe Dean may not start, that leaves me with Devin Lloyd of the Jacksonville Jaguars as the best value on the board at +1500. It's hard to know if he can take tackles away from Foyesade Oluokun, but if he can, he could put up big (somewhat empty, but big) tackle numbers.

Bryan: I have been looking for odds on Sammy Womack everywhere, because if I don't get one homer pick in these things, I start to break out in hives. With few people wanting to offer odds on fifth-round nickel cornerbacks, I'm instead going with Nick Cross, who looks to have won the starting safety job in Indianapolis. Everyone gets praise in training camp—it's a praise-generating machine—but the level to which everyone around the Colts stops to point out Cross' success seems to go above and beyond mere preseason hype. And, at +10000, he's about as long of a longshot as you can get. Other than Womack, at any rate.

Aaron: Yes, Cross is the clear longshot pick. Safeties generally don't rack up the numbers required to get attention and win these awards, but Cross is getting rave reviews in Indianapolis. He's way, way ahead of any of the other options that are above +5000.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Aidan Hutchinson (+450) Devin Lloyd (+1500) Nick Cross (+10000)
Bryan Aidan Hutchinson (+450) Derek Stingley (+1200) Nick Cross (+10000)

Comeback Player of the Year

Comeback Player of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Derrick Henry +400 Cam Akers +2500 Will Fuller V +5000
Jameis Winston +550 Danielle Hunter +3000 Carl Lawson +6000
Christian McCaffrey +750 Khalil Mack +4000 D.J Chark +8000
Baker Mayfield +800 Drew Lock +4000 DeAndre Hopkins +8000
Michael Thomas +800 Chris Godwin +4000 Blake Martinez +8000
Daniel Jones +800 Tre'Davious White +5000 Brandon Graham +10000
Mitchell Trubisky +1200 Jeff Okudah +5000 Darrell Henderson +10000
J.K Dobbins +1400 Raheem Mostert +5000 Dan Arnold +10000
Saquon Barkley +1600 Deshaun Watson +5000 Maxx Williams +10000
Marcus Mariota +1600 Robert Woods +5000 Marlon Humphrey +10000
Chase Young +1600 Marcus Peters +5000 Ronnie Stanley +10000
Travis Etienne +2000 Odell Beckham Jr +5000 Jaycee Horn +10000
Allen Robinson +2500 Trey Lance +5000 Gus Edwards +10000
JuJu Smith-Schuster +2500 JJ Watt +5000    

Bryan: Every year, I have to ask these questions—what, exactly, are some of these people coming back from? Allen Robinson and Mitchell Trubisky are apparently getting credit for coming back from being associated with the Chicago Bears. Daniel Jones can't come back to somewhere he never was. I get that not all the voters might think this way, but there are some low odds here for players whom I would never, ever vote for, regardless of how good of a season they put up.

I picked Christian McCaffrey as my offensive player of the year, and if he's anywhere near that conversation, surely, he's the comeback player as well.

Aaron: My favorite "what is he coming back from?" would have to be Trey Lance, who was neither injured nor bad last year. He's coming back from being a rookie?

Bryan: Lance did at least have a hurt thumb for a couple weeks. Such tenacity.

Aaron: Anyway, we said yesterday that I'm driving the Jameis Winston bandwagon, so let's go with Winston here as well. If he has a strong season and the Saints do as well as Football Outsiders is predicting, he should be a shoo-in. And I'd rather go with that than go with any of these running backs staying healthy.

Bryan: But speaking of running backs staying healthy, you had J.K. Dobbins as your best bet to lead the league in rushing yards this season. I think it's safe to say if he comes anywhere near that, he'll be a strong contender for comeback player as well. In fact, can we just pencil the entire Baltimore Ravens team here? With all their injuries last season, it feels like they have a half-dozen guys who could claim this one.

Aaron: Well, Dobbins was my best longshot bet, anyway. So I think he's a good choice for Comeback Player of the Year. But I think Travis Etienne and Cam Akers are also good choices for CPOY, given that each of those players will also be RB1. Akers may share time with Darrell Henderson, but it's going to be a very good offense. He's going to come back not only from injury but from last year's dismal playoff performance. That was a small sample size there, and he's better than that. So let's go with Akers at +2500 as my best value.

