National Football League
NFL poll: Expert picks for MVP, DPOY, Super Bowl and other awards
National Football League

NFL poll: Expert picks for MVP, DPOY, Super Bowl and other awards

Published Jan. 9, 2023 2:55 p.m. ET

With the NFL regular season coming to a close, FOX Sports' NFL reporters and analysts looked back on the full scope of the last 18 weeks, voting on the most deserving candidates for a wide slate of awards. They also looked ahead to the postseason, predicting which NFC and AFC teams are likeliest to reach Super Bowl LVII in Arizona — and which team will ultimately win it.

MVP: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

Geoff Schwartz: The Eagles have a better offensive line and more overall skill talent. The Eagles have a better defense and pass rush. The Eagles are better on special teams. Patrick Mahomes is the only reason the Chiefs win, and they win a bunch. 

Eric D. Williams: Mahomes has proven he can still put up big numbers and lead the Chiefs to important victories without the services of Tyreek Hill. Mahomes led the league in passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41). Mahomes has also spread the ball around incredibly well, completing passes to 15 different receivers this season. 


Runner up: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

Greg Auman: You can make a good case for Patrick Mahomes but Jalen Hurts has been absolutely central in the Eagles' success — throwing for 22 touchdowns against only six interceptions, rushing for another 13 scores and 760 yards — that he deserves the nod. Mahomes has been prolific even by his own lofty standards. I think there's a value in exceeding expectations and finding sustained success as Hurts has this season.

David Helman: This is tough, because I think Patrick Mahomes is easily the best player in football. But I also happen to think Jalen Hurts is the central component that makes everything work for the best team in the league. We've seen him grow astronomically as a passer, and we've seen that his mobility and decision-making turn the Eagles into the most devastating ground game in the league. More importantly, we've seen at the end of the season just how ordinary the Birds look without him. Mahomes is better, but Hurts' performance this year is the epitome of valuable.

Ralph Vacchiano:: It's hard to vote against Mahomes when his numbers are so absurdly far ahead of everyone else's. But it's hard to find a player who means more to his team than Hurts does to the Eagles. His two-way play powers their offense and opens things up for everyone else. And the few weeks proved that they're not even close to the same team when he's not on the field.

Why Patrick Mahomes has cemented himself as league MVP

Patrick Mahomes leads the league in QBR, passing touchdowns, passing yards, and is second in passer rating. Nick Wright says Mahomes is the clear frontrunner.

Offensive Player of the Year: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson

Carmen Vitali: It's Justin Jefferson. Period. End of story. Jefferson finished with the most receiving yards of any player this season and was instrumental in everything Minnesota did on offense this year. He helped Kirk Cousins to one of the best seasons he's ever had and had 10 games of over 100 yards receiving. He's everything you could want in a top wideout and makes impossible catches when it matters most. 

Helman: Jefferson is the driving force behind the Vikings' impressive run to the playoffs. To go for 100 yards every other time you touch the field is remarkable — let alone when you top 120 yards seven different times.

Runners up: Josh Jacobs, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill.

Ben Arthur: Josh Jacobs has easily been the NFL's best running back this season, with his 1,653 rushing yards leading the league. But Jacobs also paces the league in scrimmage yards (2,053). He's been the most productive non-quarterback offensive skill player in 2022. 

Auman: It seems silly to have one guy as MVP while a different QB gets this award, but it's a way to praise both for having MVP-caliber seasons. Mahomes set his career high in yardage this season, and threw the second-most touchdowns of his career. That's despite losing Tyreek Hill and other offensive weapons in the offseason to set up expectations of his numbers dropping off. 

Henry McKennaFor a large portion of the season, Tyreek Hill helped completely remake Tua Tagovailoa's image. It's unclear whether Tua can be a truly elite quarterback for a sustained period of time, because he slid in recent weeks. But even with Tua's production declining, Tyreek has managed to keep this offense at least competent. Consider, too, that Tyreek will finish second in receiving yards and receptions despite his starting quarterback missing four and a half games. Hill means more to the Dolphins than Jefferson does to the Vikings.

Defensive Player of the Year: 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa

Schwartz: Nick Bosa ranks first in these defensive categories: Sacks, pressures, hits, penalties drawn and pass-rush win rate. He's second in the NFL in tackles for loss. This might be the easiest award of all 

Williams: Nick Bosa: The Ohio State product is having his best season as a pro, leading the league in sacks and quarterback pressures. Bosa fell short of Aldon Smith's franchise record for sacks, but had a tremendous campaign.

