NFL 2022 Midseason Awards | Allen as MVP? Who are Super Bowl favourites?


Is Josh Allen leading the way for league MVP honours? What’s been behind the Seattle Seahawks’ remarkable turnaround? What has been the route of the problems for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and could they yet spring a shock and reach another Super Bowl?

By David Currie and Cam Hogwood

Last Updated: 09/11/22 5:32pm

NFL 2022 midseason awards - League MVP? Super Bowl picks? Rookie of the Year? NFL 2022 midseason awards - League MVP? Super Bowl picks? Rookie of the Year?

NFL 2022 midseason awards – League MVP? Super Bowl picks? Rookie of the Year?

With nine weeks of NFL action in the books, we’re officially at the halfway point of the 2022 regular season. So, with that in mind, we’ve dished out some awards at the midseason mark – naming our league MVP, as well as looking at the success stories and shocks of the season so far…

League MVP

Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)

This one looked nailed on all of about a fortnight ago, but after blowing away the Green Bay Packers in the first half of their 27-17 win in Week Eight, Josh Allen matched his touchdown total with two second-half interceptions and then spoke critically of his play in their shock loss to the New York Jets last week. “It’s tough to win in this league when your quarterback plays like ****,” he said.

Yet, Allen is still the firm favourite in the MVP race, leading the league in total yards from scrimmage (2,795) and total touchdowns (23). While the Bills are unquestionably talented, there is a sense that Allen has to, at times, carry the team where other contenders for this award have the luxury of relying a little more on others.

Watch some of the best plays from the 2022 season by Buffalo Bills' quarterback Josh Allen.

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Watch some of the best plays from the 2022 season by Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen.

Watch some of the best plays from the 2022 season by Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen.

While the last six quarters haven’t been the most stellar work he has ever submitted, it shouldn’t erase the first few weeks’ worth of sheer excellence at the quarterback position. Allen can make all the throws – the deep ball, the side arm – and fit it in to the tightest of windows, and we haven’t even touched on his play-making ability with his legs. If he plays how he is capable down the stretch, this is your MVP for 2022.

Honourable mentions: Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles) can quite rightly feel aggrieved not to be the frontrunner in the MVP race, given his team’s stunning 8-0 start to the season, in which he has thrown for 2,042 yards and 10 touchdowns, to only two interceptions, adding a further 326 yards and six scores on the ground.

Former NFL players Brian Baldinger and Avery Williamson discuss the merits of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being named league MVP.

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Former NFL players Brian Baldinger and Avery Williamson discuss the merits of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being named league MVP.

Former NFL players Brian Baldinger and Avery Williamson discuss the merits of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being named league MVP.

Tua Tagovailoa leads the league in passer rating (115.9) through nine weeks, but his staggering jump this season is due in no small part to the addition of Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins). In the Super Bowl era, no receiver has ever had more than his 1,104 receiving yards through their first nine games of a season and he is on pace to become the first wideout to top 2,000 yards. Meanwhile, the man he left behind, Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), is bang in contention to earn the crown for a second time as, despite the loss of Hill, he currently leads the league with 605 passing yards and 21 passing TDs.

Defensive Player of the Year

Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys)

Cowboys secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr recently suggested Micah Parsons was the first player he has encountered that could start at safety, linebacker and defensive end for all 32 teams, throwing in likely roles at tight end and running back for good measure. Any jest aside, the second-year marvel governs an exclusive category of his own as the NFL’s boundary-shattering edge torpedo and turbo-charged off-ball crab. He might well be the best player in football.

Here's a look at some of Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons' best sacks in his NFL career so far.

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Here’s a look at some of Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons’ best sacks in his NFL career so far.

Here’s a look at some of Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons’ best sacks in his NFL career so far.

Parsons has eight sacks, 20 pressures, nine tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery that he miraculously turned into a 36-yard scoop-and-score touchdown against the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys drafted the nation’s best inside linebacker and, perhaps by way of injuries last season, discovered the nation’s most dynamic pass rusher. Dallas have sought to exploit as much by using Parsons more heavily as a dedicated edge player this season, offering the league’s young offensive tackles their toughest test.

Super Bowl champion with the Los Angeles Rams, Torry Holt, describes Dallas Cowboys second-year defender Micah Parsons as a 'generational player'.

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Super Bowl champion with the Los Angeles Rams, Torry Holt, describes Dallas Cowboys second-year defender Micah Parsons as a ‘generational player’.

Super Bowl champion with the Los Angeles Rams, Torry Holt, describes Dallas Cowboys second-year defender Micah Parsons as a ‘generational player’.

Honourable mentions: Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers) can consider himself unfortunate to be sharing a standout season with a mutant like Parsons, the 49ers edge rusher riding right on his tail with 8.5 sacks, 27 pressures and eight tackles for loss in seven games… Patrick Surtain II (Denver Broncos) has asserted himself as one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks while allowing zero touchdowns on the year, and Matthew Judon (New England Patriots) is also a dark horse with a league-high 11.5 sacks.

