Season Predictions

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
Analyst MVP OPOY DPOY OROY DROY Comeback Coach
Judy Battista Patrick Mahomes Tom Brady Myles Garrett Justin Fields Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Brian Flores
Jeremy Bergman Patrick Mahomes Alvin Kamara Myles Garrett Kyle Pitts Joe Tryon-Shoyinka Nick Bosa Kyle Shanahan
Ali Bhanpuri Russell Wilson Dak Prescott Derwin James Justin Fields Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Bruce Arians
Tom Blair Aaron Donald Patrick Mahomes Myles Garrett Justin Fields Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Sean McDermott
Gil Brandt Patrick Mahomes Josh Allen Myles Garrett Najee Harris Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Brandon Staley
David Carr Matthew Stafford Darren Waller Aaron Donald Zach Wilson Trevon Moehrig Carson Wentz Robert Saleh
Brooke Cersosimo Matthew Stafford Christian McCaffrey Chase Young Trevor Lawrence Patrick Surtain Christian McCaffrey Brandon Staley
Jeffri Chadiha Tom Brady Davante Adams T.J. Watt Kyle Pitts Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Brandon Staley
Gennaro Filice Josh Allen Christian McCaffrey Myles Garrett Justin Fields Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Sean McDermott
Cynthia Frelund Josh Allen Aaron Rodgers Aaron Donald Justin Fields Patrick Surtain Christian McCaffrey Sean McDermott
Chase Goodbread Patrick Mahomes Aaron Rodgers Jalen Ramsey Trevor Lawrence Micah Parsons Saquon Barkley Andy Reid
Marcas Grant Patrick Mahomes Christian McCaffrey Myles Garrett Najee Harris Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Kevin Stefanski
DeAngelo Hall Tom Brady Josh Allen T.J. Watt Kyle Pitts Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Bruce Arians
Dan Hanzus Patrick Mahomes Kyler Murray Myles Garrett Zach Wilson Micah Parsons Christian McCaffrey Robert Saleh
Maurice Jones-Drew Patrick Mahomes Christian McCaffrey Aaron Donald Zach Wilson Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Brandon Staley
Shaun O'Hara Patrick Mahomes Josh Allen T.J. Watt Mac Jones Micah Parsons Saquon Barkley Sean Payton
Dan Parr Patrick Mahomes Christian McCaffrey Myles Garrett Najee Harris Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Sean Payton
Kevin Patra Josh Allen Nick Chubb T.J. Watt Trey Lance Micah Parsons Derwin James Kyle Shanahan
Scott Pioli Patrick Mahomes Patrick Mahomes Myles Garrett Justin Fields Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Kevin Stefanski
Adam Rank Patrick Mahomes Nick Chubb Aaron Donald Zach Wilson Micah Parsons Christian McCaffrey Kyle Shanahan
Chad Reuter Patrick Mahomes Patrick Mahomes Aaron Donald Najee Harris Micah Parsons Christian McCaffrey Sean McDermott
Gregg Rosenthal Patrick Mahomes No entry Chris Jones Trey Lance Micah Parsons Nick Bosa Kyle Shanahan
Marc Ross Patrick Mahomes Josh Allen T.J. Watt Justin Fields Jamin Davis Odell Beckham Jr. Kevin Stefanski
Adam Schein Josh Allen Aaron Rodgers Aaron Donald Mac Jones Micah Parsons Derwin James Sean Payton
Marc Sessler Patrick Mahomes Justin Herbert Derwin James Trey Lance Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Kyle Shanahan
Nick Shook Patrick Mahomes Derrick Henry Myles Garrett Trevor Lawrence Patrick Surtain Dak Prescott Kevin Stefanski
Matt Smith Josh Allen Nick Chubb Derwin James Zack Wilson Micah Parsons Sam Darnold Brandon Staley
Joe Thomas Aaron Rodgers Nick Chubb T.J. Watt Mac Jones Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Kevin Stefanski
Lance Zierlein Josh Allen Dalvin Cook Chase Young Trevor Lawrence Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Kevin Stefanski

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