NFL Awards Watch: How The Races Are Shaping Up With 10 Weeks In The Books

Welcome to NFL Awards Watch, my weekly column that will take a look at the five major awards handed out in the NFL: MVP; Offensive and Defensive Player Of The Year; and Offensive and Defensive Rookie Of The Year.

JONATHAN HUTTON NFL AWARDS WATCH ARCHIVE

There’s another contender for MVP as the backstretch of the season begins, plus Offensive Player of the Year is also becoming quite the interesting battle. Let’s get to it:

NFL Awards Watch: Week 10

Left to right: Micah Parsons, Kenneth Walker III, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Jefferson. (Getty Images)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

QB PATRICK MAHOMES, Kansas City Chiefs 

Mahomes remains the best player in the league, but like many seasons prior to Thanksgiving, the MVP race is wide open. Right now, Mahomes is the clear winner. 

Three More To Consider:

  • QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins. Tua belongs in the MVP conversation as we enter Week 11. Miami is 7-1 in games he’s started, 7-0 in games he’s finished. He’s returned from concussion protocol to account for 10 touchdowns in four games. That’s led to the Dolphins currently sitting atop the AFC East, on their way to the team’s first playoff appearance since 2016. No one is mocking him for his high completion percentage now. Instead, check and see who leads the league in passer rating. It’s Tua. 
  • QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles suffered their first loss — something Armando Salguero told us to be on the lookout for in last week’s visit to OutKick 360. But I’m still a believer in Hurts. And yes, it has a lot to do with the fact Hurts has a solid offensive line protecting him as he delivers the ball to AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. It’s also because he’s scored 20 touchdowns to just four turnovers in nine games.
  • QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. Allen has six interceptions and a fumble over the last three games, and four of those six interceptions have come inside the red zone. That matters when you consider the Bills have lost three games this season by just one score, and in those games Allen and the Bills’ offense offense had a chance to either win or tie the game. Yes, he drove them down the field to tie the Vikings in regulation and force overtime. He then threw the interception to help the Vikings move to 8-1. (Also: I’m not worried about the Bills).

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

WR TYREEK HILL, Miami Dolphins

He’s been just as important for the Dolphins as any player on the roster, and that includes Tua. Hill continued to produce even when his quarterback missed games. That’s because the threat of #10 is the key that’s unlocked everything for the Dolphins offense. His speed sets up all of the motions, misdirections and routes that stem from Mike McDaniel’s play sheet. The only player Hill isn’t running away from is Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson. Hill now leads Jefferson by just 88 receiving yards. 

Two More To Consider:

  • WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings. Jefferson stated his goal this season was to be known as the best wide receiver in football by the end of the year. On Sunday in Buffalo, he was. His 4th and 18 grab at the two minute warning is one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen. He hauled in 10 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown, with the majority of those catches made in tight coverage. 
  • QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks. Smith is having the best season of his 10-year career. His lack of production early in his career is being used to prop up a Comeback Player of the Year narrative. That’s fine, but it’s a participation trophy for a guy who should first be talked about in this category. The Seahawks sit in first place in the NFC West as they hit their bye in Week 11, in large part due to Geno Smith.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

RB KENNETH WALKER III, Seattle Seahawks

The Bucs shut him down in Germany, but he still found ways to contribute for the Seahawks in the passing game. The rookie hauled in six catches for 55 yards out of the backfield.

Two More To Consider:

  • WR Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints. Olave leads all rookies in receptions and receiving yards. He’s the bright spot for an inconsistent Saints offense.
  • RB Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

OLB MICAH PARSONS, Dallas Cowboys

Parsons has eight sacks, 43 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this season. He’s the clear favorite here, but now it’s more than just sack numbers for the top defender in football. The Dallas defense is getting shredded in the run game.

Two More To Consider:

  • DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers.
  • OLB Matthew Judon, New England Patriots.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

CB SAUCE GARDNER, New York Jets

Gardner comes off the bye with a matchup against the Patriots in Foxboro. 

Two More To Consider:

  • CB Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks. We saw another interception for Woolen in Week 10, his fifth of the season. Granted, Fournette threw the terrible pass to a 45-year-old Tom Brady. 
  • DE Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions.

Jonathan Hutton is the host of OutKick 360 and will write weekly about NFL awards. Follow Hutton on Twitter.

Written by Jonathan Hutton

Jonathan Hutton hosts OutKick 360 each weekday afternoon. He spent 16 seasons as the gameday host and sideline reporter for the Tennessee Titans Radio Network and covered the biggest NFL events. Follow @HuttonOutKick on Twitter/Instagram.

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