Bryan: My longshot pick is Khalil Mack, only because there are enough skill position players who are going to put up gaudy fantasy numbers that Mack might get a little lost in the shuffle—especially if he ends up playing second fiddle to Joey Bosa on a strong Chargers team. But Mack certainly fits the profile of a comeback player: a double-digit sack guy coming back from missing half the year from an injury which theoretically shouldn't slow him down too much this season. He just might need a little help elsewhere to get noticed.

Aaron: I'm going to go with Robert Woods at +5000 as my longshot. He should be the clear WR1 in Tennessee with the problems Treylon Burks is having right now, and he could put up excellent numbers if Ryan Tannehill concentrates on throwing to him. We already know he's one of KUBIAK's favorite underrated players this season.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Jameis Winston (+550) Cam Akers (+2500) Robert Woods (+5000)
Bryan Christian McCaffrey (+750) J.K. Dobbins (+1400) Khalil Mack (+4000)

Super Bowl Winner

Super Bowl Winner
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Buffalo Bills +550 Philadelphia Eagles +2200 Pittsburgh Steelers +9000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +750 Indianapolis Colts +2500 New York Giants +13000
Green Bay Packers +900 Minnesota Vikings +3500 Carolina Panthers +13000
Kansas City Chiefs +1000 Arizona Cardinals +4000 Jacksonville Jaguars +13000
Los Angeles Rams +1200 Cleveland Browns +4000 New York Jets +13000
Los Angeles Chargers +1400 New Orleans Saints +4000 Seattle Seahawks +15000
San Francisco 49ers +1600 Las Vegas Raiders +4000 Chicago Bears +15000
Denver Broncos +1700 Miami Dolphins +4000 Detroit Lions +15000
Dallas Cowboys +2000 Tennessee Titans +4000 Atlanta Falcons +20000
Baltimore Ravens +2000 New England Patriots +5000 Houston Texans +25000
Cincinnati Bengals +2200 Washington Commanders +7000    

Bryan: I feel like I owe it to the city of Buffalo to pick the Bills as my favorites, after not giving the K-Gun era Bills credit for being the best heartbreak dynasty of all time this offseason. I have questions about the Bills' ability to be consistently great week-in and week-out, and questions about whether or not that inconsistency will cost them the bye week, home-field advantage, and an easier path to the Super Bowl. But on paper, at least, they seem to be the best put-together team in the league. They're our simulation's favorite, they're the sportsbook's favorite, and they're mine, too. Very fun at parties, I swear.

Aaron: Well, I have been on all kinds of radio shows and podcasts and even Good Morning Football talking about how the Buffalo Bills are the Super Bowl favorites. Top-five DVOA projection in all three phases. They're the team to beat.

Bryan: You have also been going around talking about your favorite bird team to reach the Super Bowl as well, drawing shock and surprise as you go. So yes, I'm with you with the Baltimore Ravens as my best bet. I think they're getting undervalued because of underestimation of just how badly all the injuries hurt them last season. I think Lamar Jackson is still an MVP-caliber player, and even if the receiver corps isn't world-class, the rushing attack and Jackson's dual-threat abilities make them one of the hardest teams to game-plan against. John Harbaugh is on the short list of the best coaches in the league. If the Bills slip up, I really like the Ravens to come out of the AFC with the bye week, as the AFC West continues to murderize each other throughout the year. They're a good, logical pick for best value.

… what, you weren't talking about the Ravens?

Aaron: We'll get to my favorite bird team in a moment. I'm saving them for my longshot pick.

Instead, for best value, I'll go with the team that's currently No. 3 in the DVOA projections, and that's the Los Angeles Chargers at +1400. Yes, we have the Chargers slightly ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs this year. We know that Justin Herbert is the kind of quality quarterback who can win a Super Bowl title. The defense should be much improved with all the talent they have added this offseason, from J.C. Jackson to Khalil Mack to Sebastian Joseph-Day. I believe in Brandon Staley's coaching style. At a certain point, the Chargers curse is going to go away. I mean, the Patriots were the most cursed team in the NFL throughout the 1980s and 1990s. That went away just fine starting in 2001. It can go away for the Chargers too.

