Predicting chances of Detroit Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson, Dan Campbell to win NFL awards

Detroit Free Press

The last week of the regular season means the last edition of power rankings, and one final prediction from me on who wins the NFL’s major awards.

The Detroit Lions have legitimate candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year, and if they beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and make the playoffs, that might be the push Aidan Hutchinson and Dan Campbell need to bring home the hardware.

Campbell was asked about Hutchinson’s chances of winning Rookie of the Year on Monday. He said he didn’t have a good handle on how Hutchinson has played relative to other rookies, but said the No. 2 pick of April’s draft has been everything the Lions envisioned and more.

“I know as far as us picking him, and for what we wanted him for, he’s everything we wanted,” Campbell said. “I mean, this guy’s a football player … who’s high motor and he’s versatile as hell. So I don’t know what that is. If you’re asking me to cast a vote, yeah, I would cast a vote, but I don’t know all the ins and outs of everybody else, but for our value, absolutely.”

JEFF SEIDEL:Detroit Lions’ Dan Campbell is bursting with excitement, teaching his team a crucial lesson

Hutchinson ranks second among NFL rookies with 7½ sacks (behind teammate James Houston, who has eight), and two rookies — DaRon Bland of the Dallas Cowboys (five) and Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks (six) — have more than Hutchinson’s three interceptions.

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner is the slight favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year and has been excellent. He leads the NFL with 20 passes defensed, has two interceptions and is allowing completions on just 53.1% of the passes thrown his way. The Lions did not throw a single pass at Gardner in man coverage when they played the Jets in December.

I’d guess Gardner wins the award, but Hutchinson could leapfrog the Detroit native with a strong performance in the final game of the regular season Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

Here are my predictions for the other major awards:

MVP: Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes leads the league with 5,048 passing yards and 40 touchdowns, and has kept the Chiefs at the top of the NFL despite having an almost entirely new cast of receivers. There’s a case to be made for Jalen Hurts (and how the Eagles have struggled since his injury), and Josh Allen and Joe Burrow are in the conversation for best quarterback. But Mahomes has the Chiefs in position to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC in a year many predicted a drop.

Defensive Player of the Year: Nick Bosa

Bosa has surpassed Micah Parsons as the betting favorite. He leads the NFL with 17½ sacks — Parsons has 13 — and he’s the face of the San Francisco 49ers’ NFL-best defense. I’d take Parsons if I was starting a team from scratch, but the 49ers have won nine straight while starting three different quarterbacks this season, and Bosa is a big reason. This is a two-man race and both candidates are worthy.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Garrett Wilson

I was tempted to go with 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy here, but Purdy has started just four games. He has been better than anyone could have imagined in those starts, and I can’t see the 49ers going back to Jimmy Garoppolo once Garoppolo gets healthy. But that’s probably not a big enough body of work to win the award. Wilson has been the best rookie receiver with 74 catches for 1,014 yards, and has thrived despite significant problems at quarterback. Former Michigan State standout Kenneth Walker III could surpass Wilson if he runs the Seattle Seahawks into the playoffs with a big game Sunday vs. the LA Rams.

Coach of the Year: Brian Daboll

There’s about a half-dozen worthy candidates for this award, including Campbell, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Sirianni, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Doug Pederson and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid. Campbell deserves a ton of credit for not only shaping the Lions into playoff contenders, but also holding the team together after a 1-6 start. If the Lions make the postseason, that should be enough to tilt the award in his favor. If they just miss out, voters will go another direction. Daboll has worked wonders in New York with a quarterback in Daniel Jones many thought was a bust, and a roster, especially offensively, no one would rank near the top of the league.

This week’s power rankings

1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)

2. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

4. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

5. San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

6. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)

7. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)

8. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

9. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

10. Detroit Lions (8-8)

11. New York Giants (9-6-1)

12. Green Bay Packers (8-8)

13. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

15. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

16. New England Patriots (8-8)

17. Miami Dolphins (8-8)

18. Tennessee Titans (7-9)

19. New York Jets (7-9)

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

21. Cleveland Browns (7-9)

22. Washington Commanders (7-8-1)

23. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)

24. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

25. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)

26. Carolina Panthers (6-10)

27. New Orleans Saints (7-9)

28. Denver Broncos (4-12)

29. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)

30. Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

31. Chicago Bears (3-13)

32. Houston Texans (2-13-1)

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

Articles You May Like

Detroit Lions’ Jameson Williams needs to grow up fast and apologize to Jared Goff
Player survey suggests NFL has done a horrible job teaching gambling policy
‘Carlos & Shawn’: Detroit Lions’ Jameson Williams and the benefit of the doubt
Head Coach Dan Campbell speaks to the media on June 1
Lions OTA observations: Is an underdog getting leg up in kicking competition?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *