Offensive Player of the Year Predictions
The Super Bowl is just a few days away which means everyone’s second favorite event is almost here, the NFL Honors.
The NFL Honors will kick off Thursday night for the second year in a row as opposed to the night before the Big Game which is what most fans are used to.
No problem with that, because fans are eager to have all of their questions answered and their arguments settled even before the season comes to a close.
MVP finalists Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes will star in the Super Bowl, but both are also finalists for Offensive Player of the Year, along with Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill.
It was another wild NFL season, but there are moments that still remain to be highlighted.
Here are our predictions for NFL Offensive Player of the Year:
Connor Fenix: NFC
Besides Jalen Hurts, I don’t think anyone else comes close to OPOY other than third-year wide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.
What else needs to be said? Even with Kirk Cousins under center, Jefferson has grown a reputation for being one of, if not the best wide receiver in the league — just let his 2022 stats prove that.
This season, Jefferson caught 128 passes for a career-high 1,809 yards and eight touchdowns, only two less than the previous season.
Jefferson also averaged a staggering 106.4 receiving yards per game, which was good for best in the league.
Not only is Jefferson a candidate for OPOY, he easily has the catch of the year under his belt.
In the Week 9 victory on the road against the Bills, Jefferson climbed the ladder to secure a spectacular one-handed reception, a catch the likes of the NFL haven’t seen since Odell Beckham Jr.
I feel this catch flies under the radar a little bit, but it’s a key moment in the season that would solidify Jefferson as the OPOY.
Jalen Hurts has done more than exceed expectations in Philadelphia, and he has definitely cemented his position in a city that is overzealous about its sports teams.
After managing to make the Wild Card last season, Hurts and company surged to the No. 1 seed in the NFC this year — and it all came at the hands of Hurts.
Hurts completed 306 passes for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns while also rushing for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
I think what really separates Hurts apart from other quarterbacks in the league is that he only had eye-raising six interceptions all season — a stat that doesn’t even put him in the top-25 of quarterbacks with the most interceptions.
Sure, he faced a minor setback late in the season that caused him to miss two games, and after a shaky Week 18 finale against the Giants, there was speculation to see how he would respond in the postseason.
Even with those two games he missed, Hurts has a 14-1 record in 2022, 16-1 including playoffs.
275 yards and two touchdowns later, Hurts’ playoff run was more than impressive considering the combined 69-14 score differential against the Giants and 49ers.
If his name isn’t called for MVP, don’t be surprised if Jalen Hurts adds an OPOY to his young resume.
Gia Sabatino: AFC
Tyreek Hill has always been a top receiver in the AFC but this year we got to watch him shine on a completely different team making him even more respectable than before.
Last season the Chiefs’ star wide receiver, and this year the Dolphins.
This just goes to show no matter where this guy plays he is more than capable of asserting his dominance and staying on top.
In his first season in Miami, he proved more than ever that he is the best receiver in the AFC if not the entire league.
Hill was second in the league in receiving yards behind Justin Jefferson who is also an offensive player of the year finalist.
He caught 119 passes for 1,710 yards which is a career-high for the Dolphins' new addition, averaging 100.6 yards per game.
He also tallied seven receiving touchdowns this season and one rushing touchdown.
This is his second consecutive season finishing as a top-three wide receiver in yards, receptions, and touchdowns. But what’s most impressive is his ability to do this on two different teams with two completely different offenses.
Although Jefferson has him beat in all categories I think that Hill had a more impressive season overall as he pushed through lots of adversity. One is adjusting to a new offense and two are the injuries of his quarterback throughout the season.
He single-handedly kept the Dolphins team alive this season and there is no doubt Tyreek is only going up from here.
He’s extremely fast and he’s dangerous…. no wonder why he’s the Cheetah.
Surprise, Patrick Mahomes is back in the Super Bowl for the third time in the past four years.
Mahomes has only been in the league for six years, which means in his career he has made it to the Super Bowl 50% of the time and he didn’t even start his rookie year. So you do the math.
In the five years he has started, he has made it to the AFC championship Every. Single. Year.
And he already has two Super Bowl appearances under his belt and one ring.
Let me remind you…
In 2018, his first starting season, he won NFL MVP and OPOY.
In 2020, he won not only the Super Bowl but the Super Bowl MVP.
He has the power to do all of that this season.
We all know Mahomes and we know what he is capable of.
At this point, I am convinced this kid was born to dominate the AFC.
This season Mahomes became just the second quarterback in NFL history to have multiple 5,000-yard and 40-touchdown seasons.
Insane right? Wait until you hear this.
He broke the record for total yards thrown in a single season with 5,250 yards surpassing Drew Brees.
Not only does he lead the league in passing yards but also in touchdown passes (41) which is nothing for him considering he threw 50 touchdowns in 2018.
Let’s keep in mind he is only 27.
No doubt, the three other finalists are absolute powerhouses, but the reason Mahomes is different from the rest is that he is consistent.
He hasn’t had just one standout season. Ever since Andy Reid let him take the reins he has never looked back. And quite frankly he just gets better and better each season.
His capability to throw the ball no matter what kind of position he is in, his prominent determination, his persistence especially through injury, and his ability to close out games.
Mahomes is simply just unmatched.
The truth is Patrick Mahomes is hungry and he is coming for all the titles.
We have seen him do it once, and I won’t be the least bit surprised if he does it again.
Connor Fenix is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gia Sabatino is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Gia Sabatino is a first-year student at Penn State. She is a Communications major in broadcast journalism. In her first semester she has become really involved with CommRadio in the sports department. She had been writing articles and getting good experience within the club by shadowing board ops and talk shows. She also completed her first play by play call for a JV Boys Soccer game at State College High School. She is looking forward to all the opportunities that CommRadio has to offer along with meeting new people and making more connections. Gia is getting adjusted to Penn State and learning how to manage her classes while being in a club so she is taking things one step at a time. She is interested in joining a sorority in the spring and looking at other communication clubs as well. Gia is from Phoenixville, PA which is outside of Philly and she attended Pope John Paul II High School. There she managed the basketball team and kept the score and book for varsity her junior and senior year. She is hoping to do something like this at Penn State in the future.