Well, we did it. We are officially midway through the 2021 NFL season. This season has been particularly difficult to navigate given the erratic nature of all of these teams on a week-to-week basis. The Titans and the Bills have lost to the Jets and the Jaguars but are considered to be two of the best teams in the NFL. The Ravens lost half their roster before the season started and are still a top-five team in the league. There are thousands of storylines to navigate that have their narratives change every week it seems like, but I am here to give you a snapshot into where the end-of-season awards stand at the midpoint of the season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Ja’Marr Chase – Bengals

Not much to say about this award – Chase has somehow exceeded the lofty expectations bestowed upon him after capturing the title as college football’s best receiver at 19 years old. Chase is on a crash course to finish the season with over 80 receptions, 1500 yards and 13 touchdowns and is one of the main reasons why the Bengals and their transformed offense are in the playoff conversation midway through the season.

It will take a major collapse in the second half of the year for anyone to take this award away from Chase. 

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Micah Parsons – Cowboys

What’s the most crazy thing about this selection to me is that Parsons was thrust into an entirely new role then what he was seemingly drafted to be for the Cowboys, and is still the front-runner to win this award. Going from an off-ball linebacker to an edge defender due to the freak injury to DeMarcus Lawrence early in the season has paid dividends for what was considered to be one of the least talented defenses in the NFL heading into the year.

Parsons has five sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits so far this year. He is a few monster performances away from locking up this award before the season ends with little-to-no realistic challengers thus far.

Comeback Player of the Year

Dak Prescott – Cowboys

I feel like we all knew this was Dak’s award to lose coming into the season – but his performance has been even better than anticipated. On pace for almost 5,000 yards and 40+ touchdowns for a team that is in the conversation for the one seed in the NFC has Prescott in the MVP conversation, let alone comeback player of the year.

For him to look the best he has in his career coming off what could’ve been a career-ending ankle fracture is other-worldly. You can almost hand him the award right now and not think twice about it.

Coach of the Year

Mike Vrabel – Titans

I mean, if you told me at the beginning of the year that this Titans team would have a stranglehold on the AFC South and legitimately vying for a one seed with wins over the Chiefs, Bills, Rams and Colts in succession, I would tell you that you’re crazy. Everyone knew this offense was going to be hard to contain, but the story of the Titans season so far has been their… defense? Exactly. After last season the Titans had one of the worst statistical defenses of all time, and they got even worse on paper. The team as a whole has embraced Vrabel’s smash-mouth style of football and he has them playing significantly higher than their talent would suggest.

If they can keep this energy up for the entire year, the Titans will be the team to beat in the AFC, and that is a direct result of the outstanding coaching job that Vrabel has done to this point.

Offensive Player of the Year

Cooper Kupp – Rams

Cooper Kupp has been a monster all year for the Rams and should easily be in the driver’s seat for this award if he can maintain even 75% of the pace he is on. His current trajectory would place him at third all-time in single season receptions, second all-time in single season receiving yards and third all-time in single season receiving touchdowns. Sure, the extra game gives him a little more wiggle room to move up the leaderboards, but even without the extra game he still comes in easily top six in all of those categories. Kupp has been the go-to target for Matthew Stafford in this Rams offense that is the most efficient in the league through the first half of the year.

Even in last week’s “down” performance against the Titans, Kupp still managed to haul in 11 catches for 95 yards. Kupp has been virtually unstoppable all year and barring a seismic fall-off, he should win this award. 

Defensive Player of the Year

Myles Garrett – Browns

Garrett has always been great, but this year he has taken his game to another level. The former number one overall pick for the Browns leads the league in sacks (12.0), tackles for loss (12), and quarterback hits (23) midway through the year. Garrett has recorded at least one sack in seven out of nine games played this year despite being given the most attention of anyone on that Browns defense on a week-to-week basis.

All it takes is five minutes of watching film on him to realize just how much of an unstoppable force he is out there. On pace for 24 sacks this year, and he honestly should get there. He has lived up to the freaky expectations set for him this year and has put himself in prime position to win this award.

Most Valuable Player

Lamar Jackson – Ravens

Nobody has proven themselves to be more valuable to their team this year than Lamar Jackson and it really hasn’t been close. Given the unfathomable amount of injuries the Ravens have suffered and to still be 6-2 with wins over some of the league’s top teams is a testament to the immense talent of Lamar Jackson. Jackson has a league-leading four fourth-quarter comebacks with three of those coming from being down 10 or more points in the fourth quarter.

Jackson is on pace for more than 5,500 passing and rushing yards this year which is simply unheard of and is the main reason that this injury-riddled Ravens team is being carried to the division lead, playoffs and vying for a top-two seed in the AFC.