Josh Widman takes a look at this year’s NFL Awards and makes his top 5 selections as we look forward to the new NFL season kicking off on Thursday.
The 2020 NFL season is less than a week away from kicking off. This time of the year is infused with picks and analysts trying to foresee what will happen over the course of the season. People also place futures bets on things like team win totals and Super Bowl winners. Those interested can place bets on who they think will win awards as well. Even the favorites for awards have worthwhile odds. If you’re looking to place awards futures bets, here are five you should strongly consider placing. All odds are according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Russell Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular the past two seasons and continues to improve as his career progresses. He was in the thick of the race for this award the past two seasons but lost out to two breathtaking campaigns by Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Wilson is the only QB that has thrown for 30 or more TDs in each of the past three seasons. The two previously mentioned QBs figure to be in contention for this award again. However, no one has won back-to-back MVPs since Peyton Manning in 2008 and 2009.
In addition, a reigning Super Bowl champion hasn’t won the award since Aaron Rodgers in 2011. Wilson truly fits the billing for this award because Seattle would be much worse off without him in the lineup. Fortunately for the Seahawks, he has not missed a single game over his eight-year career.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to play in a prolific offense. He fits perfectly into that offense and is now the clear, number one running back after Damien Williams opted out of the season. Last season at LSU, Edwards-Helaire rushed for over 1400 yards and 16 TDs while averaging close to seven yards per carry. He can also thrive in the passing game and with Patrick Mahomes as your QB, that is a mandatory skill for a running back in Kansas City.
Edwards-Helaire caught 55 passes a season ago. Two of the previous three winners of this award, Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara, were running backs with similar skill sets to Edwards-Helaire. Both of those two winners are running backs that also thrive in the passing game. Barkley won it over Baker Mayfield, a QB who broke the rookie record for passing TDs. Kamara was in a very similar spot to the one Edwards-Helaire will be in this season. He played with one of the best QBs in the league in a high-powered offense. Kamara was able to put up award-winning numbers even with Mark Ingram in the backfield with him. Edwards-Helaire has no veteran threatening his touches.
Myles Garrett is one of the most talented defensive players in the league. He must be contained if the offense wants to have success that day. Garrett has an incredible ability to get to the quarterback. Even if he doesn’t get all the way to the QB, he can still disrupt the opposing offense. Of players with 16 or more games played, Garrett has the third-highest sack per game rate of all-time with .82 sacks per game.
Last season, the former number one overall pick was on pace to be in the running for the award but missed the final six games after hitting Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet. Through 10 games in 2019, Myles Garrett totaled 10 sacks, 29 combined tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. Garrett’s impact on the game goes beyond the stats. Even if he doesn’t have as eye-popping of numbers as some other contenders, he’ll be in the running for the award. He and the rest of the Browns defense will benefit from what looks to be an improved Browns offense.
The two-time Super Bowl champion only finished one game in 2019. During his time on the field, the Steelers offense simply wasn’t good. In contrast, Roethlisberger’s last full season in 2018 was a career year. He set career bests in yards (5,129) and TD passes (34). He did have Antonio Brown lining up on the outside that season and now he doesn’t.
Still, if Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges could have the success they had throwing to JuJu Smith-Schuester, James Washington and Diontae Johnson, then Roethlisberger can certainly rebound. RB James Conner is also capable of catching passes out of the backfield. Roethlisberger is a quality bet because he barely played last season, has decent weapons around him and plays on a team with a defense that should put him in favorable positions often.
Mike McCarthy enters his first season coaching the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to taking a season off in 2019, he coached the Green Bay Packers from 20016-2018 and won a Super Bowl in 2011. McCarthy has won nearly 62% of his regular season games as head coach. Dallas has a ton of talent and will play the third-easiest schedule in 2020 based on opponent’s 2019 winning percentage. Last season, Dallas ranked first in total offense and tenth in total defense. Each of the previous seven winners of this award coached a team that won 11 games or more.
With the aforementioned talent and schedule, 11 wins is very feasible for Dallas in 2020. The Cowboys have one of the best RBs in the game in Ezekiel Elliott as well as a talented and improving quarterback trying to earn a staggering pay day in Dak Prescott. Two of the previous three winners of this award, Sean McVay and Matt Nagy, won it in their first years as coach of their respective team.
The NFL kicks off on Thursday September 10 with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Houston Texans.