Bryan: OK, not the Ravens, I get it. You want to pick the team from Pennsylvania who we expect to do well. So I'll agree with you and take the Pittsburgh Steelers at +9000—that's what I call a longshot! What if Kenny Pickett is good? And not just "runs a two-minute drill in the preseason like a veteran" good, but actually, factually, top-10 good? You pair him with a very solid group of skill position players and Pickett-to-Pickens sweeps the nation. The front seven plays at a great level with Watt and Cam Heyward and company destroying offensive lines. The division struggles—Cincinnati is more like they were in the regular season than the playoffs; Jackson doesn't find his 2019 form in Baltimore; Cleveland, is, well, Cleveland. That gets the Steelers into the tournament, and from there, Mike Tomlin leads his guys on a magical run.

Likely? No. But +9000 is a 1.1% chance of things happening. I think the Steelers are more at, like, 2% or 3%. Double your odds!

Aaron: See, now I feel pressure to go with a really big longshot. Is this where I give my big Jacksonville Jaguars speech again?

Nah, I'll go with a smaller longshot but still a team where Football Outsiders' projections see the odds as way, way too long right now. That's the Philadelphia Eagles at +2200. Our model loves, loves, loves the Eagles this year. They have a top-seven projection on both offense and defense! That defensive one is a surprise given that they were 25th last year, but look at the additions: Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, Kyzir White, two good rookies, Brandon Graham coming back from injury. The Eagles also have the easiest projected schedule in the league, and that's before we attempt to account for the Tyron Smith injury and what it will probably do to the Dallas offense through at least December. The numbers don't necessarily say that the Eagles will win the NFC. Tampa Bay and Los Angeles have better DVOA projections. But I think the Eagles have a shockingly good chance of winning the No. 1 seed thanks to that schedule, and from there … who knows? If Jimmy Garoppolo can lead a team to the Super Bowl, Jalen Hurts can lead a team to the Super Bowl. You know, so he can lose to a better quarterback such as Josh Allen or Justin Herbert or even Patrick Mahomes.

Bryan: Or Kenny Pickett. I'll look forward to the Keystone State Bowl this February, after which it will show that all of our picks are, as always, 100% correct.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Aaron Buffalo Bills (+550) Los Angeles Chargers (+1400) Philadelphia Eagles (+2200)
Bryan Buffalo Bills (+550) Baltimore Ravens (+2000) Pittsburgh Steelers (+9000)

Comments

58 comments, Last at 21 Sep 2022, 2:23pm

1 Mahomes as the best QB in the league/MVP favourite

Having Mahomes as the consensus QB1 seems an odd thing to assume given how much his PFF grade cratered last year:

2018: 93.2
2019: 83.6
2020: 91.4
2021: 77.1

Following the same trend as his passing DVOA:

2018: 39.9%
2019: 30.0%
2020: 31.7%
2021: 18.6%

Before considering that he lost his WR1 which previous FO research showed *generally* resulted in worse outcomes for both QB and WR in year N+1, and his best weapon is an ever aging Kelce.

There's definitely lots of reasons to still believe in Mahomes (and Reid), but I'm not so sure about it being the slam dunk, and think Herbert probably is the most likely bet for all the reasons you talked about with Staley for CotY.

 

 

 

2 Exactly.

You are exactly right.  The amount of Mahomes fanboy love on this site, which is supposed to be about analytics, is verging on ridiculous.

he has not led in any major statistical category or been in the top two of MVP voting since 2018.  Those leaders and top two’s are all still around.  He lost Hill.  This site doesn’t even pick him to win his division.

And yet, he is the consensus pick to lead the league in yards, TDs, and win MVP.  I am not impressed with their math skills.

7 From the numbers above, he's…

In reply to by Raiderfan

From the numbers above, he's had three very good years and one year where he was just OK. But even that ok year is colored by the fact that he was subpar for half the season and then Sterling the second half or so is my impression without looking it up.

Really, the reason Mahomes becomes the default answer is his age and pedigree. Only Rogers and Brady have the publics trust to match Mahomes' mean efficiency and both are much much older. Maybe Herbert, Allen, Burrow, and Lamar could get there too but they haven't yet. So Mahomes remains the default choice though not overwhelmingly so. 

52   Following the same trend…

 

Following the same trend as his passing DVOA:

2021 was Mahomes's highest usage year by a lot, so you'd expect the rate stats to drop. I don't disagree with you though regarding Hill or the award likelihood. Awards usually like to have some combination of volume and high rate efficiency, usually leaning towards high rate stats. And with losing Hill, Mahomes's volume, if anything, is likely to climb even higher.

3 AP won because of a…

AP won because of a confluence of factors, including a historic season + a comeback off injury story where people had left him for dead + Manning and Brady stole from one another.

For a rb to win MVP, we would need a similar dead heat race between two QBs plus a running back putting up huge numbers on a team that was a 1 seed.

If Henry had put up a 1600 + yard season, even on just ok efficiency, I think he wins MVP. Similarly, if the Colts were fighting for a 1 or 2 seed, I think Taylor would probably win MVP.

Those are still super long odds so the MVP remains a QB only reward. 

16 I think for a non-QB to win…

I think for a non-QB to win you need a perception of Value, since a QB will always win actual value. Not sure how you could get a perception that Taylor was carrying the colts for instance unless he puts up historic numbers. 

4 Surprised there was no…

Surprised there was no mention of Sauce Gardner or George Karlaftis in the DROY discussion.  KC is going to have a lead a lot more than Detroit, which leads to pass rushing opportunities.  Gardner won't have the same opportunities, considering no one threw at him all preseason long, but someone will throw at him eventually.  Both Gardner and Karlaftis had great preseasons; I would be very optimistic on their futures right now.

8 Aaron: I hereby promise not…

Aaron: I hereby promise not to waste any of my votes in an effort to make my preseason picks seem more accurate.

An interesting comment given this is a gambling site, you are presenting actual odds, and you cast a vote in the outcome. (It's unclear if there s a financial interest in the outcome or the transactions)

Is this ethical at all?

How would you react if a boxing judge were suggesting picks in an upcoming show for which they were judging? They only have one vote, too...

25 ethics

"Is this ethical at all?"

Well, yes.  He's given full disclosure that he's an AP voter.  

If you want to make an ethics charge, you have to actually make it.  Sportswriters spend the entire season talking about the MVP award.  If you want to insinuate that something untoward is going on, make an accusation.

The comparison to a boxing judge just isn't a good fit.  

34 Gambling

In reply to by RickD

When gambling is legalized in Massachusetts, I will never place a bet on any AP award. When I placed a few bets in Las Vegas last year, I also did not place a bet on any AP award. I think that's where the ethics come in. Otherwise, yeah, it's just talking about who might win the awards which is something everybody talks about including voters.

9 If you grew up in the late…

If you grew up in the late 80s./early 90s, the top six SB favorites would make you think you had landed on a different planet.

47 Sure on the Bucs and Packers…

Sure on the Bucs and Packers... maybe not quite so surprising on the others. 

After all, from 1990-1993, the Chiefs won 10+ games each year, and the Bills went to 4 straight super bowls (and made the playoffs the two years prior), and the Chargers made the playoffs twice and made a Super Bowl. The LA Rams also won 10+ games 5 times from 1985-1989. 

10 I feel like Kaiir Elam has…

I feel like Kaiir Elam has some juice as a DROTY in a world where QBs look across the field and see White, Hyde, Poyer, and Johnson, and just keep testing the rookie. If he starts jumping routes like 2021 Trevon Diggs and ends up with a gaudy INT # then +2000 might be viable. Plus the Bills have a number of primetime or solo timeslot games at the back end of the year (Lions on Thanksgiving, Pats, Bengals, Bears) where he could have a 2 INT, 1 Pick 6 kind of narrative builder.

11 skin in the game

When you have no actual skin in the game, you're inclined to ignore the obvious.

