Patrick Mahomes was the NFL and Super Bowl MVP even without Tyreek Hill. He’s going to need Travis Kelce to have a chance to do it again.
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs got off to a losing start after raising their latest Super Bowl banner. With Kelce sporting a mustache in street clothes on the sideline because of a knee injury, Mahomes didn’t have his usual magic touch in a 21-20 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.
Mahomes threw a pick-6 on a pass that hit Kadarius Toney in stride but bounced off his hands. Toney dropped another pass late in the fourth quarter that would’ve moved the Chiefs closer to field-goal position.
Mahomes entered the season as the favorite to win his third AP NFL MVP award, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Josh Allen and Joe Burrow were tied for second-best odds.
Here are predictions for the 2023 AP NFL awards:
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Burrow became the highest-paid player in NFL history on Thursday, and the Cincinnati Bengals expect him to deliver the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Aaron Rodgers, a four-time NFL MVP, would be a frontrunner if he can turn the New York Jets into a championship contender.
Winner: Aaron Rodgers
Runner-up: Dak Prescott
Third place: Joe Burrow
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the favorite, followed by 2022 OPOY Justin Jefferson and 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. A wide receiver has won this award three of the last four years and no quarterback has won it since Mahomes in 2018. Jalen Hurts was a finalist last season when he had 22 passing TDs and 13 rushing TDs. He’s the guy if he increases the passing totals and runs for another 750-plus yards with 10-plus TDs on the ground.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dallas Cowboys edge Micah Parsons is the favorite, followed by Cleveland’s Myles Garrett and 2021 DPOY T.J. Watt. Nick Bosa, last year’s winner, just got the biggest contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Parsons is determined to be one of the league’s all-time greats after two All-Pro seasons to start his career.
Winner: Micah Parsons
Runner-up: Sauce Gardner
Third place: Nick Bosa
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Falcons running back Bijan Robinson is the favorite, followed by Panthers quarterback Bryce Young and Colts QB Anthony Richardson. Robinson has a ton of potential and the ability to have the most impact this season. Young, Richardson and C.J. Stroud are certain to endure some growing pains.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Texans edge Will Anderson is the favorite, followed by Eagles DT Jalen Carter and Raiders edge Tyree Wilson. Keep an eye on Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez and Lions safety Brian Branch, who has a pick-6 against Mahomes.
Winner: Jalen Carter
Runner-up: Will Anderson
Third place: Brian Branch
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bills safety Damar Hamlin is the overwhelming favorite, followed by Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa and Texans wideout John Metchie III. Hamlin made an incredible recovery after going into cardiac arrest on the field on Jan. 2. Tagovailoa is returning from concussions. Metchie is back after battling leukemia.
Third place: Tagovailoa
COACH OF THE YEAR: Brian Daboll won the award last season after leading the Giants to a 9-7-1 record and playoff berth. San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan finished second ahead of Jacksonville’s Doug Pederson.
Winner: Dan Campbell
Runner-up: Robert Saleh
Third place: Doug Pederson
ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR: Texans coach DeMeco Ryans won it last year as the 49ers defensive coordinator. Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson finished second and former Eagles OC Shane Steichen was third.