NFL awards: Midseason predicitons


Derick Hingle | Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.

By Waleed Alamieh, Sports Columnist

The 2021 National Football League’s season has already hit its midway point, with many players putting up ridiculous numbers. Now is a good time to release some predictions for the NFL awards. 


The ageless wonder somehow just keeps getting better with time. At 44 years old, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady proves that age really is just a number with his incredible play so far this season. 

Brady is first in the league with 25 passing touchdowns and second in passing yards with 2,650 yards. Thanks to the NFL’s extended 18-week season, Brady has a shot of breaking Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning’s single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns. 

The Buccaneers are leading the NFC South with a 6-2 record and holding the third seed in the NFC with a fairly easy schedule to end the season. Brady is set up to become the oldest MVP in league history if he can help lead the Buccaneers to the #1 seed.


Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been putting up one of the best stat lines for a receiver in recent history. Kupp and the Rams’ offense have taken a huge jump this season since the acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford. With Stafford as his quarterback, Kupp leads the league in receiving with 1,019 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Kupp has already passed his total receiving yards from last season in just nine games played. The Rams currently rank first in receiving yards with 2,776 yards, meaning Kupp is producing about 37% of the Rams’ total. With the Rams holding a 7-2 record and having one of the best offenses in the league, Kupp will continue to show why he will win OPOY. 

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) celebrates after a sack during an NFL football game, Monday, November 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo | Matt Durisko)


Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt has had a dominant start to his NFL career, much like his brother J.J., a three-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Arizona Cardinals. But to truly be compared to one of the best edge rushers of this generation, T.J. has to start stacking up the hardware like his brother. 

After missing the first three games of the 2021 season, Watt has come out on a tear with 11.5 sacks, the second-most in the league. Watt also has 34 tackles on the year to go along with three forced fumbles. Watt and the defense have fueled the Steelers to a 5-3 record and second place in the AFC North. With nine weeks left to go in the season, Watt has a really good opportunity of breaking the single-season sack record of 22.5 sacks, set back in 2001 by Michael Strahan. 


Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Maar Chase has proven that you can’t overreact to anything you see in the preseason.

The LSU product didn’t play in 2020 and had high expectations when drafted fifth overall in the 2021 NFL draft. When he had four drops over the span of two preseason games, many started to question the high draft pick. Since the start of the regular season, Chase has taken over the league. 

Chase erupted in his career debut against the Minnesota Vikings, going for 101 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown reception. Chase has only gotten better, scoring a touchdown in six of the nine games the Bengals have played. His best game came against the Baltimore Ravens, in which Chase went for eight receptions, 201 yards and a touchdown to help the Bengals defeat their division rivals. Chase ranks third in the NFL in both receiving yards with 835 and touchdowns with seven, proving that he will soon be one of the best wide receivers in the game. 


Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons is already making a case for being one of the best defensive players in the NFL. The 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft has performed like a seasoned veteran, adjusting very well to the NFL’s game speed.

Parsons currently has 52 tackles on the year, 10 for a loss. Not only is Parsons already a solid tackler, but he’s also proving to be a dominant edge rusher as well. Parsons’ pass-rushing skills might be the biggest surprise for the Cowboys. Parsons has 5.0 sacks on the year, tied for first in the team. Parsons is establishing himself as one of the best young linebackers in the game and will soon have the trophy to back it up. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: Kliff Kingsbury 

In his third season coaching the Arizona Cardinals, we’re starting to see why Kliff Kingsbury and his “air-raid” offense were so coveted after being fired from Texas Tech in 2019.

With the development of quarterback Kyler Murray, Kingsbury’s offense has gotten better each season. In 2019, the Cardinals ranked 21st in the NFL, averaging 341.7 yards per game. In 2020, they jumped all the way up to 6th in the league at 384.6 yards per game. The offense is still trending up. Through nine games this season, the Cardinals are averaging 398.4 yards per game, ranking fifth-best in the league.

Arizona currently holds the best record in the league at 8-1, with wins over playoff caliber teams like the Titans and Rams. If the Cardinals can stay the #1 seed, Kingsbury should be able to lock up his first-ever Coach of the Year award.