Super Bowl and yearly awards predictions are all the craze the week of NFL kickoff, and RoD has decided to throw its hat into the ring.
Our writers cast their minds to the end of the 2021 season to bring you their picks for who will take home a championship, league MVP, Rookie of the Year, and much more.
Let’s get into it.
Super Bowl LVI Champions
Brendan Taffe (@BCTAFFE) – The Bucs are the best team in the league. Offense, defense, coaching, depth, leadership, athleticism, it’s all there. With that being said, it’s incredibly difficult to win back-to-back Super Bowls. There have only been eight back to back Super Bowl champions, and none since 2003-2004. I also think the Chiefs could be in trouble if they lose either Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill on offense, or Tyrann Mathieu or Juan Thornhill on defense. So, my pick for this year’s SB Champ is none other than the Buffalo Bills.
Duncan Smith (@duncafc) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers to repeat. Every starter from 2020 has returned to the team, their divisional rivals are all in a state of flux meaning there’s a straightforward path to home-field advantage in the playoffs, and with the GOAT under center, it would be foolish to expect anything other than a repeat trip to the Super Bowl.
Ryan Bickerstaff (@thedevydirtbag) – There isn’t a roster in the NFL that can compete with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aside from a relatively weaker Green Bay Packers team and a relative dark horse in the Los Angeles Rams, there is little real competition in the NFC. In the AFC, it will be close between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but in the end, no matter who advances to the Big Game for the AFC, the Buccs’ better roster will prevail.
NFL Most Valuable Player
Brendan – It is a fact that a quarterback’s biggest leap is from year one to year two. And if Justin Herbert takes a huge leap from what he did last year, he could absolutely be in contention for the MVP. Add in the fact that voting for this award typically considers narrative, if Herbert takes this team to the playoffs after finishing 7-9 last year, then he’ll have a great chance.
Duncan – It has been 9 years since a non-quarterback has won the award. I’m going to extend that to 10 and give the award to Patrick Mahomes, for the third time in 5 years. The Chiefs fell at the final hurdle last year. With an improved offensive line in place, Mahomes will look to go one better in 2021. Just ignore I’ve said Tampa will win the Super Bowl, ok? Good.
Ryan – The Arizona Cardinals will never be a Super Bowl contender while Kliff Kingsbury is the head coach, however, Kyler Murray is talented enough (and in position) to throw for 4000+ yards, run for 1000+, combine for 45+ touchdowns, and lead the Cards to the playoffs. When voters are bored with the idea of voting for Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers, this will be enough for Murray to bring home the hardware.
Offensive Player of the Year
Brendan – A tight end has never won the Offensive Player of the Year award… until this year. I am choosing the guy who finished 5th in voting for this award last year, Travis Kelce. Last year, he finished 5th in receptions, 2nd in receiving yards, and 5th in touchdowns. With a much improved line and defenses being forced to focus on an actual running game, Kelce has a chance to lead the league in all three categories. If he does, this award is his to lose.
Duncan – Unlike the MVP award, players other than quarterbacks regularly win this one. So, let’s stick with that trend and go with a player who has perhaps rather surprisingly never won. Christian McCaffrey. He’s back, he’s fit, he is his team’s offense. If he is able to recapture his pre-injury form in 2021, he should easily finish the season as RB1 and the Offensive Player of the Year.
Ryan – Sometimes the boring pick is the right one. Christian McCaffrey is arguably the most versatile player in the league. He’s back after missing almost the entirety of the 2020 season with an injury and I expect a healthy and rested CMC to run (and catch) roughshod all over the NFL in 2021 en route to his second 1000/1000 season. When this happens, the voters won’t have a choice than to finally give this award to him.
Defensive Player of the Year
Brendan – Just about all the other awards require the winner to make a significant improvement on what they did last year. But Aaron Donald is in a league of his own as far as defensive players go. The amount of pressure and attention he gets from the inside is something the league has never seen before. If he simply does what he has been doing since he was a 23-year-old rookie, it would be unjust to give it to anyone else.
Duncan – Chase Young. The WFT defense is going to be one of the best in the league. Young and Montez Sweat will act as a destructive 1-2 punch with Young getting the headlines, and, therefore, the award by the end of the year.
Ryan – With Aaron Donald taking this award home in three of the last four years, voters may decide to cast their ballots elsewhere. That said, it’s TJ Watt’s turn to be recognized as the elite defensive player he is. While his AFC North counterpart Myles Garrett might be a more trendy pick in 2021, Watt came in second in DPoY voting in 2020 and, playing for a new contract this year, will be out to prove a point.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Brendan – I do not envision a running back or wide receiver doing enough to win over a quarterback that starts from week 1. And this year, 3 quarterbacks are starting week 1. Of those 3, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are in far worse situations than Mac Jones. Much like MVP, narrative heavily factors into voting here. If Jones takes the Pats back to the playoffs, and neither Lawrence nor Wilson eclipse 7 wins, then Jones is the guy, even if Lawrence has slightly better overall stats.
Duncan – Javonte Williams. I see him quickly taking over as top dog in Denver then going on to utterly dominate from there.
Ryan – This is easy. Zach Wilson is the best rookie QB in this year’s class and is in the perfect situation to take home ORoY on a team that will be forced to throw a lot. He will be the starter from week one and has the talent to make throws that few other QBs in the league can make. With his ability to create highlight worthy plays and potential to compile big numbers, my money is on the BYU product to win this award walking away.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Brendan – The Cowboys had the 5th worst defense in the NFL last year. If they even have a manageable defense, I think Micah Parsons is going to be a big reason for their improvement. He is an incredible athlete who is going to fly around from sideline to sideline and be able to get into the backfield in a hurry.
Duncan – I’m going to sidestep the heavily touted Micah Parsons here and give the award to Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye. With some key losses at the position this offseason, Paye has an instant opportunity to be a three-down player. With volume comes opportunity, and I believe Paye has the talent to take full advantage of that opportunity.
Ryan – I wanted to do the mental gymnastics necessary to justify picking Patrick Surtain II here, but corners typically don’t pop like that as rookies, especially ones who will see Tyreek Hill twice this year. With that, my money is on Zaven Collins of the Arizona Cardinals. The first-round linebacker is a freaky athlete who will be a playmaker all over the field for a vastly improved defense. Don’t let the small school billing fool you; this kid is legit.
Fantasy Most Valuable Player
Brendan – I’m doubling up on Travis Kelce awards. If you have the opportunity to put arguably the best wide receiver in the game in your tight end spot, it’s such a game changer.
Duncan – Fantasy value comes as a balance of game-winning points scored versus ADP when drafting. For me, that balance is with CeeDee Lamb. I believe Lamb will be a WR1 this year. For a player you can get in the third round after taking two elite backs or a back and a top tight end, that’s all the value I need.
Ryan – Travis Kelce will be the player on the most championship rosters this season. The cheat code he provides as a WR1+ from the tight end spot is an unfair advantage in fantasy. It’s necessary for a player to be a league winner in order for fantasy MVP consideration; Kelce is exactly that. I’m not leaving the first round of redraft leagues without him.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year
Brendan – Going with DeVonta Smith here. Volume is king in fantasy football, and I think Smith gets more volume than any other rookie other than Najee Harris. The reason why I’m not going with Najee is because of value – he is going way earlier in drafts than DeVonta.
Duncan – Kyle Pitts. Why not? Let’s swing for the fences here. Pitts is going to be a mold-breaking player and I think he’s going to do that straight out of the gates. He goes into a year one starting role in a high octane passing offense that has just lost their star receiver and suffers from a chronic case of abysmal defense. Do you hear that noise? That’s the train leaving the station. ALL ABOARD!!
Ryan – Basic as this may seem, Najee Harris is the clear choice here. Bad offensive line be damned, it’s not like teams are going to sell out on the run with the receiving weapons the Steelers are trotting out, not to mention Harris’ own plus-ability as a receiver. A 1500+ yard season with double-digit touchdowns is not outside the realm of possibility.
Do you agree or disagree with us?
Thanks for reading!