Runner up: Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick

Auman: This is a bit contrarian, as Bosa has more sacks, but Reddick has a league-high five forced fumbles and three recoveries for the Eagles, both three more than Bosa, and his 16 sacks are only 2.5 less than Bosa's league-leading 17.5. I think of these awards in terms of production, and Reddick has created turnovers better than any pass rusher.

Biggest breakout: Seahawks QB Geno Smith

Auman: Nobody saw Seattle coming out better offensively without Russell Wilson, and Geno Smith has put up a 4,200-yard, 30-touchdown season at age 32 after totaling nine touchdown passes over the previous seven seasons. To complete 70 percent of his passes over an entire season in any offense is ridiculously rare, and he's done it.

Vacchiano: Is there a bigger surprise in the last decade than Geno Smith turning into a Pro Bowl quarterback? In eight seasons, with four teams, there was no indication he'd ever be more than an adequate backup. Who would have guessed the Seahawks knew what they were doing when they kept Smith over Russell Wilson?

Pete Carroll discusses Seahawks' surprise season, Geno Smith and more

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carrol sat down with Mark Sanchez and discussed the Seahawks' surprise season as well as QB Geno Smith's breakout

Runners up: Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, Giants OT Andrew Thomas, Patriots edge rusher Josh Uche, Lions edge rusher James Houston

Arthur: While Trevor Lawrence was drafted with the expectation he'd be a franchise quarterback, it doesn't diminish how stunning his second-year leap has been. His completion rate came up nearly 7% (66.3 from 59.6), he's more than doubled his passing touchdowns total (25 this year; 12 last year), has nine fewer interceptions (eight this year; a league-leading 17 last year) and his passer rating is up 23.3 points (95.2 from 71.9).

Helman: Let's give some love to the big guys. The Giants have been mocked many times for taking Thomas No. 4 overall in a draft that also included Tristan Wirfs. Nobody's laughing now. Thomas blossomed into one of the best young tackles in football this season, allowing just three sacks, three QB hits and 15 hurries. On the cusp of just his 24th birthday, he might be anchoring New York's left side for a long time to come.

McKenna: Yes, I know that Geno Smith has been a sensation. But I'll take this opportunity to stump for someone else. Josh Uche logged all 11.5 of his sacks over the last 10 games. New England gave him more time on the field. He has given them more production. And in a short time, he has ascended to 10th in the league in sack totals. His breakout has been an enormous part of the Patriots' impressive defensive season.

Vitali: For me, it's James Houston. I want to give some love to a guy who hasn't really gotten it outside of Detroit. Houston was brought up from the practice squad in Week 12 and the rookie out of Jackson State went off, finishing the season with eight sacks. He was overshadowed by No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson a little bit, who had a historic season in his own right, but Houston and Hutchinson made history of their own. They're the first rookie duo to each have eight sacks in NFL history and are part of a rookie unit in Detroit that had the most sacks (19.5) by any rookie class ever.

Coach of the Year: Giants head coach Brian Daboll

Schwartz: Before the first game of the season, the Giants general manager held a state-of-the-union press conference where he urged Giants fans to have patience this season because the roster was not good enough to win. Despite the roster, the injuries and the limitations of the quarterback, the Giants are in the playoffs. Brian Daboll has done the best job of any coach in 2022.

Runners up: 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni

Auman: To lose two starting quarterbacks and still win a tough division is remarkable and speaks well to having a winning system in place. So many of the early darlings — the Dolphins' Josh McDaniel, the Giants' Brian Daboll — have dropped off after promising starts. You could make a case for the Eagles' Nick Sirianni as well, but I'd pick Shanahan.

Vacchiano: Six straight wins with Brock Purdy at quarterback and 10 straight overall put this over the top for me. Nick Sirianni deserves votes for the brilliant job he's done in Philly, but the Eagles are loaded. No one's done more with less than Giants coach Brian Daboll. But Shanahan lost his starting quarterback and didn't miss a beat. That's not easy to do.

Vitali: The Eagles were an unstoppable force for most of the season and finished with the NFC's best record to earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. This is a Philadelphia team that started the 2021 season 3-6 and they've turned it around thanks in no small part to Sirianni. He's created a high-powered offense that's tailored to Jalen Hurts and his skillset and plays into the strengths of multiple pieces all over it. The defense has also stepped up this year and helped the Eagles become perhaps the most complete team in the league. Hats off to Sirianni for all of that.