O'Connell is brand new. Staley isn't. Of COURSE! voters will choose O'Connell over Staley if both take their divisions. Not even mentioning all the new defensive additions Staley's been provided, which the voters of course would mention.

(so no pick for Executive of the Year? [the Charger GM {whomever he is; I'm lazy} of course])

33 There's no Exec pick because…

In reply to by BigRichie

There's no Exec pick because there aren't any odds available that I could easily find.  Maybe next year!

 

As for O'Connell versus Staley, I think you're right if both teams end up as rough equals. But if the Chargers go, say, 14-3 and win the AFC West while the Vikings go, say, 9-8 and win the NFC North, I think there's enough of a gap there that O'Connell's "new coach" bounce wouldn't put him over Staley's "showy coach" cred.  But O'Connell is definitely one of the favorites, and tie does go to the newbie in these sorts of situations.

35 Partly

There are partly no odds on Executive of the Year because it is a PFWA award and not an "official" AP award.

43 life is SO! unfair

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

So I can bet on the coin flip, but not Exec of the Year. Says something about bettors, methinks. (maybe about how much they drink while betting)

12 The one other ridiculous pick

(2 ridiculous picks isn't bad at all when making this many picks)

You really think leaving Reid and Mahomes will be good for Tyreke's numbers? Dude.

46 OK, upon further rumination

It's not a bad bet per se. Just Aaron's reasoning is garbage, that there's any reason whatsoever to ex-PECT Tyreke to actually improve now that he's away from Mahomes and Fat Andy.

But it is possible he could put up another Tyreke year. (ya never know) Then he would have a winning narrative ('so it WAS! Tyreke all along!'), and narratives do win awards like this. And those are nice odds. So ... 

But man, that's still lousy reasoning.

13 I'll make my pick for Jamarr…

I'll make my pick for Jamarr Chase to win Offensive player of the year. I don't have much faith in the Bengals this year as a team, but I do think their passing offense from a numbers point of view are going to be great. I still expect a ton of sacks, probably too many killer sack fumbles, and a defense that gets shreded week to week(sorry Bengals fans).

While I am at it, I think the first coach to get fired is McCarthy. No one expects much from the Panthers, so unless they start out 0-6 or something, I think he should be fine. Baker, in theory, is a massive upgrade over Darnold who probably was the worst non rookie starting QB in the league last year. 

I think McCarthy is in real danger. I have been on record that this Dallas team eerily resembles prior Dallas teams who managed to thoroughly disappoint. A slew of high profiled, prime televised games only intensifies the pressure. By contrast, if Dallas stumbles to 2-4 or 2-8 by midseason, I could see McCarthy getting the axe. Jerrah has never been shy of dumping his coaches mid season in favor of a hot shot coordinator, even one's coming off a playoff birth the year prior. The parrellels are all there. Wade Philips gets canned midseason for Jason Garrett. McCarthy perhaps follows suit and its the Kellen Moore show. 

17 RE: Jones personnel management

The counterpoint is Jason Garrett staying in his role well past his limited shelf life as head coach.

 

This is pure conjecture but knowing the mindset of egocentric old guys there is an ongoing internal battle between needing to act based on the facts against admitting to being wrong in a prior decision

19 I think Jerry has a…

I think Jerry has a particular fetish for the young innovative offensive coordinator type. That was true when he lusted for Sean Payton while Parcells was the coach. And then for Garrett. And now for Moore, or perhaps Sean Payton. Its probably why he fell in love with Jimmy Johnson.

Of course, when it goes bad, he zags the other direction - going for the veteran, experienced retread coach. Again, Parcells, Philips and now McCarthy. 

 

24 So he prefers young…

So he prefers young offensive coordinators except when he doesn't? I also think Payton is firmly in veteran experienced retread territory now, rather than young/innovative (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).

31 It was definitely looking…

It was definitely looking like Moore was being groomed to assume the head coach role at some point. But with Sean Payton theoretically available next year, and Dan Quinn getting more out of lesser players on the defense than Moore and McCarthy could with better players on offense, I'm not convinced he'd be the one to replace McCarthy. And if McCarthy does get fired midseason, I think Quinn is the one most likely to replace him on the fly.

