Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

The Associated Press has revealed the finalists for the regular-season awards for the NFL’s 2023 campaign. In all, there are eight awards the AP voted on that are up for grabs at the upcoming NFL Honors, highlighted by Most Valuable Player. That prestigious award has a total of five finalists, headlined by the presumptive favorite to win it in Lamar Jackson. 

The winners will be announced on Feb. 8 right before Super Bowl LVIII that upcoming Sunday. The show will air live on CBS and NFL Network as well as stream on Paramount+. 

Here’s a look at the finalists for each award: 

Most Valuable Player

Jackson is the presumptive favorite to win this award, which would be the second time in his career that he’s been named MVP.  He helped lead the Ravens to the No. 1 seed in the AFC and did so while taking down several Super Bowl contenders over the final month of the year. On top of passing for a career-high 3,678 yards and registering a 67.2 completion percentage, Jackson continued to gash defenses with his legs, rushing for 821 yards and five touchdowns. While he may be the favorite, it will be interesting to see who places second behind him.  

Defensive Player of the Year

Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett is the current betting favorite to win this award, but there is stout competition. That said, the Cleveland star did lead a unit that was arguably the best in the NFL in 2023. He also finished the year with 42 tackles, 30 quarterback hits and 14 sacks. Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt is arguably his biggest competition after he led the league with 19 sacks. 

Offensive Player of the Year

With the MVP award effectively serving as a “top quarterback” accolade, Offensive Player of the Year is typically reserved for skill-position players. With McCaffrey mentioned as an MVP finalist, it would stand to reason that he will be the winner here. The Niners back led the NFL with 2,023 yards from scrimmage and 21 total touchdowns, which helped San Francisco secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Tyreek Hill is probably his biggest competition and seemed to have the inside track on the award when he was on pace to exceed 2,000 receiving yards at points this season. However, with him falling under that total — but still leading the league with 1,799 receiving yards — this award is likely McCaffrey’s to lose.  

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Again, there is quarterback bias in these awards, so C.J. Stroud is likely the slam-dunk favorite to win out of these finalists, and for good reason. The Texans rookie put together a sensational first year in the league where he notched the most passing yards in the game by a rookie (470) and tied the record for most passing touchdowns in a game (five) as well. On top of that, Stroud led the Texans to an AFC South title and helped them win a playoff game. While Stroud is more than worthy of this award, Nacua is a close second, especially after the Rams wideout broke the single-season rookie record for receptions (105) and receiving yards (1,486).  

Defensive Rookie of the Year

While it was a disappointing year for the Eagles as a whole, Jalen Carter was a bright spot. The rookie defensive lineman is the betting favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year after he totaled 33 tackles and six sacks this season, largely from the interior. Will Anderson Jr. is also in contention for this award after he helped the Texans reach the playoffs and totaled seven sacks to go along with 45 tackles in 15 games played. 

Comeback Player of the Year

CPOY is a tricky award as it can be parsed in different ways. Is it awarding a player coming back from injury? Or is it rewarding a player who bounced back after a down year or two? Largely, it’s become more about the former. Throughout the season, Damar Hamlin has been the favorite to win this award after the Bills safety was able to return to the field after suffering cardiac arrest at the end of last season. While Hamlin is a worthy — and likely — winner, Joe Flacco coming off the street to help lead the Browns to the playoffs also has him making a late push for this award as well. 

Coach of the Year

Dan Campbell, Detroit LionsJohn Harbaugh, Baltimore RavensDeMeco Ryans, Houston TexansKyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ersKevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns

You can’t really go wrong with any of these coaches as they put together tremendous seasons. Stefanski is currently a big betting favorite, largely because he was able to bring the Browns to the playoffs despite having to start five different quarterbacks throughout the year. Dan Campbell and DeMeco Ryans also are in consideration after leading their respective teams to division titles. 

Assistant Coach of the Year

Ben Johnson, Detroit LionsMike Macdonald, Baltimore RavensTodd Monken, Baltimore RavensJim Schwartz, Cleveland BrownsBobby Slowik, Houston Texans

This award will be very interesting to watch unfold. Mike Macdonald might get the nod here after the Ravens defense was the top unit in the NFL in a number of categories, which helped them secure the No. 1 seed. That said, the work both Ben Johnson and Bobby Slowik did with the Lions and Texans offenses this season was superb, and it’s not surprising to see them as two of the top head-coaching candidates this cycle. 

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