Season Predictions

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2021 NFL season award predictions: Who'll win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year?

NOTE: All betting lines -- listed alongside each player's name -- are courtesy of Caesars Sports Book and are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Rank
1
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB · +500

(16 votes: Battista, Bergman, Brandt, Goodbread, Grant, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, O'Hara, Parr, Pioli, Rank, Reuter, Rosenthal, Ross, Sessler, Shook)


2. Josh Allen ( +1200) | 6 votes: Filice, Frelund, Patra, Schein, Smith, Zierlein

T-3. Tom Brady (+1200) | 2 votes: Chadiha, Hall

T-3. Matthew Stafford (+2000) | 2 votes: Carr, Cersosimo

T-5. Aaron Donald (+12500) | 1 vote: Blair

T-5. Aaron Rodgers (+1000) | 1 vote: Thomas

T-5. Russell Wilson (+1800) | 1 vote: Bhanpuri


Why David Carr chose Matthew Stafford: I've raved all offseason about the Rams-Stafford marriage. The veteran passer is a perfect fit for Sean McVay's system, and we'll see the evidence all over the stat sheet. The longtime Lion will excel on play-action, tight-window throws, deep passes and under pressure. Stafford's numbers have been great -- elite, at times -- throughout his career. But now, playing on a contender, he'll finally get the credit he deserves.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Christian McCaffrey
Carolina Panthers · RB

(5 votes: Cersosimo, Filice, Grant, Jones-Drew, Parr)


T-2. Josh Allen | 4 votes: Brandt, Hall, O'Hara, Ross

T-2. Nick Chubb | 4 votes: Patra, Rank, Smith, Thomas

T-4. Patrick Mahomes | 3 votes: Blair, Pioli, Reuter

T-4. Aaron Rodgers | 3 votes: Frelund, Goodbread, Schein

T-6. Davante Adams | 1 vote: Chadiha

T-6. Tom Brady | 1 vote: Battista

T-6. Dalvin Cook | 1 vote: Zierlein

T-6. Derrick Henry | 1 vote: Shook

T-6. Justin Herbert | 1 vote: Sessler

T-6. Alvin Kamara | 1 vote: Bergman

T-6. Kyler Murray | 1 vote: Hanzus

T-6. Dak Prescott | 1 vote: Bhanpuri

T-6. Darren Waller | 1 vote: Carr


Why Maurice Jones-Drew chose Christian McCaffrey: The last time CMC played a full season in 2019, he eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He may not account for 52.5 percent of offensive touches like he did in that season, but I still expect the dynamic running back to be prominently featured in Joe Brady's offense. Another 1,000/1,000 campaign could be in play.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns · Edge · +650

(10 votes: Battista, Bergman, Blair, Brandt, Filice, Grant, Hanzus, Parr, Pioli, Shook)


T-2. Aaron Donald (+400) | 6 votes: Carr, Frelund, Jones-Drew, Rank, Reuter, Schein

T-2. T.J. Watt (+650) | 6 votes: Chadiha, Hall, O'Hara, Patra, Ross, Thomas

4. Derwin James (+2800) | 3 votes: Bhanpuri, Sessler, Smith

5. Chase Young (+1600) | 2 votes: Cersosimo, Zierlein

T-6. Chris Jones (+5000) | 1 vote: Rosenthal

T-6. Jalen Ramsey (+3000) | 1 vote: Goodbread


Why Gil Brandt chose Myles Garrett: Garrett has long been on the precipice of breaking out. COVID-19 kept him from contending for DPOY in 2020, when he logged a blistering nine sacks in his first seven games -- and I really feel like this is the year for him to claim the hardware that would cement his place among the NFL's premier defenders. Cleveland has assembled a strong defense that should make it even more difficult for opponents to focus on stopping Garrett, meaning he should have plenty of opportunities to pile up stats. The former No. 1 overall pick is incredibly talented and hardworking, and now he's finally surrounded by a supporting cast that is primed to help him shine.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · QB · +700

(7 votes: Battista, Bhanpuri, Blair, Filice, Frelund, Pioli, Ross)