Rookie of the Year

Kenneth Walker III (Seattle Seahawks)

A few contenders on the rookie front, but Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III just about gets the edge at the midway point of the season having starred since replacing the injured Rashaad Penny as starter. The second-round pick has amassed 570 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 71.3 yards per game across eight outings.

Seattle Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker all but sealed their game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Seven with a brilliant 70-yard touchdown run.

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Seattle Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker all but sealed their game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Seven with a brilliant 70-yard touchdown run.

Seattle Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker all but sealed their game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Seven with a brilliant 70-yard touchdown run.

Somewhere in Seattle Pete Carroll is rejoicing over a flourishing Seattle ground game, with Walker spearheading a run option system with devastating cuts, make ’em miss elusiveness, tackle-carrying power and runaway speed. He leads a talent-rich Seahawks Draft class laying solid foundations to a new era of sorts for the franchise.

Honourable mentions: Walker’s team-mate Tariq Woolen (Seattle Seahawks) has emerged as one of the most accomplished young lockdown cornerbacks in the NFL with elite shut-down and transition speed contributing to four interceptions and eight pass defenses… There’s also Sauce Gardner (New York Jets), who is justifying pre-draft clamour over his talent with 13 pass deflections as head coach Robert Saleh’s rangey playmaker and running back Dameon Pierce (Houston Texans) is offering spark to a bleak Houston rebuild with 678 rushing yards at 84.8 yards per game.

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner looks back on his team's huge win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field this season and his 'cheesehead' celebrations afterwards.

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New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner looks back on his team’s huge win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field this season and his ‘cheesehead’ celebrations afterwards.

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner looks back on his team’s huge win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field this season and his ‘cheesehead’ celebrations afterwards.

Comeback Player of the Year

Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)

As far as ‘comeback stories’ go, Geno Smith and the absurd excellence he has been dealing out in Seattle differs from the norm. His comeback is not from injury, but from toiling backup irrelevance. He had represented quarterback purgatory for the Russell Wilson-less Seahawks entering the season, only to since reel off the figures and performances of a top 10 player in football’s ever and agonisingly-defining position. He is 6-3 as a starter with a 73.1 completion percentage (1st among qualifying QBs), a 107.2 passer rating (3rd), a 0.151 Expected Points Added and Completion Percentage Over Expectation composite (4th) and 15 touchdowns to four interceptions.

Seattle Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker all but sealed their game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Seven with a brilliant 70-yard touchdown run.

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Seattle Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker all but sealed their game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Seven with a brilliant 70-yard touchdown run.

Seattle Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker all but sealed their game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Seven with a brilliant 70-yard touchdown run.

What might have presented the traits of momentum-riding form bound for a decline has become consistent showcases of upper echelon touch and precision passing as the league’s most productive deep-ball thrower. He is shaping up to be the story of the 2022 season as pilot to a Seahawks side hurtling towards the playoffs.

Honourable mentions: Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) has been at the heart of the New York Giants’ revival under Brian Daboll with 779 rushing yards and 189 receiving yards through eight games having been hindered by injury over the past two seasons.

Coach of the Year

Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks)

Pete Carroll completes the hat-trick of awards for the Seahawks.

He perhaps isn’t the most obvious candidate, with plenty others worthy of the honour and the Seahawks only 6-3 on the season and far from guaranteed a playoff place yet. But the turnaround in Seattle has been truly remarkable, given that many were touting this rebuilding squad sans Russell Wilson at quarterback of being in contention for next year’s No 1 draft pick more than any division title or postseason berth.

Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks have been the surprised package of the 2022 season so far Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks have been the surprised package of the 2022 season so far

Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks have been the surprised package of the 2022 season so far

A rebuild with a 71-year-old head coach in charge certainly seemed like a strange route to go… but not only did the Seahawks stick with Carroll to lead it, he insisted that this team was capable of challenging immediately. And thanks to some smart additions in the draft, the stellar play of Geno Smith at quarterback and the indefatigable efforts of Carroll in charge, this Seattle squad is looking eerily like it could be the ‘Legion of Boom’ 2.0.

Honourable mentions: We’ll be touching on this in greater detail shortly, but both Robert Saleh (New York Jets) and Brian Daboll (New York Giants) simply have to be singled out for some love after the stunning turnarounds they have each engineered this year in the Big Apple. Both the Jets and Giants are legitimate playoff contenders – and not many would have given that notion much credit a mere two months ago. Also, Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles) is another hugely credible candidate for this award after the Eagles’ unbeaten start… albeit expectations were already fairly high in Philly prior to the season, which perhaps could count against him.

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll has got off to a hugely impressive start in his first season in charge New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll has got off to a hugely impressive start in his first season in charge

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll has got off to a hugely impressive start in his first season in charge

Surprise Package(s)

New York success stories & Tom Brady struggles

The Jets are 6-3, the Giants are 6-2 and the city rivals are on course for their first winning seasons since 2015 and 2016, respectively. New York football is alive!

First year Giants head coach Brian Daboll has reignited a stagnant rebuild that might now be deemed ahead of schedule, combining with offensive coordinator Mike Kafka in unleashing a recharged Saquon Barkley and tailoring their scheme to a contract-year Daniel Jones who is now trending towards extension territory. Wink Martindale’s swarming blitz-mania defense is meanwhile seeing out tight games down the stretch with a young core displaying stalwart potential.

