NFL Awards: 2023 Regular Season Honors (Pt. 2)

On February 8th, the NFL will announce the winners for their list of awards for the 2023-2024 regular season. Last week, several “early-favorite” candidates for said coveted hardware got the spotlight. But the three biggest awards of the night will have everyone talking, regardless of who wins.

Here are some early favorites to win “Offensive Player of the Year”, “Defensive Player of the Year”, and “Most Valuable Player” for 2023.

NFL Awards: 2023 Regular Season Honors (Pt. 2)

AP Offensive Player of the Year: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback

A lot of pressure comes with being a Dallas Cowboys player. But nobody has been put under a bigger microscope in 2023 than signal caller Dak Prescott. After leading the NFL in interceptions thrown in 2022, Prescott flipped the script and led the league in touchdown passes with a career-high 36 TDs to only nine INTs. Not to mention he climbed to the top three in completion percentage, passing yards, and passer rating.

Many critics will point out his disappointing performance in the playoffs and say that he’s not all that. But his 2023 outing shows that he can not only lead an offense under the bright lights but also continues to improve as the season progresses toward postseason time. Hopefully, number four can replicate his newfound success on a consistent basis and help Dallas get over the playoff hump.

Runner-Up: Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver

AP Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker

Number 90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers has made a more-than-sound argument as to why he should take home the hardware as he did in 2021. T.J. Watt has once again finished top of the class in sacks and quarterback hits for the third time in the last four seasons. He also has four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries under his belt in this past regular season. The record-setting pass rusher has become a cornerstone for the Steelers front seven and is making a case to be namechecked as among the Steel City legends.

Though 2023 was not the year Pittsburgh wanted, Watt’s leadership will no doubt be an ace in rebuilding the Steelers’ storied dominance. Now it’s time for the Steelers to reload and get back to taking their game to the next level, so Watt doesn’t get overworked.

Runner-Up: Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders Defensive End

AP Most Valuable Player: Christian McCaffery, San Francisco 49ers Running Back

The San Francisco 49ers have maintained their dominance in the NFC and have carried their momentum all the way to the upcoming Super Bowl LVII, no small part due to Christian McCaffery. Besides leading the NFL in rushing yards, McCaffery has posted career bests in yards per carry (5.4) and receiving touchdowns. He also became the league leader in total offensive touches, total yards from scrimmage, and total offensive touchdowns (not including passing TDs); a feat he accomplished as a Carolina Panther in 2019.

C-Mac has now become one of the best running backs in the current NFL, if not the best. But now, San Francisco must deal with a familiar foe in a familiar battleground; the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. McCaffery and company will do everything in their power to wear down a stingy Chiefs defense, whom too many have underestimated in this postseason.

Runner-Up: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens Quarterback

Main Image: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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