With Week 9 in the books, the NFL is officially onto the second half of the 2022 regular season. As playoff races heat up, so will award races.
Many of the expected favorites for certain awards have lived up to the hype so far, while other dark horses have climbed the ranks. There’s a long way to go, but who would win some of the NFL’s top honors if the season ended right now?
Mike Florio and Chris Simms made their selections on Wednesday’s edition of “PFT Live.” They came to a consensus on many of the biggest awards, but they had one key difference.
Here’s a look at Florio and Simms’ picks for their midseason NFL awards:
MVP: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Though Jalen Hurts has soared with the 8-0 Philadelphia Eagles, Florio and Simms believe the top two MVP candidates faced off in Kansas City last month. They gave the edge to Josh Allen over Patrick Mahomes, and Florio hypothesized what it would be like if the QBs switched teams.
New England Patriots
Florio: “If you flip those two guys, I would feel like the Chiefs are the clear favorite to go to the Super Bowl and win it.”
Simms: “He’s one of the greatest one-man shows I’ve ever seen … I’ll go with Josh Allen, but Mahomes [is] nipping at his heels.”
Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
One year after winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Micah Parsons is in line for more hardware this season. The Dallas Cowboys’ do-it-all linebacker has posted eye-popping stats, and the eye test is even better.
Florio: “The stats just enhance the presence. … He can do anything. He does everything.”
Simms: “I think he’s the best defensive player in football now. I don’t mean to say that in disrespect to Aaron Donald, but the guy’s everywhere in every facet of the game.”
Coach of the Year: Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings and Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Florio and Simms had their lone difference when it came to NFL Coach of the Year. Neither chose the leading contender, Nick Sirianni of the Eagles, instead opting for head coaches who are leading the charge of teams exceeding expectations. Florio went with Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota, while Simms opted for Pete Carroll in Seattle.
Florio: “I’m feeling it with O’Connell because of the dramatic transformation of the organization that he has presided over. They are winning close games, where in the past they’d lose close games, how the players are being propped up with optimism and hope instead of being beaten down with fear, pessimism and negativity.”
Simms: “They’re one of the most exciting teams to watch, they’re in the thick of things and they’re real. That’s why he’s Pete Carroll.”
Comeback Player of the Year: Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Florio and Simms were back in lockstep when it came to proclaiming Carroll’s quarterback as the Comeback Player of the Year. Geno Smith is having the best season of his NFL career and living up to the potential he brought into the league when he was drafted in 2013.
Florio: “I’m still saying Geno Smith because to me it’s this circuitous route of being a backup, being overlooked and being downtrodden. He’s coming back to the potential we believed he had coming into the NFL.”
Simms: “[The Seahawks] are not playing through their defense. He’s winning games. He’s a baller. And yes he hasn’t played in forever. I’m with Geno here all the way.”
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Simms went to the Seattle well for the third straight award. Both he and Florio chose Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III as their Offensive Rookie of the Year so far, though Florio thinks it would have been a two-man race if not for another running back suffering a season-ending injury.
Florio: “How can it not be Ken Walker III? Breece Hall and Ken Walker III would have been the two top candidates, but once you get injured, the other guy comes in and fills the void. So it’s Ken Walker III right now. That’s a no-brainer for me.”
Simms: “I think this guy is already in the conversation of best running back in football. There’s not many people on earth who can do what he can do. We’re watching [a] special, special, special running back here.”
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner, New York Jets
Lastly, the PFT guys chose Sauce Gardner as their Defensive Rookie of the Year through nine games. The No. 4 overall draft pick by the New York Jets has already asserted himself as one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks.
Florio: “I’ll go Sauce Gardner, but keep an eye on Kerby Joseph.”
Simms: “It’s a lot like Patrick Surtain II last year. He’s jumped on the scene and it’s OK, yeah, Defensive Rookie of the Year (contender) and already one of the best corners in football, no doubt.”