Robert Saleh has turned things round at the New York Jets after a difficult first season last year Robert Saleh has turned things round at the New York Jets after a difficult first season last year

Robert Saleh has turned things round at the New York Jets after a difficult first season last year

Their neighbouring Jets, for all their offensive weaponry, are being spearheaded by one of the NFL’s top five (even that might be unjust) defenses and one of just two units in the league to rank in the top 10 in both passing and rushing DVOA on defense. In fact, Robert Saleh’s men just intercepted MVP frontrunner Josh Allen twice, as well as limiting him to his worst quarterback rating and fewest passing yards since Week 16 of the 2021 campaign. They are giving a still-developing quarterback Zach Wilson, his multi-purpose running back Michael Carter and his pass-catching tandem of rookie Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis opportunities to win games.

Meanwhile, as New York are finally back relevant in the NFL, some of the league’s power houses are limping along this year – most notably, the defending Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who are currently a combined 10-16 in what has been a truly topsy-turvy season. The Denver Broncos have also been a big disappointment at 3-5, despite the offseason addition of quarterback Russell Wilson to much fanfare.

A look at some of the biggest blunders by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers during their five-game losing run in the NFL.

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A look at some of the biggest blunders by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers during their five-game losing run in the NFL.

A look at some of the biggest blunders by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers during their five-game losing run in the NFL.

On the Hot Seat

Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals)

Many pondered whether Kliff Kingsbury would even make it back for the 2022 season at all but, despite rumours of him being fired following a 24-24-1 run over his three years in charge, he instead offered, and signed, a six-year extension through 2027.

Could Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury be in trouble after three and a half seasons in charge? Could Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury be in trouble after three and a half seasons in charge?

Could Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury be in trouble after three and a half seasons in charge?

But, the show of faith from Cardinals ownership hasn’t translated to results on the field and Arizona have struggled out to a 3-6 start to the season. Worrying if your Kingsbury, given that the coach’s reputation both in college and the NFL has been that his teams generally start the year hot before ultimately fading down the stretch. The Cardinals started last season 7-0 before ultimately finishing just 11-6 and being quickly disposed of by the Los Angeles Rams in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Quarterback Kyler Murray continues to show flashes of brilliance, but is it enough to carry Kingsbury and this team? You worry not, and the cracks were even seemingly beginning to show between the QB and his coach in a Week Seven win over the New Orleans Saints with him caught by cameras yelling “calm the **** down” to Kingsbury.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was seen shouting at head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the second quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints.

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was seen shouting at head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the second quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was seen shouting at head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the second quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints.

(Dis)honourable mentions: You worry for first-year head coaches Nathanial Hackett (Denver Broncos) and Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders). This isn’t the latter’s first go round, but his uninspired 2-6 start has drudged up memories of his one-and-a-half year stint in charge of the Broncos over a decade ago, in which he went 11-17. And, sticking in Denver, Hackett’s time in charge of a talented Broncos squad – who further added to expectations with the big-money signing of Russell Wilson – has been marred by poor clock management and offensive inneficiency.

Who makes it to Super Bowl LVII?

Buffalo Bills (AFC) vs Philadelphia Eagles (NFC)

Playing it a little safe by picking the two current No 1 seeds from each conference were the season to end today, but both the Bills and Eagles quite rightly deserve to be considered favourites from each conference after their dazzling starts to the season – particularly in Philadelphia, who are the sole remaining unbeaten team in the league and off to a franchise-record 8-0 start.

A look at how the Eagles have gone 8-0 to remain the only undefeated team left in the 2022 NFL season.

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A look at how the Eagles have gone 8-0 to remain the only undefeated team left in the 2022 NFL season.

A look at how the Eagles have gone 8-0 to remain the only undefeated team left in the 2022 NFL season.

As already mentioned, the Bills have had the odd out of character wobble, losing games to the Dolphins and, most recently, the Jets, that could hurt their stock once the seedings are finalised in early January. But, the dismantling of the defending Super Bowl-champion Rams on opening night, as well as Lamar Jackson’s Ravens and Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs – all on the road – shows that they should fear no-one come playoff time.

Highlights of the Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs from Week Six of the NFL season.

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Highlights of the Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs from Week Six of the NFL season.

Highlights of the Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs from Week Six of the NFL season.

Honourable mentions: From the AFC, the Miami Dolphins and their explosive offense are a dangerous proposition in the one-and-done world of the postseason, while the Baltimore Ravens have the easiest strength of schedule for the second half of the campaign which could aid their efforts in ensuring the road to Super Bowl LII in Arizona runs through Maryland.

As for the NFC, he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may well be sitting their, counted out currently, with a 4-5 record, but it’s still good enough to top the dreadful NFC South division… and never write off Tom Brady! How many times do we have to go through this? The man his a record seven Super Bowl rings already, and wouldn’t it be so fitting for him to walk away from the game aged 45 with an eighth.

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