Comeback Player of the Year: Tie between 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey and Titans RB Derrick Henry

Arthur: After missing nine games with a Jones fracture last year, Derrick Henry has regained his form as arguably the NFL's most dominant running back. He had 1,538 rushing yards (second-most in the league) and 13 rushing touchdowns (tied for second-most) playing behind an offensive line that has struggled all season. Henry also has career highs in receptions (33) and receiving yards (398).

Auman: After two seasons significantly limited by injuries, Christian McCaffrey has been back in a big way, especially since going to San Francisco. With 1,139 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, as well as 85 catches for 741 yards and five receiving scores, he's gotten back to his prime as one of the most prolific dual-threat backs in the league, something that wasn't a sure thing entering 2022. Saquon Barkley has done much of the same and is deserving here as well.

Runners up: Seahawks QB Geno Smith, Lions QB Jared Goff

Helman: Do you have to get hurt to be a comeback player? Geno Smith has been through a lot to get to this point. Originally a top-40 pick by the Jets, he was dealt disappointment after disappointment in New York. He kicked around the league as a backup for a while, and even after he found a home in Seattle he had to wait three years for a shot to start. Safe to say he's made the most of it. Prior to 2022, the thing that Geno Smith was most famous for was getting punched in the face by his own teammate. Now, he's a Pro Bowler. What's a cooler comeback than that?

Vitali: Going along the non-injury comebacks, absolutely no one expected anything of former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff when he was traded to Detroit and in his first year with the Lions, they were kind of right. He passed for just 3,245 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. But this year? He turned everything around. The Lions' offense reached historic heights with Goff under center in his second year under Dan Campbell. Goff himself finished with the third-highest passing total of his career while scoring his second-most touchdowns. The Lions then finished with a winning record, just barely missing out on the playoffs, and played spoiler for a division rival. With two first-round picks in this year's draft, they may not even need to take a quarterback now. 

Why Jared Goff was an NFC Pro Bowl snub

Colin Cowherd explains why not only was Goff a Pro Bowl snub but how he is more similar to Matthew Stafford than fans think.

Which NFC team will play in the Super Bowl? Tie between Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers

Auman: It's wild to think a rookie quarterback could pull it off, but the  San Francisco 49ers defense is a dominant unit that could make life much easier for Brock Purdy in January. No team has a stronger head of steam entering the playoffs, and getting Deebo Samuel healthy only adds to that. We'll take the 49ers over Eagles in a close conference championship game.

Vacchiano: Philadelphia Eagles. The last three weeks may have the entire city of Philadelphia nervous. And the 49ers have a ton of momentum. They're also exactly the type of team that gives the Eagles the most trouble. But if they reach the NFC championship game, it will take place in Philadelphia.

Runner up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings

McKenna: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I said it at midseason. I'll say it again. Tom Brady is the king of this tournament. I don't care that his team has looked dead if not for his sensational comeback play. I'm telling you: He's going to the Super Bowl.

Vitali: They were my preseason pick, and with them finishing the regular season 13-4 and about to host the Giants in the first round of the playoffs, I guess I'm just going to stick to it. The Minnesota Vikings have found ways to win all season, even when down 33 points at the half. Should they have been that behind an Indianapolis Colts team that finished the season with seven losses and an interim head coach? No. But the tenacity it takes to complete the largest NFL comeback in history should count for something in the playoffs and could, dare I say, take them all the way?

Which AFC team will play in the Super Bowl? Buffalo Bills

Auman: Combine a prolific quarterback like Josh Allen with the league's No. 2 defense and it makes it possible for the Buffalo Bills to knock off Kansas City, which isn't as complete a team. Allen has a chance to ramp up his elite status in the next month, but he'll have to outduel Patrick Mahomes just to get to the Super Bowl.

McKenna: Greg put it pretty simply. And I'm with him. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes are on a similar plane of elite quarterback play. It's 1a and 1b — with the No. 1 guy changing every week. What the Bills have that the Chiefs don't: an elite defense. Buffalo's front seven is beastly. They'll rough up Mahomes (and any other QB) just like the Bills did earlier this season when they beat Kansas City.

