NFL Honors will take place Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC (streaming on Peacock) and NFL Network, and it is where we will find out all the award winners from the 2022 NFL season. Over a dozen awards will be presented, including MVP, Coach of the year, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.
This year will look a bit different, as a new voting system will be used by the Associated Press. Per NFL.com, a nationwide panel of 50 sports journalists who cover the NFL have ranked their top-five picks for MVP, and top-three picks for the other awards.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Symphony Hall (Phoenix)
TV: NBC/NFL Network | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Below, we will attempt to predict the award winners for seven of the biggest awards at NFL Honors. Let's start with the "most valuable" of them all: MVP.
Most Valuable Player: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes will likely win his second MVP, and could win his second Super Bowl this weekend as well. He led all quarterbacks in passing touchdowns this season with 41, and had the best passer rating when targeting running backs and tight ends (125.1). I guess losing Tyreek Hill didn't hurt too bad. In the regular season, Mahomes threw for a career-high 5,250 yards, while also completing a career-high 67.1 percent of his passes. He averaged 308.8 passing yards in the regular season. No other quarterback averaged more than 280.
While it doesn't matter to his MVP case, Mahomes now has the most playoff wins before turning 28 years old with 10, and has the best passer rating in playoff history as well (106.1). He would become the 10th player to win MVP multiple times. Every player who has done so and retired, made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, and should win MVP for all that he accomplished this season.
Coach of the Year: 49ers' Kyle Shanahan
When an NFL team loses its starting quarterback, it's usually a death sentence for the season. Sure, the 49ers lucked out in having Jimmy Garoppolo as the backup, but he went down due to injury as well! In stepped Brock Purdy, who was selected by the 49ers with the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Iowa State product went 5-0 for San Francisco down the stretch, and completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions, as the 49ers made the NFC Championship for the second year in a row.
While Purdy deserves credit for his play, Kyle Shanahan's offensive scheme and how he utilizes playmakers is likely why the 49ers didn't miss a beat on offense with a third-string rookie quarterback. Throw in the fact that San Francisco had the No. 1 defense in the NFL this season led by probable Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa, and Shanahan should be named Coach of the Year.
Comeback Player of the Year: Seahawks QB Geno Smith
There are a few big names up for Comeback Player of the Year such as Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey, but quarterback is the most important position in football, which should help Smith's case. The last four winners of this award all played quarterback.
The former backup had a career year in 2022 after being promoted following Russell Wilson's departure. Smith went 9-8 as the starter, completing a league-high 69.8 percent of his passes for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while guiding Seattle to a surprising playoff berth. At 32 years old, Smith earned his first career Pro Bowl bid, and will likely earn a nice extension this offseason.
Offensive Player of the Year: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Jefferson is probably the best wide receiver in the NFL. His goal entering 2022 was to prove this, and he was successful in doing so. The former LSU star is the only non-quarterback who was named a finalist for MVP. While he's a long shot to win that award, he may secure Offensive Player of the Year.
This season, Jefferson led the NFL in catches (128), receiving yards (1,809) and was tied for 11th in receiving touchdowns (8). Those yards are the sixth-most recorded by a receiver in a single season. Jefferson set franchise records in receptions and receiving yards, and was named to his third straight Pro Bowl in addition to an All-Pro selection. The 4,825 receiving yards Jefferson has recorded in his career are the most receiving yards recorded in a player's first three seasons in NFL history. Not only that, but he has the most receiving yards since entering the NFL in 2020!
Defensive Player of the Year: 49ers DE Nick Bosa
Bosa has been an absolute beast. After recording 15.5 sacks in 2021, he led the NFL with 18.5 quarterback takedowns this past season. In four total seasons, the former No. 2 overall pick has won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, been named an All-Pro, earned three Pro Bowl bids and now should win Defensive Player of the Year. Bosa ranked first in QB hits this past season with 48, and tied for second in tackles for loss with 19. He's a handful to contain on the line, and further proved this past season that he's a legitimate playmaker.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jets WR Garrett Wilson
Wilson led all rookies in receptions (83), receiving yards (1,103) and was tied for third in touchdown receptions with four. What really stood out about Wilson was that the rookie was able to pull all this off with inconsistency under center. Wilson had three 100-yard receiving games in 2022. All three came with different quarterbacks. If Wilson does in fact win Offensive Rookie of the Year, he would become the first Jet to do so.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jets CB Sauce Gardner
Sauce came into the league beaming with confidence. He said he felt as though he was the "chosen one," and that there was "no way" he could be a bust. Gardner was correct in assessing himself, as he racked up 75 combined tackles, two interceptions and a league-leading 20 passes defended. Sauce picked up All-Pro honors, making him the first rookie cornerback ever to do so.
If Gardner wins Defensive Rookie of the Year, the Jets would move past the Chiefs and 49ers for most Defensive Rookie of the Year winners all time. The last Jet to win was Sheldon Richardson in 2013.
If Wilson AND Gardner win Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, they would become the third duo from the same team to win both. The last time it happened was in 2018, when Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints accomplished the feat.