28 How likely is Dallas to…

How likely is Dallas to start 2-8, though, absent another major Dak injury? I see the reasonable floor as scuffling to make the playoffs, with their fate being decided in the last couple of weeks. In either one of those scenarios (injury leading to a collapse or .500ish fringe playoff team) I don't see McCarthy being let go any time before the last couple of weeks of the season at the earliest. I know the Tyron Smith injury has everybody spooked right now, and it certainly introduces a lot more uncertainty into the team, but he was hurt last year as well and they scuffled their way through. I think there's pretty good odds McCarthy is not the coach of the Cowboys next season, but I don't think he's let go in the middle of the year.

14 Much as I hate to say it,…

Much as I hate to say it, the Browns are probably the best long shot SB pick. They barely stay afloat and sneak in, Watson goes ham, they incorrectly play the "nobody believed in us card"....ugh. My head hurts but I can see it. 

55 At the same time, it's…

At the same time, it's perplexing  (i.e. easy money for Vegas) to see Watson on these lists at all, ironically tied with Baker on MVP.

I don't believe it's ever been possible to win MVP on ~1/3 season of production (even Mahomes was effectively eliminated from MVP during Lamar's season from a few games' injury.)

Uh, the "nobody believes in us" card is fair, just as it was more or less considered fair for Roethlisberger's crew during the '10 season where they made the SB. The challenge is going to be Brissett doing better than 4-7; I do think despite the hard AFC, everyone is going to beat each other up enough to make the WCs middling in record.

18 RE: Vikings

Based on the various podcasts/articles the Vikings are clearly a popular pick to 'surprise'.  On one hand I don't think it would be a surprise for a team with a fair amount of talent free of a curmudgeonly coach to improve.  Especially when it was on the short end of a bunch of close games that one could tie to the aforementioned coach's in-game decisions (at least to some degree)

 

The flip side is that Zimmer WAS one fine defensive coach.  So whatever gains on offense might be offset by slippage on the defense.  And as for the offense I wonder how the o-line adapts to the shift from being run-centric to pass-centric.  Not an easy shift.  Don't even know if the personnel is a fit for the new scheme.

 

And then there is the matter of Kirk Cousins.  I have a fair amount of respect for Cousins.  He's one tough SOB.  Cousins is remarkably consistent whatever his surroundings.  He has done a wonderful job of managing his salary.  

 

But, Cousins has been pressured on pass plays at a pretty hefty rate with past Vikings lines.  Can that line handle more volume while cutting the pressure rate.  And Kirk was very fortunate last season.  I think FO had him at 7 or 8 dropped interceptions (though boy that sounds low based on my casual watching of MN games) plus he fumbled 12 times.  Cousins has fumbled about ten times a season give or take since 2015.  So 2021 was no aberration.  But I think the Vikes recovered all but one or two.  That's a fair number of lucky bounces.

 

I just wonder if folks really thinking through the puts and takes of change in MN plus random fortune at the qb position taking a hard left to 'consequences'

22 Vikings

In reply to by big10freak

What sort of surprise are people talking about? over .500? Sure.  Playoffs? I could see it. Much more than that seems difficult. 

26 RE: Vikings chatter

In reply to by KnotMe

My random sample size is a few podcasts along with sites like FO.  But the theme the past 2 weeks was Vikings to win division.  General train of thought is that Zimmer was holding Vikes back, Vikings have Justin Jefferson, Cousins is capable, new coach brings new life to offense, Packers lost Adams, presto!  Hardly any discussion of defense much less special teams.

 

I have to admit to being legit surprised so much emphasis on Adams not being on the roster.  Look, he's a great player.  Adams did amazing things as a Packer.  But it's a 53 man roster.  Plus the coaches.  Plus the larger organization.  Analysis has shown that barring qb a team can absorb the loss of a great player contingent on making good decisions elsewhere.  Plus all we ever hear or read, including in this very article, is that QB is 'the' critical position in the NFL.  And GB has a prety solid player at QB

 

I think the Packers taking a step back can be supported with Adams being one of several things (namely it being hard to keep winning 13 odd games each season being the biggest reason) but based on the interwebs one only hears about Adams as being THE reason.  Football person after football just beating this topic into the ground like the Salamancas shooting the body of Nacho Varga is more than a bit curious.

