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NFL Honors Watch: Who is MVP, Coach of the Year?

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It's a little crazy to track an NFL awards race after only a quarter of the season. Yes, we're going to do it anyway.

Here are leading candidates for the biggest awards to be given out at NFL Honors in Arizona in late January.

MVP


1. J.J. Watt
2. Philip Rivers
3. Peyton Manning
4. Andrew Luck
5. Le'Veon Bell

The bias against defensive players when considering MVP needs to stop. It's not the most valuable quarterback or most valuable offensive player award. Watt is dominating like few defensive players since Lawrence Taylor won the MVP in 1986. He could have a real shot at the award if no quarterbacks truly stand apart from the pack. Rivers is a strong No. 2 on this list. He limits mistakes just as well as Manning but has pulled off more impressive game-changing plays.

Defensive Player of the Year


1. J.J. Watt
2. Kyle Williams
3. DeAndre Levy

This category isn't close. There really isn't an obvious No. 2, but Williams and Levy are the two players that have most consistently jumped off the screen this season. Williams will miss Buffalo's Week 5 game in Detroit.

Offensive Rookie of the Year


1. Kelvin Benjamin
2. Brandin Cooks
3. John Brown

This was the year of the receiver in the NFL Draft, and the regular season has followed suit. Benjamin is our runaway pick for this award after September, and there's no reason to think he'll slow down. Quarterbacks like Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater figure to get in the mix eventually, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell barges into the mix. Brown has only played three games, but he's made key plays to win two of them.

Defensive Rookie of the Year


1. Khalil Mack
2. Kyle Fuller
3. Anthony Barr
4. C.J. Mosley

It's a muddled field at this stage, although it looks stronger overall than the offensive options. Marc Sessler did a great job breaking down the top options in his weekly rookie report, and my picks are similar. Fuller will be tested by plenty of great receivers in his division.

Coach of the Year


1. Bruce Arians
2. Mike McCoy
3. Jim Caldwell

The Cardinals have hemorrhaged defensive talent since 2014 started; they are playing without their starting quarterback; and they are still winning. Arians won NFL Coach of the Year in 2012 with the Colts, could have won it last year in Arizona and is easily the leading candidate after a month. McCoy has quietly done a great job in San Diego despite a lot of injuries, and Caldwell has steadied the ship in Detroit.

Comeback Player of the Year


1. Rolando McClain
2. It doesn't matter

The Cowboys linebacker is the single most surprising story in the NFL this year. The competent Cowboys defense is close behind. McClain, once retired and disinterested in pro football, looks better now than he ever did after being taken with the No. 8 overall pick in Oakland.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 5 game and explains why Sammy Watkins is now a favorite for Rookie of the Year. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.

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