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NFL awards predictions: Patrick Mahomes, Nick Bosa come away with top honors

The finalists for this season’s NFL awards have been announced. There’s not too many surprises. Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to come away with the league MVP.

A fellow participant in NFL Championship Sunday, Nick Bosa should be honored as the NFL’s best defensive player. Meanwhile, two New York Jets players are finalists for the top rookie honors.

With the winners set to be announced Feb. 9 at 9:00 PM ET during the league’s honors show on NBC, let’s check in on our NFL awards predictions for the 2022 season.

Related: Top-100 NFL players of 2023

NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

nfl awards: nfl mvp
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

There’s other top-end candidates for this honor, including two other quarterbacks playing Championship Sunday in that of Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts. We just don’t see any way that Mahomes doesn’t come away with his second career NFL MVP award.

Mahomes led the NFL in passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41). He helped the Chiefs to a 14-3 regular-season record and the highest-scoring offense in the NFL at 29.2 points per game. He did so after Kansas City traded away another NFL awards finalist in Tyreek Hill last offseason. This is a no-brainer.

  • Other finalists: Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Justin Jefferson, Josh Allen

NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers

nfl awards: nick bosa, nfl defensive player of the year
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

For a while during the regular season, it seemed as if Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons would come away with this award. Then, the second half of the season happened with Bosa taking full control. A former NFL awards winner himself, Bosa recorded 31 QB hits, 12 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks over the final 10 regular season games. That very same span saw Parsons tally just 13 QB hits, five tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

When all was said and done, Bosa led NFL defenders in QB hits, total pressures and sacks en route to an absolutely dominating performance for the league-best 49ers defense. This vote shouldn’t be too close, either.

  • Other finalists: Micah Parsons, Chris Jones

NFL Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

nfl awards, nfl offensive player of the year: justin jefferson
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the past three NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards have gone to wide receivers. New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas won it in 2019 with Cooper Kupp coming away with the award a season ago. There’s absolutely no reason to believe Jefferson won’t win it when NFL awards are announced a few days before the Super Bowl.

  • Justin Jefferson stats (2022): 128 receptions, 1,809 yards, 8 TD, 69.6% catch rate, 5 drops

Throughout the regular season, Jefferson put up north of 100 receiving yards a total of 10 times. That included two games with over 180 yards. Others on the list of finalists are deserving, but what Jefferson did for Minnesota in 2022 was special.

  • Other finalists: Tyreek Hill, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

nfl awards, nfl offensive rookie of the year: garrett wilson
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

We can’t fault the disastrous Jets’ quarterback situation for Wilson’s struggles to conclude the season. He hauled in just 16-of-37 targets over the final three games. New York scored a grand total of 15 points during that span with the likes of Zach Wilson, Mike White, Joe Flacco and Chris Streveler (who?) seeing action under center.

As for Wilson’s entire body of work, the Ohio State product put up three 100-yard games as a rookie. He’s also topped the 90-yard plateau a total of six times. It has Wilson as the winner of one of our top NFL awards for the 2022 season.

  • Other finalists: Brock Purdy, Kenneth Walker

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner, New York Jets

nfl awards, nfl defensive rookie of the year: sauce gardner
Danielle Parhizkaran / USA TODAY NETWORK

A clean New York Jets sweep for NFL awards celebrating rookies. Sauce Gardner led the NFL with 20 passes defended during his rookie year. He made game-changing plays against the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen throughout his rookie season. Opposing quarterbacks boasted a 53.1% completion and 61.2 QB rating when targeting the first-year player. Wide receivers averaged 5.1 yards per target when blanketed by Gardner.

Do we really have to say anthing more? Gardner is not only going to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, he’s already a Pro Bowler and well on his way to becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

  • Other finalists: Aidan Hutchinson, Tariq Woolen

Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

NFL Combeback Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

An argument can be made for both Geno Smith and Saquon Barkley to come away with this award. Unfortunately, their struggles in 2021 had less to do with injuries and more to do with on-field performance. Barkley suited up for 13 games in Jersey, struggling to find his footing after an injury-plagued 2020 campaign. Smith was seen as nothing more than a career backup before taking over for Russell Wilson in 2022.

As for Christian McCaffrey, he played in a combined 10 games over the past two seasons before returning to form in 2022. All the former All-Pro did was register 1,880 total yards and 13 touchdowns in stints with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers. In 11 games with San Francisco after being dealt from Carolina, he put up 1,210 total yards and 10 scores.

  • Other finalists: Geno Smith, Saquon Barkley

NFL Coach of the Year: Brian Daboll, New York Giants

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
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Prior to Daboll’s arrival in Jersey, the Giants had not earned a playoff spot since 2016. Over the course of their previous five seasons, the team posted a combined 22-59 record. All he did was lead New York to a 9-7-1 record and a surprise appearance in the NFL Playoffs while helping turn Daniel Jones into a starter-caliber quarterback.

Some will look at recency bias and say that New York’s 38-7 loss to Philadelphia in the NFC Divisional Playoffs proves Daboll shouldn’t win. Perhaps, coaches still alive in the postseason should be honored with one of the top NFL awards. That’s crazy talk. This should go to Daboll without any real drama.

  • Other candidates: Sean McDermott, Doug Pederson, Kyle Shanahan, Nick Sirianni