May. 13, 2019
Offensive Player of the Year Candidates
With six games left in the season, the playoff race is heating up and this is a great time to find out which players are MVP candidates. Some names appear more often than the others, while some are young names looking to win some hardware in their early careers. On offense, these players made their own case as to why they should win Offensive Player of the Year.
The most obvious choice for OPOY here, Tom Brady has once again proven he can lead a team without his top pass catcher. Through 10 games he leads the NFL in passing yards (3146), QBR (110.9), completions (380) and is second in touchdown passes (22). The “Next Man Up” philosophy once again proves to be a success, as Julian Edelman is recovering from a torn ACL, leaving new addition Brandin Cooks the top choice in Brady’s receiving arsenal. Should Tom Brady win the Offensive Player of the Year Award once again, leading his team to a sixth Lombardi Trophy should cement him as the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Carson Wentz is only in his sophomore season and is already looking like an elite quarterback. The leader in TD passes (25) also leads the 2nd ranked rushing offense (144.6 YPG) with a backfield primarily consisting of LeGarrette Blount and newly acquired Jay Ajayi. Wentz is also sixth in rushing yards by quarterbacks although yet to score a TD with his feet. The North Dakota State product has led his team to a NFL best 9-1, and can be considered a Super Bowl contender. If Carson Wentz does not win the award this year, optimism would expect him to win a couple in his career should he repeat having seasons like this one.
Alex Smith has been a consistent quarterback since 2013 since he arrived from San Francisco, and this year is no different. Second in completion percentage (69.4%) as well as QBR (107.6), Smith has offensive threats at the skill positions that he can run a play-action pass to Kareem Hunt, or a catch and run to Tyreek Hill. Admittedly, each season he has had a game or two where it is not the greatest of games; this season’s bad game has just passed in a 12-9 loss to the New York Giants, a team that he has thrown an interception against in 4 of 5 contests, the one exception being a playoff loss in 2011. Should Alex Smith and the Chiefs improve from their previous loss and make the playoffs, he should finish the year an OPOY candidate.
After the Steelers’ 30-9 loss to Jacksonville, critics were writing off Pittsburgh’s season and preparing for life after Ben Roethlisberger after he threw five interceptions; Antonio Brown had his second most receiving yards in a game this season with 157. The league leader in receiving yards per game (102.6) and second most targeted receiver this year (114) has been Big Ben’s most reliable target since 2013, as he has caught 106 or more catches and at least 8 touchdowns and this season he is on pace to outperform his stats from last year. A Pro Bowler and First Team All Pro since 2013, this year should be no different.