36 The packers taking a step…

The packers taking a step back makes sense. But a great QB losing a great WR is pretty much the textbook case of "losing a star isn't THAT bad".  Maybe they are remembering when Randy Moss was making guys like Culpepper look good and expecting something like that. Don't think it will be THAT big. 

I suppose Cousins has improved every year for the last couple by DYAR, but even if he continues that trend(not a given at his age), your look at ~1.1K at best. I do think he is a bit underrated (most of the middle guys are), but he isn't gonna be close to Rodgers in any sane projection. 

10 wins seems like the Packers floor unless something crazy like a Rodgers injury happens. I can see the Vikings getting to 10, 11 at best, but even then it comes down to tie breakers like 50% of the time. 

I guess if everything goes wrong for the Pack and write for MIN you can see it, but seems pretty unlikely. 

 

39 The Vikings big problem, as…

In reply to by big10freak

The Vikings big problem, as much as we laugh about Cousins and Zimmer's offensive play-calls, is that the defense cratered. In part because they have been hilariously unhealthy.

If they can get that fixed, there's a pretty good core here. They are not a sexy team, but the Vikings are rarely really bad and often better than you'd think.

40  but the Vikings are rarely…

 but the Vikings are rarely really bad and often better than you'd think

So true! 
https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2022/kirk-cousins-vikings-and-dynasties-mediocrity

Like someone said above, I think them beating the Packers for the division pretty much requires the defence to be as good as it was under zimmer and the offence to take a step forward.  Seems difficult. 

44 The resident cheeseheads…

The resident cheeseheads here have mentioned this before, but LeFleur's teams hardly ever blow out their opponents when they win. Last year their 13-4 team only had the tenth best point differential. The Colts of all teams were above them. So I don't know if other teams' point differentials are going to say much about their ability to beat Green Bay.

However, this apparently doesn't apply to 2020 when they were third in net points. 

42 Due in part to Cousins and…

Due in part to Cousins and the salary situation they found themselves in; they were stealth all in after their NFC title game appearance; a veteran heavy team with Cousins that suddenly had to retool overnight but because Cousins is far from a bad qb; the results were mediocre. I've been assured by Vikings fans that Zimmer was a bad coach; but I dont think he was.

45 RE: Zimmer

There are multiple elements of coaching.  Recognizing talent.  Aligning the talent.  Motivating the talent.  Giving the talent a good plan to execute.  Being able to adapt in game so the talent can adjust on the field to the opponent.

 

My two cents is that Zimmer began to slip on the last one.  

 

But as a defensive coach he always gave his teams a punchers chance.  Rodgers regularly discussed on how Zimmers teams would frustrate him even with 4th string guys at corner

53 This is where I tend to…

In reply to by big10freak

This is where I tend to disagree with a lot of people. I think all of the coaching flaws are magnified when the roster is bad. Do you have any faith in Matt LaFleur coaching that vikings team instead vs Rodgers with Zimmer? Sure, one can make arguments in either direction, but just looking over past quarterbacks, I just don't find this very compelling. 

I don't deny Zim had flaws, but those all get masked or magnified by context independent of the coach. I personally looked at that roster and felt like they were overachievers all things considered. When he had good defenders, their defense was really good. When they had to start over with rookies everywhere, it was just run of the mill bad. That's a testament to him imo

21 My picks. MVP: Matt Stafford…

My picks.

MVP: Matt Stafford

OPOY: Cooper Kupp

DPOY: Aaron Donald

Coach of the Year: Sean McVay

Executive of the year: Les Snead

Comeback player of the year: Allen Robinson

Superbowl Winners: Los Angeles Rams

OROY: UDFA WR Lance McCutcheon

DROY: CB Decobie Durant

In all seriousness, I would pick Kupp and Donald as favourites, the Rams as the value pick for SB winner, and Robinson as the value pick for comeback player of the year. Stafford is also a decent value pick for MVP, although probably not the best.

