The Check-down Check-up (2021): Season Predictions

Playoff Standings

AFC

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (BYE)
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. Cleveland Browns
  4. Tennessee Titans
  5. Baltimore Ravens
  6. Miami Dolphins
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC Representative: Kansas City Chiefs

NFC

  1. Green Bay Packers (BYE)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  3. Los Angeles Rams
  4. Washington Football Team
  5. Seattle Seahawks
  6. San Francisco 49ers
  7. Chicago Bears

NFC Representative: Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl Winner: Green Bay Packers

Season Awards

MVP: Aaron Rodgers

Much like college football’s Heisman Award, the NFL MVP is increasingly becoming the “Best Quarterback” award, which this year I think goes to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. We know that Rodgers plays best when angry, and with all he’s been through this offseason, he should be poised to break records for the passing game.

Offensive Player of the Year: Alvin Kamara

Alvin Kamara is going to see his fair share of carries and targets as a safety valve for Jameis Winston as he gets used to the new system in New Orleans. This award probably comes down to Kamara and a couple other skill players, maybe a quarterback like Tom Brady or Dak Prescott, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kamara rack up over 2,000 all-purpose yards and take home the hardware.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Fields

I think this award probably comes down to Fields and the No. 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. I’m giving Fields the edge here, even if he doesn’t start week one, just because his team is so much more prepared for success. The Bears have a dynamic, fun group of pass-catchers and a solid option at running back with David Montgomery, and now they’ve equipped themselves with a smart, explosive playmaker at quarterback. Once Chicago locks up that last NFC playoff spot, I think this one’s a lock.

Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett was well on his way to a Defensive Player of the Year award last season, before COVID-19 struck and took him out for multiple weeks. This year, a vaccinated Garrett could very well go on a tear. Before the virus hit him, he was taking the ball out of the quarterback’s hands on nearly every sack, consistently turning games in Cleveland’s favor. This year, I think Garrett finishes the job.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Surtain II

I know this is normally an edge rusher’s award, but Patrick Surtain II is such a special talent at corner that I couldn’t possibly resist putting him here. Surtain is in such a loaded defensive unit that teams will be forced to throw in his direction, and fans saw during his time at Alabama just how often he made quarterbacks pay for doing just that. Micah Parsons in Dallas is the betting favorite for this award, and if I were a betting man I would take Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at such a nice price, but I just have a feeling about the young Broncos cornerback.

Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott was on pace for a 6,000 yard season before he got injured last season, and now the NFL is giving him an extra game to work with? This one’s a shoe-in. I could see maybe Joe Burrow or Saquon Barkley here but Prescott is such a prolific passer that it shouldn’t be close.

Coach of the Year: Ron Rivera

If Washington takes the step forward that I’m expecting them to, Ron Rivera will be getting flowers at his doorstep from fans in D.C., and rightfully so. As the WFT makes a run in the playoffs, the NFL world will see that Rivera has coached this team to the best defense in the league, and their set of offensive skill players is equally impressive.

Executive of the Year: Andrew Berry

If all goes according to plan, the Cleveland Browns should be in the AFC Championship Game come mid-January, and all the credit goes to general manager Andrew Berry for building one of the most stacked rosters in football. In just two years, Berry has taken a floundering, directionless Browns squad, and turned them into a fast, explosive, and above all, smart football team. Berry’s work won’t go unnoticed as he picks up the 2021 season’s Executive of the Year award.

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