The NFL has passed the halfway point of the 2019-20 season. Thanks to a plethora of spectacular games, interesting storylines, and individual excellence, this year has been as eventful as any in recent memory. There is plenty of football left to play, but the contenders for the annual NFL awards have already separated themselves from the pack, and many are the rightful favourites to receive individual recognition in February.
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Russell Wilson (Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks)
With incredible play on a weekly basis and exceptional statistics, Russell Wilson has edged out Lamar Jackson through Week 10 as the favourite for the MVP award. Wilson currently leads the league with an exceptional 23:2 touchdown to interception ratio and sits fourth with 2,737 passing yards, along with an efficient 68.5 completion percentage. Wilson has led the Seahawks to an 8–2 record, with a recent victory over the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers. If Wilson replicates the first half of the year, he will certainly be going to another Pro Bowl, and possibly win his first MVP award, and second Lombardi Trophy.
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan (Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers)
Many could claim this award come season’s end, as several coaches have led their teams to impressive records while overcoming sub-par rosters, injuries, and low expectations. Although the 49ers had a solid roster coming into the season, very few expected a perfect 8–0 start or that the 49ers would be sitting atop the league through 10 weeks. The 49ers have relied on their defence, placing second in points and yards allowed per game, while still boasting a steady offence. The 39-year-old Shanahan has truly impressed in his third season as head coach and looks to lead his young team into January with home-field advantage and a chance to bring a Super Bowl championship back to San Francisco.
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffery (Running Back, Carolina Panthers)
The Carolina Panthers lost starting quarterback Cam Newton earlier in the season to a foot injury, and, despite solid play from back-up Kyle Allen, the Panthers would be nowhere near a playoff spot without Christian McCaffery. The Stanford University product currently leads the NFL in rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns, and total scrimmage yards. The future looks bright for Carolina regardless of this season’s outcome, as McCaffery, only in his third year and already setting records, looks to lead this offence each week for years to come.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chandler Jones (Outside Linebacker, Arizona Cardinals)
With no clear favourite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award, Chandler Jones may be in the running, despite playing for an Arizona team that has been dreadful over the last few years. Jones sits atop the league with five forced fumbles and 11.5 sacks, along with three fumble recoveries and 27 combined tackles. The former first-team All-Pro and Super Bowl champion outside linebacker has continued to succeed despite playing on a poor defence and certainly deserves recognition for his outstanding effort.
Comeback Player of the Year : Cooper Kupp (Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Rams)
After tearing his ACL last season and missing the team’s successful NFC championship season, Cooper Kupp has returned this season putting up career numbers. Although the Rams have struggled offensively compared to last season, Kupp sits sixth in the league in receiving yards, seventh in receptions, and leads his team in touchdown catches. If the Rams want to return to the playoffs this year, Kupp must continue to produce. With the pace he has set, he is, deservingly, the favourite for Comeback Player of the Year.