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Week 9 in the NFL just concluded, marking the 13th mile of this marathon called the 2022 season. The trade deadline is behind us, and division titles are now on the line in these last three months. There have been few preseason predictions that have held strong, with many more unexpected storylines than in seasons past. As the fall shifts to winter, November is set to decide which teams are contenders, and which are pretenders. With that being said it’s time to take a look at the Midseason Awards and decide who would win the league’s most coveted awards if the season had come to an end.
MVP – Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
It’s no secret that the MVP is a quarterback award in the NFL, and although this was a close race Josh Allen edges out both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. In my opinion, the most valuable player is an individual when removed entirely from their team’s roster, that team will experience the biggest fallout. There is no single player in the NFL this season more important to their team than Allen. He has accounted for 21 of his team’s 23 offensive touchdowns so far and has a Pro Football Focus grade of 90.5, which is the highest of any quarterback this season. Allen also proved to himself and others that he is capable of winning the big game in a statement 24-20 victory over Mahomes and the Chiefs in Kansas City earlier this year.
Offensive Player of the Year – Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
Staying in the AFC East for this next award, Tyreek Hill has been everything the Dolphins had hoped for and then some. Hill is currently first in the league in yards per route run, has already totaled 961 receiving yards, and is averaging 13.9 yards per reception. He also ranks first in targets and receptions have him on pace for 2,042 yards, an NFL record. Not only has Hill improved his own game, but he has helped quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finally get into a rhythm and join the rest of the successful first-round quarterbacks from the 2020 draft.
Defensive Player of the Year – Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
2021’s Defensive Rookie of the Year is not slowing down, as Micah Parsons is the favorite for DPOY through the halfway mark. Parsons is second in the league with eight sacks and 39 quarterback pressures. Parsons has also tallied nine tackles for loss, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery that was taken back for a touchdown against Chicago last week. Due to his size and speed, he has the ability to dominate as both an edge rusher and stand-up linebacker, giving this potent Dallas defense a swiss army knife of a defender. Parsons is a special talent, and my clear favorite to win this award after the second half of the season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Texans running back Dameon Pierce and Saints receiver Chris Olave made this award a tough one to hand out, but I am sticking with Walker through Week 9. Walker has totaled 461 yards on just 85 carries this season, good enough for a 5.4 yards per carry average that has helped him find the endzone on five different occasions. Walker has very similar stats to Pierce on over 30 fewer carries, giving him the edge for the award for now. His unique blend of speed and power flash signs of Adrian Peterson during his Minnesota days, and Seattle has found a diamond in the rough who should be able to help a once struggling run game for many seasons to come.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Sauce Gardner, New York Jets
We find ourselves back in the AFC East yet again for this award, and personally, this one is another runaway winner. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has been a complete shutdown cornerback for the Jets this season, and it appears that they have found another Darrelle Revis-like talent. Although he only has one interception, Gardner leads the league with 11 pass breakups and has held his receivers to an average of 4.3 yards per target. Although the Jets run a primarily zone coverage scheme, Sauce’s stats in man coverage have been impeccable as well. He ranks first in the league in yards allowed (26), touchdowns allowed (0), first downs allowed (2), forced incompletions (2), and yards per snap allowed (0.26). Talk about an impressive stat line for a rookie campaign in an offensive-driven league.
Comeback Player of the Year – Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
If you wrote off Geno Smith before the start of the 2022 season, chances are he didn’t write back. This award is generally given out to a player who found renewed success after a season-ending injury, however, Geno Smith’s improbable season makes him the clear favorite to be the recipient of this award. Smith has commandeered the Seahawks to first place in the NFC West as of today and finds himself behind only Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen for most important quarterback statistics. Geno Smith has been something of a revelation this year, making the plays necessary and avoiding having to play hero ball to have Seattle above .500 through nine weeks.