23 The mvp has devolved into…

The mvp has devolved into best quarterback from a top 2 seed. Been that way 8 years in a row and really no reason to bet against that. 
 

Is kc gonna win enough games for that? I’m not sure with their division.  I also question if the Bills secondary can hold up enough to secure a top seed. Since I think SF has the schedule and talent to be a top seed, my pick would be Trey Lance.  

29 Bills hype

Yes, they clobbered the Patriots in their one playoff win.  But I'm still not seeing why they should be Super Bowl favorites.  I guess it's in part because their conference is weaker at the top, and inside the AFC, their division is weaker than at least the West and the North.  So in theory their path to the conference championship game is easier.  

Also baffled at the number for the Chargers.  Aside: PFR is still using "SDG" as the team code for the Chargers.  :)   

32 They were the number 2 team…

In reply to by RickD

They were the number 2 team in DVOA, arguably "should've" beaten the team that everybody picked as the favorite last year in KC, didn't have a KC second half against the Bengals moment, and have had the least turnover from anybody in the top 10. There are less reasons to doubt them than any of the other top teams - KC lost Hill, nobody believes in the Cowboys (understandably...), TB didn't look quite as fearsome by the end of the year + one of these days Brady will fall off.... right? surely? Packers seem to be on a downswing rather than an upswing, Rams / AFC West teams are in tough divisions, 49ers are relying on Lance, etc. Seems like 75% analytics, 25% narrative. But more importantly, who would you pick over them?

37 Agree, it's probably best to…

Agree, it's probably best to think of it in absolute odds. The Bills may have the highest odds of any team, but it's probably like 20% at best(that might be to high). 

Last year was pretty much the definition of "any given sunday" in the postseason so no pick is all that good really. 

49 Aside: PFR is still using …

In reply to by RickD

Aside: PFR is still using "SDG" as the team code for the Chargers.  :)   

I actually laughed out loud at that. And sighed.

Re: the Bills, I agree with the others that they are probably the single most likely team to win it all; I can't think of anyone I'd "objectively" rate higher (only real other contenders were KC, who, you know, did in fact outplay them last year in the game that's given the Bills so much hype; and the Rams, whose stars in their famous stars-and-scrubs roster are all squarely in their prime, though Stafford's elbow is worrying). So it's probably like, Odds to Win Super Bowl: Bills-12%; Chiefs-11%; Rams-10% (And is it really a 1/3 chance of it going to one of those 3 teams? Even that seems too high somehow.)

But I do agree that the hype seems to treat them as established Kings in the East, and, like, we can all see they actually finished below Mac "3 PAs" Jones and the Pats in offensive (and specifically passing) DVOA last year, right? Schatz knows what he's doing, but a projection for them to be top-5 in all 3 phases seems.... aggressive, given their track record to date.

I also challenge that "their division is weaker than . . . the North". By DVOA, the best team in the AFC North last year was actually Cleveland, who were only 14th. The Pats were already better than that, and will likely see improvement from their second-year QB (Cleveland, of course, is highly unlikely to see improvement at QB over last year until Week 13 at the earliest). The Bills have to contend with another team on a somewhat comparable level to them, which would not be true if they were in the AFC North. I don't think it's a given that Miami is worse than any AFCN team, either. Which might be good for the Bills in the playoffs, having had to sharpen their skills against superior competition, but it makes them somewhat less likely to even make the playoffs in the first place.

48 I like the OPOY odds for…

I like the OPOY odds for McCaffrey (+2500), Chase (+3000), and Ekeler (+5000). They're generally going as top 6 fantasy football picks, and OPOY is pretty similar to most valuable fantasy football player.

51 Rookies

My choices for rookies would be:

Pickens / Breece / Skylar Thompson (a very long shot)

Hutchinson / Bonitto / Tariq Woolen

 

56 Lamar MVP +2000 is a great…

Lamar MVP +2000 is a great bet:

- he’s famous enough for it. No shortage of coverage throughout the season. He’s a media lightning rod and people won’t be bored of him winning it again in a very public contract year

- he tends to do spectacular shit that garners attention, not just “boring” good.

- the offensive line should greatly improved this year

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