We’re more than halfway through the 2017 NFL season, so it’s time to think about which players and coaches are in line to win the league’s most coveted individual awards at the end of the year.
Starting with most valuable player and coach of the year, the new favorites are complete surprises through Week 9. But with plenty of games left and time for more twists and turns, no one can be considered a lock (yet) for the ultimate NFL Honors.
With help from the updated odds at Bovada, here are the current best bets, plus the top challengers who can topple them in the second half.
MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture
2017 NFL MVP
Favorite: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles (1/1)
Wentz goes into a bye with his team at 8-1. His passer rating is an exceptional 104.1, and he’s on pace for 4,021 passing yards 41 TDs with fewer than 9 interceptions. He’s also on pace to add 375 rushing yards. Anything close to keeping up with that while Philadelphia locks down the No. 1 seed in the NFC would make Wentz a lock for MVP.
Challengers: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (21/10), Alex Smith, Chiefs (8/1), Drew Brees, QB, Saints (14/1), Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks (14/1)
What Brady is doing at age 40 to carry a team that has had its share of defensive and running game issues is unprecedented. Smith has faded hard, while Brees and Wilson might be cancelling each other out.
2017 NFL Coach of the Year
Favorite: Sean McVay, Rams (started at +5000)
McVay is no longer just the new hotshot in Hollywood. Despite his age (31), McVay has operated as a smooth, savvy leader beyond the work he has done turning Jared Goff and Todd Gurley into one of the league’s most dangerous combinations. It all has led to the Rams being a shocking 6-2, good for first place in the NFC West.
Challengers: Doug Pederson, Eagles (+3300), Sean Payton, Saints (+3300), Bill Belichick, Patriots (+700), Mike Tomlin, Steelers (+1000), Andy Reid, Chiefs (+2000)
Pederson is in the conversation because of the surprise element. Payton has that, too, and is a former winner. Belichick can never be ruled out, and Tomlin has managed to keep his team on target despite a few issues. Reid is falling almost out of contention.
MORE: Chiefs slide down power rankings
2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
Favorite: Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs
With the Texans having lost the favorite (see below) to a season-ending knee injury, Hunt, coming off a bye and still leading the NFL in rushing and yards from scrimmage, has full control of this award. That’s especially with his Jaguars running rival (see below) having to miss a couple of games.
Challengers: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars; Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans; Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
Fournette is explosive enough to pass Hunt with a big second half of the season for playoff-bound Jacksonville. Watson’s short-lived star can keep shining longer than you think to stay in the mix. Kamara can’t be totally forgotten as he becomes a bigger part of New Orleans’ offense.
2017 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Favorite: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Saints
While Kamara is more of a longshot with the Saints, let’s hope Lattimore’s shutdown stylings as the Pro Football Focus’ current top-rated cornerback (veterans included) get rewarded. Lattimore has been a game- and season-changer for the Saints’ long-maligned pass defense.
Challengers: T.J. Watt, OLB, Steelers; Tre’Davious White, CB, Bills; Jamal Adams, S, Jets
Watt has the name and the team on his side, and sacks are a very tangible way to measure DROYs, so watch out. Lattimore, however, is simply better than White. Adams’ middle-of-the-pack team is not getting enough defensive attention for him to be more than an honorable mention.
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2017 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year
Favorite: Todd Wash, defensive coordinator, Jaguars
The Jags made a great decision to carry Wash over from Gus Bradley’s staff. The stockpiling of talent through the draft and free agency has paid off, as the NFL’s most ferocious pass-rushing unit has been built from Calais Campbell through Jalen Ramsey. Wash, the chief architect of Sacksonville, deserves the design award.
Challenger: Frank Reich, offensive coordinator, Eagles
Pederson of course has a big hand in what Philadelphia is doing to light up the scoreboard, but it wouldn’t be possible without Reich’s creative, college-like concepts for Wentz.
MORE: Who can catch Gronk for comeback player of the year?
2017 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
Favorite: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Gronk no hurt except for one game. Gronk durable and dominating again. Gronk spike competition.
Challengers: Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans; Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
Mariota is having a solid, mostly healthy year, too, but it has not been spectacular enough. Gurley might not have faced enough adversity in a sophomore slump to get strong enough consideration for a true “comeback.” With J.J. Watt back on the shelf, however, these are the only two in Gronk’s rearview.