NFL Awards Watch: Patrick Mahomes Re-Takes MVP Lead; Rookie Races Wide Open

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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.


As the MVP race heats up, the top offensive rookie award is wide open again due to an unfortunate injury in Week 7.  Let’s get to it:


Patrick Mahomes mvp awards
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. (Getty Images)


QB PATRICK MAHOMES, Kansas City Chiefs 

Mahomes threw an interception early in the first quarter Sunday, then proceeded to tear the 49ers apart. Mahomes led touchdown drives on six of the next seven possessions. The former MVP is battling Josh Allen for the league’s top award, and Mahomes continues to raise his level of play on a weekly basis. Allen had a week off. Mahomes crushed the Niners and now they have their bye week.

Two More To Consider:

  • QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. The betting favorite to win MVP returns to the national stage this Sunday night as the Packers visit Buffalo. 
  • QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. Coming off his bye, Hurts returns Sunday to face the Steelers, then has two matchups against the Texans (Thursday night) and the Commanders. He should put on a show throughout this three-week stretch.


WR JUSTIN JEFFERSON, Minnesota Vikings

The league’s top receiver in 2022 (as of today) is a debate between these three guys: Jefferson, Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs. There is no wrong answer as we enter November. Jefferson, like Diggs and Hill, simply isn’t coverable throughout the first seven weeks of the season. Jefferson currently has 654 yards receiving through the Vikings’ first six games, and he’s on pace for 1,853 yards. That would place him fourth all-time in NFL history for most receiving yards in a single season.  

Two More To Consider:

  • WR Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins. Hill produces for the Dolphins no matter who is throwing him the football this season. He has 57 catches for 773 yards. That’s more than 100 yards better than any other receiver in the NFL entering Week 8. Now Tua is back in the lineup to run the offense. Hill is going to torch the Lions this week as Miami heads to Michigan.  
  • WR Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills. Diggs is tied for the NFL lead among wide receivers with six touchdowns. Only tight end Travis Kelce (7) has more. Diggs is averaging more than 13 yards per reception and can be counted on for 100 yards receiving every game day. He moves the chains with big gains, as 31 of his 49 catches have resulted in a first down. 


WR CHRIS OLAVE, New Orleans Saints

Olave returned from concussion protocol to haul in seven receptions for 106 yards, leading the Saints in both categories. He’s in an offense with quarterback issues and injury concerns, but Olave has been the top option in the New Orleans offense in recent weeks. He’s the best rookie wideout in what has been a strong group of receivers drafted in 2022. Olave now has five consecutive games with 50 or more receiving yards.

Two More To Consider:

RB Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Yes, he’s only been the starter for two weeks, but the Michigan State standout is setting the tone for the Seahawks offense. He’s carried the ball 44 times for 265 yards and three touchdowns in those two starts. Seattle’s offense is explosive, and Walker is an added element who is producing at a high level.

RB Breece Hall, New York Jets
The Beast from Iowa State was on pace to win this award, but he suffered a season-ending ACL tear and meniscus injury against the Broncos last Sunday. The injury is a gut-punch to the Jets, and it’s unfortunate we won’t get to see Hall continue his amazing rookie season. Hall currently ranks seventh in the NFL with 681 yards from scrimmage. The Jets averaged 5.6 yards per rush with him on the field, but just 3.6 with him on the sideline.



I was chatting with Eddie George and Keith Bulluck this week in Nashville and Parsons came up during our conversation. Not only is he the best defensive player in the league, both George and Bulluck agreed he’s among the short list of best overall players in the NFL. His weekly production — like the way he tracked down tight end Brock Wright to save a touchdown last Sunday — will soon have him in the MVP discussion alongside the top QBs in the league.

Two More To Consider:

  • DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
  • DE Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns



He’s been incredible so far this season and continued his great play in Denver. Gardner recorded 3 pass breakups for the second week in a row. Since Week 4 Gardner has faced 13 targets while in single coverage. He’s allowed only one catch for four yards.

Two More To Consider:

  • CB Tariq Woolen, Seattle Seahawks. Rewind a few months and Woolen was a 5th-round pick with tremendous upside. Now he’s a legitimate star in the secondary for the Seahawks. The former UTSA Roadrunner has four interceptions on the year and has been great in coverage.
  • CB Jack Jones, New England Patriots. Jones is extremely consistent and once again makes this week’s column due to his strong play on the outside. He did not allow a catch in Week 7 and also helped in run support. 

Written by Jonathan Hutton

Jonathan Hutton is the host of OutKick 360 which breaks down all the latest sports headlines every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Hutton joined OutKick in January of 2021 after nine years as co-host of Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone, the second highest rated local sports show in the United States.

He is well recognized in the Tennessee sports community and spent 16 years on the Tennessee Titans Radio Network, serving as the Gameday Host, sideline reporter, among other roles.

Hutton also does television play-by-play for the TSSAA state football and basketball championships on the NFHS Network as well as a freelance sports anchor for WTVF-TV NewsChannel in Nashville.

Hutton is a Tennessee native.

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