Schwartz: I'm sticking with my preseason pick of the Buffalo Bills, but I feel strongly that if not the Bills, it's the Bengals. The Bengals are playing a well-rounded type of football, with all three phases playing well. The Bengals do not make mistakes. They don't turn it over. They don't have busted coverages on defense. There are great benefits to being a team that just doesn't screw it up

Vitali: So many tragic things have happened to this Buffalo team over the course of the season. A teammate lost a brother, there were multiple record-breaking storms and then the NFL world stopped with Damar Hamlin. And while those things are much bigger than the game itself, I'm thinking Buffalo is due for something good at the very least and reaching the Super Bowl finally would help.

Chiefs dethroned atop Nick's Tiers, Bills & 49ers rise entering Week 18

Nick Wright, Chris Broussard, Kevin Wildes and Eric Mangini reveal Nick’s NFL Tiers entering Week 18, the final week of the regular season.

Runners up: Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals

David Helman: There are more complete teams in the AFC than the Chiefs but those teams don't have Patrick Mahomes. I know the Bengals got the best of the Chiefs just last year, but I'm not willing to bet against No. 15 just yet.

Which team will win the Super Bowl? Buffalo Bills

Auman: Buffalo hasn't dominated in turnover margin, and they don't have as steady a traditional run game as other top contenders. San Francisco is probably the closest in terms of being top-tier on both sides of the ball — can Stefon Diggs make more plays downfield to take Josh Allen to another level in a championship game?

Runners up: Bengals, Chiefs

Helman: I'll be honest; it's not a rational pick. There are at least three teams that have better overall rosters, if not four. It's just a testament to how absurdly well Patrick Mahomes is playing this year, and I just don't know how many teams can shut him down — remember, he's already embarrassed San Francisco once this year. As long as his supporting cast can stay relatively healthy through the playoffs, I think Mahomes is that good.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jets WR Garrett Wilson

McKenna: You've seen how poorly Zach Wilson played, right? And you've seen Mike White? And Joe Flacco? And Chris Streveler? That's what Garrett Wilson dealt with on his way to 83 catches, 1,103 yards and four touchdowns.

Vitali: I'm not sure any offensive rookie has meant more to his team's overall production.

Runners up: Seahawks RB Ken Walker III, 49ers QB Brock Purdy

Auman: This is an underwhelming rookie class, but Walker finished with 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, far more than any other rookie running back. It definitely isn't a quarterback, and Garrett Wilson has only four touchdowns as the best of the receivers, so Walker had the biggest hand in a successful team.            

Helman: It's not fair to a bunch of guys that have played a lot more ball than Purdy. But when Mr. Irrelevant takes over as your starting quarterback, it's not supposed to go well. Instead, the Niners may be the hottest team in football. Of course, the rest of the roster is stacked, but you need good quarterback play to make it all click.

Williams: Mr. Irrelevant has been a revelation for the 49ers. Since taking over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, the Iowa State product has led San Francisco to a 6-0 record as a starter, completing 68 percent of his passes for 1,308 yards, with 13 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. Purdy has been an efficient point guard for the offense, effectively distributing the ball to San Francisco's playmakers. 

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner

McKenna: If the Jets made the playoffs, Sauce Gardner would be a Defensive Player of the Year favorite. Yes, the FAVORITE. Sauce has been the best cornerback in the NFL this season. Period. There wasn't an offense that could get the ball past him on meaningful downs. He has allowed 33 catches on 73 targets (45.2%) for 344 yards while allowing just one touchdown. That's one touchdown allowed in the entire season! He added two interceptions. The Jets have a real building block.

Runners up: Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen, Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson

Auman: You can make a good argument for Gardner, but Woolen is tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions and still has 16 passes defensed, tied for fourth in the league. How does that guy slip to the fifth round?

Vitali: The second overall pick has been as advertised, even as Detroit got off to a slow start this season (especially the defense). But Hutchinson finished his first year with 9.5 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, the first time a player has done that since Richard Dent in 1990, let alone a rookie. They're the only defensive linemen in history to produce a season like that.

Top stories from FOX Sports:

The following writers contributed to this poll:

AFC South reporter Ben Arthur (@benyarthur)
NFC South reporter Greg Auman (@gregauman)
Dallas Cowboys reporter David Helman (@davidhelman_)
AFC East reporter Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis)
NFL and betting analyst Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz)
NFC West reporter Eric D. Williams (@eric_d_williams)
NFC East reporter Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano)
NFC North reporter Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV)


Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more