WITH a new NFL season just hours away it’s time to make my annual award and playoff predictions. Nothing too surprising come SuperBowl time, but there may be a few playoff teams that most aren’t expecting to see. Be sure to check out the eight divisional previews for season 2017 as well!!

AFC East Preview
NFC East Preview
AFC North Preview
NFC North Preview
AFC South Preview
NFC South Preview
AFC West Preview
NFC West Preview

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AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Year: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, Denver Broncos

DEFENSIVE player of the year is right up for grabs. I think the top of the food chain (Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack) will be vying for the end of season hardware, but ultimately I’m backing Von Miller to win his first DPOY.

I hate the offensive player of the year award with a passion. Clearly, with most MVP winners coming from the offensive side of the ball they should be the OPOY, but anyway. I’m going a bit left of field and backing Kirk Cousins to throw for over 4,500 yards and lead the league in TD passes. YOU LIKE THAT?!

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns

WITH plenty of opportunity to carry the Jaguars offense, Leonard Fournette is a popular pick by most people to be the best offensive rook. His biggest competition will probably be Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers, but I expect Fournette to reel off more yards in bigger chunks.

EVEN though Garrett is slated to miss the first week at this time, I expect him to claim DROY honours. He may suffer from double teams or offensive lines scheming to stop him with little other pass rushers on the Browns, but he is that good it won’t impact his trophy cabinet.

NFL Awards And Playoff Picks 1Image from callandpost.com

Comeback Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Coach of the Year: Mike Mularkey, Tennessee Titans

THE easy pick for comeback player is J.J. Watt with the elite defender slated to return to dominance after just three games in 2016. Coach of the year could also be heading in multiple directions, but I’m predicting that the Titans will be right up there in the win/loss turnaround and therefore they will help Mularkey get the nod.

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

SPOILER alert, Aaron Rodgers is really good at football. I’ve picked him to claim MVP for the last few years in succession, but 2017 will be when he claims his third award. The Packers are set up for success and should compete for SuperBowl honours once again. While Rodgers won’t stand out with a ton of highlights, pencil him for 200-300 yards and two or three touchdown passes each week as he continues to get it down in his 13th season.

MAJOR STAT LEADERS

Passing Yards Leader: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Receiving Yards Leader: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Rushing Yards Leader: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

PICKING the yardage leaders is a tough gig and let’s be honest almost anyone could claim each bracket. Drew Brees is the annual shoe in to lead the league in passing yards, but this year I’m backing in the Redskins QB to lead the league. Amari Cooper is a sneaky candidate to gather the most receiving yards and I was tempted to pick him. However, the Falcons wideout is too physically imposing to not get the nod. Finally, if Le’Veon Bell is in uniform for all 16 Steelers games he will rush for more yards than anyone with David Johnson breathing down his neck.

Tackles Leader: Kwon Alexander, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Interception Leader: Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings
Sack Leader: Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers

AFTER finishing with 10.5 sacks in his rookie campaign while missing four games Joey Bosa seems a shoe in to get over a dozen sacks in year two. I’m predicting that not only that, but he will add a few more and lead the league. Rhodes had a career season and got paid this offseason and history suggests that means he’s in for a regression this season. Instead, I think he will pick off more passes than anyone in the league. Last year Alexander finished with the 5th most tackles in the NFL with Bobby Wagner of Seahawks finishing atop the league. This year the Tampa Bay linebacker will finish second to no one though.

PLAYOFF PICKS

AFC – Broncos, Steelers, Patriots, Ravens, Raiders, Titans
NFC – Falcons, Buccaneers, Vikings, Giants, Seahawks, Packers

IN no particular order here are my 2017 playoff picks. The usual staples can all be found with Carolina, Kansas City and Dallas the most glaring omissions. Somewhat surprising the AFC North has two squads with Baltimore finding their way to the postseason along with the Steelers. I think the Giants will have the lowest win total of NFC divisional winners and may fall to the likes of Minnesota in week one of the playoffs.

2017 NFL Preview – NFC North 3Image from chatsports.com

AFC Championship: Patriots beat the Titans
NFC Championship: Packers beat the Seahawks

MOST people are expecting the NFC Championship game to look much like this, but the AFC one may be looking a little different. The Tennessee Titans, yes the Titans are my pick to square off with the Patriots in the playoffs and as dominant as New England is, if they have to play the Titans or Steelers before the AFC Championship don’t rule out an upset over the reigning champs. The Seahawks and Packers are the two best teams in the stacked NFC and they deserve the right to duke it out for the other SuperBowl spot.

SuperBowl: Packers beat the Patriots

SINCE we ticked over to the 21st century no MVP has gone on to win the SuperBowl owning a 0-7 record in the biggest game of all. This year I’m predicting that Aaron Rodgers bucks the trend over the all conquering Patriots. Most years the preseason picks turn out to be miles off reality. I think that in season 2017 the best squads will be the ones fighting it out to win it all with Green Bay crowned as the champs.

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