2. Zach Wilson (+700) | 5 votes: Carr, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Rank, Smith

T-3. Najee Harris (+1000) | 4 votes: Brandt, Grant, Parr, Reuter

T-3. Trevor Lawrence (+350) | 4 votes: Cersosimo, Goodbread, Shook, Zierlein

T-5. Mac Jones (+450) | 3 votes: O'Hara, Schein, Thomas

T-5. Trey Lance (+700) | 3 votes: Patra, Rosenthal, Sessler

T-5. Kyle Pitts (+1100) | 3 votes: Bergman, Chadiha, Hall


Why Judy Battista chose Justin Fields: He may not be the Bears' starter out of the gate, but it won't be long until the rookie passer supplants Andy Dalton. Fields' dynamic playmaking and improvisational skills, and the Bears' better overall team, should give him the edge over Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. 

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Micah Parsons
Dallas Cowboys · LB · +600

(15 votes: Battista, Blair, Goodbread, Hanzus, O'Hara, Parr, Patra, Rank, Reuter, Rosenthal, Schein, Sessler, Smith, Thomas, Zierlein)


2. Patrick Surtain (+800) | 11 votes: Bhanpuri, Brandt, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Filice, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Jones-Drew, Pioli, Shook

T-3. Jamin Davis (+900) | 1 vote: Ross

T-3. Trevon Moehrig (+3000) | 1 vote: Carr

T-3. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (+2000) | 1 vote: Bergman


Why Gregg Rosenthal chose Micah Parsons: This was the easiest prediction of the entire exercise. Middle linebackers are great candidates for this award because they are so easy for voters to notice. And even the dumbest football mind could see Parsons' preseason work and realize that he's faster and more explosive than anyone else on the field.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · QB · +220

(15 votes: Battista, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Chadiha, Filice, Grant, Hall, Jones-Drew, Parr, Pioli, Sessler, Shook, Thomas, Zierlein)


2. Christian McCaffrey (+750) | 5 votes: Cersosimo, Frelund, Hanzus, Rank, Reuter

T-3. Saquon Barkley (+750) | 2 votes: Goodbread, O'Hara

T-3. Nick Bosa (+1200) | 2 votes: Bergman, Rosenthal

T-3. Derwin James (+1800) | 2 votes: Patra, Schein

T-6. Odell Beckham Jr. (+2500) | 1 vote: Ross

T-6. Sam Darnold (+2000) | 1 vote: Smith

T-6. Carson Wentz (+1000) | 1 vote: Carr


Why Marc Ross chose Odell Beckham Jr.: Although Dak is a more obvious choice, I'm getting personal and rooting for one of our former Giants draft picks. With an already-loaded offense in Cleveland, the return of a healthy OBJ will boost Baker Mayfield and the Browns attack to top-five status. Simultaneously, Beckham will re-establish himself as a unique talent and playmaker with a campaign surpassing even his historical first three seasons.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
This is a 2021 photo of Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns NFL football team. This image reflects the Cleveland Browns active roster as of Wednesday, April 14, 2021 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)
Kevin Stefanski
Cleveland Browns · +1300

(6 votes: Grant, Pioli, Ross, Shook, Thomas, Zierlein)

T-2. Kyle Shanahan (+1500) | 5 votes: Bergman, Patra, Rank, Rosenthal, Sessler
T-2. Brandon Staley (+1500) | 5 votes: Brandt, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Jones-Drew, Smith
4. Sean McDermott (+1800) | 4 votes: Blair, Filice, Frelund, Reuter
5. Sean Payton (+2000) | 3 votes: O'Hara, Parr, Schein** T-6. Bruce Arians (+2000) | 2 votes: Bhanpuri, Hall
T-6. Robert Saleh (+2000) | 2 votes: Carr, Hanzus
T-8. Brian Flores (+1500) | 1 vote: Battista
T-8. Andy Reid (+1800) | 1 vote: Goodbread

Why Nick Shook chose Kevin Stefanski: Stefanski won the award last season by turning the Browns from pretenders into contenders, and he repeats in 2021 by achieving what was previously considered impossible. Stefanski leads Cleveland to its first division title since 1989, then pulls off a postseason upset of the Chiefs en route to a place no Browns coach has gone before: the Super Bowl.

EACH ANALYST'S BALLOT

Table inside Article
AnalystMVPOPOYDPOYOROYDROYComebackCoach
Judy BattistaPatrick MahomesTom BradyMyles GarrettJustin FieldsMicah ParsonsDak PrescottBrian Flores
Jeremy BergmanPatrick MahomesAlvin KamaraMyles GarrettKyle PittsJoe Tryon-ShoyinkaNick BosaKyle Shanahan
Ali BhanpuriRussell WilsonDak PrescottDerwin JamesJustin FieldsPatrick SurtainDak PrescottBruce Arians
Tom BlairAaron DonaldPatrick MahomesMyles GarrettJustin FieldsMicah ParsonsDak PrescottSean McDermott
Gil BrandtPatrick MahomesJosh AllenMyles GarrettNajee HarrisPatrick SurtainDak PrescottBrandon Staley
David CarrMatthew StaffordDarren WallerAaron DonaldZach WilsonTrevon MoehrigCarson WentzRobert Saleh
Brooke CersosimoMatthew StaffordChristian McCaffreyChase YoungTrevor LawrencePatrick SurtainChristian McCaffreyBrandon Staley
Jeffri ChadihaTom BradyDavante AdamsT.J. WattKyle PittsPatrick SurtainDak PrescottBrandon Staley
Gennaro FiliceJosh AllenChristian McCaffreyMyles GarrettJustin FieldsPatrick SurtainDak PrescottSean McDermott
Cynthia FrelundJosh AllenAaron RodgersAaron DonaldJustin FieldsPatrick SurtainChristian McCaffreySean McDermott
Chase GoodbreadPatrick MahomesAaron RodgersJalen RamseyTrevor LawrenceMicah ParsonsSaquon BarkleyAndy Reid
Marcas GrantPatrick MahomesChristian McCaffreyMyles GarrettNajee HarrisPatrick SurtainDak PrescottKevin Stefanski
DeAngelo HallTom BradyJosh AllenT.J. WattKyle PittsPatrick SurtainDak PrescottBruce Arians
Dan HanzusPatrick MahomesKyler MurrayMyles GarrettZach WilsonMicah ParsonsChristian McCaffreyRobert Saleh
Maurice Jones-DrewPatrick MahomesChristian McCaffreyAaron DonaldZach WilsonPatrick SurtainDak PrescottBrandon Staley
Shaun O'HaraPatrick MahomesJosh AllenT.J. WattMac JonesMicah ParsonsSaquon BarkleySean Payton
Dan ParrPatrick MahomesChristian McCaffreyMyles GarrettNajee HarrisMicah ParsonsDak PrescottSean Payton
Kevin PatraJosh AllenNick ChubbT.J. WattTrey LanceMicah ParsonsDerwin JamesKyle Shanahan
Scott PioliPatrick MahomesPatrick MahomesMyles GarrettJustin FieldsPatrick SurtainDak PrescottKevin Stefanski
Adam RankPatrick MahomesNick ChubbAaron DonaldZach WilsonMicah ParsonsChristian McCaffreyKyle Shanahan
Chad ReuterPatrick MahomesPatrick MahomesAaron DonaldNajee HarrisMicah ParsonsChristian McCaffreySean McDermott
Gregg RosenthalPatrick MahomesNo entryChris JonesTrey LanceMicah ParsonsNick BosaKyle Shanahan
Marc RossPatrick MahomesJosh AllenT.J. WattJustin FieldsJamin DavisOdell Beckham Jr.Kevin Stefanski
Adam ScheinJosh AllenAaron RodgersAaron DonaldMac JonesMicah ParsonsDerwin JamesSean Payton
Marc SesslerPatrick MahomesJustin HerbertDerwin JamesTrey LanceMicah ParsonsDak PrescottKyle Shanahan
Nick ShookPatrick MahomesDerrick HenryMyles GarrettTrevor LawrencePatrick SurtainDak PrescottKevin Stefanski
Matt SmithJosh AllenNick ChubbDerwin JamesZack WilsonMicah ParsonsSam DarnoldBrandon Staley
Joe ThomasAaron RodgersNick ChubbT.J. WattMac JonesMicah ParsonsDak PrescottKevin Stefanski
Lance ZierleinJosh AllenDalvin CookChase YoungTrevor LawrenceMicah ParsonsDak PrescottKevin Stefanski

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