Another NFL Regular Season in the books. Navigating Covid threw some wrenches in the scheduling, but overall, not too shabby. It was a wild week 17 with so much left to be determined from seeding to who’s in / who’s out. Before diving into the thick of this, here is a quick look at the seeding and Wild Card matchups for the the playoffs.

AFC
1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Buffalo Bills
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Tennessee Titans
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Cleveland Browns
7. Indianapolis Colts

Wildcard Matchups
Colts @ Bills
Browns @ Steelers
Ravens @ Titans

NFC
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Washington Football Team
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Los Angeles Rams
7. Chicago Bears

Wildcard Matchups
Bears @ Saints
Rams @ Seahawks
Bucs @ WFT

My Hits and Whiffs

Hit – Aaron Rodgers – Pissed Off Aaron Makes a Run at MVP
“The last two times Aaron Rodgers was not in the top 10 players, he won an MVP. Maybe it happens again. Leadership quality aside, Aaron Rodgers playing pissed off usually means dominance. After the Packers drafted Jordan Love and wasting yet another first rounder on a non position player, I could see Rodgers blowing up the season.”

Whiff – Rams – 7-9
“Too many bad contracts. Too top heavy. Tough division. Not a good enough QB. Plain and simple. Sean McVay needs to head for door as soon as he can.”

Hit – Jamal Adams – Leads Team in Sacks
“Jamal Adams was a huge pickup for a defense that desperately needs playmakers and some help. His versatility will make them better, but there is a good chance he leads Seattle in sacks. That is not something to be highlighted for a starting safety.”

Whiff – Dolphins – 5-11
“I wrote after the season that Miami over-performed in 2019. They won five games with a roster that should have won -1. I think they at least match last season’s win total with a better roster. They still have some work to do, but Brian Flores has them trending in the right direction. I love that they didn’t overthink on this year’s draft and grabbed Tua right away, along with some lineman to protect their biggest asset.”

Hit – Bucs – 11 wins
“The offense is loaded. They addressed their biggest need at offensive line to protect Tom Brady. The defense was top 5 or top 10 in nearly every major category last year except points and yards which can be attributed to the turnovers by Jameis Winston.”

Whiff – Bills – Not Enough Love
“I have the Bills remaining par for the course in 2020 at 10-6. However, I think people will feel more confident about the Bills potential late in the season. They are a building a nice ship moving forward. Of course the biggest wave made in the off-season was trading for receiver Stefon Diggs. That will give Josh Allen and his mega arm a great downfield weapon.”

Hit – Jaguars – Trevor
“Tank for Trevor is in full effect.”

Whiff – The NFC East
It was a shit show. So were my predictions on the entire division.

NFL Awards

MVP – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Stats: 70.7%, 4,299 yards, 48 TDs, 5 INTs

Rodgers does it again. He is my pick and I think he runs away with this award for the third time in his career. I remember a few years ago when people thought he was done because of how “poor” he was playing. Aaron Rodgers’ poor play is most QBs best day. This marks the third time in his career tossing 40+ TDs. This is also his 10th season in a row with less than 10 interceptions, aiding him to the highest TD/INT ratio of all time. In his prolific season in 2011 when he edged out Drew Brees for MVP, he threw a TD on 9.0% of his passes. He just topped that in 2020 with 9.1%.

Others Considered: Patrick Mahomes

OPOY – Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Stats: 378 carries, 2,027 yards, 17 TDs, 5.4 ypc

Becoming the 8th back in league history with 2,000 rush yards puts Henry in rare company. Doing that in 2020 is remarkable given the league’s shift to pass heavy. The Titans are one of the few teams who resemble what football was when I was growing up in the mid 2000s with a slew of feature backs. Although there are other great offensive players, I also think this award is a runaway.

Others Considered: Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs

DPOY – Xavien Howard, Miami Dolphins
Stats: 51 tackles, 10 INTs, 20 PDs / Opposing QBs against him: 45/93, 595 yards, 4 TDs / 10 INTs, 43.8 QB Rating

The last time a defender snagged double digit INTs was 2007. Howard led the league in interceptions and batted passes helping a stellar Miami defense in 2020. That defense helped them to 10 wins on the season, despite the collapse in Week 17.

Others Considered: Aaron Donald, TJ Watt

OROY – Justin Herbert
Stats: 66.6%, 4,336 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs

It feels wrong slighting Jefferson. It feels more wrong slighting Herbert. Ultimately, I think Jefferson ends up winning this, but I think this should go to Herbert. He looks like his is going to be an absolute stud for the Chargers. I love his poise. He is calm, cool and collected at all times. The Chargers were not too good in 2020, but it certainly isn’t on the rookie’s shoulders. He led the Chargers to 3 game winning drives. Herbert only started 15 games. He fell just shy of Andrew Luck’s rookie passing yardage record by 38 yards. He broke the record for passing TDs by a rookie with 31. He also owns the rookie record for most 300 yard games in a season with 8.

Others Considered: Justin Jefferson

DROY – Chase Young
Stats: 44 Tackles, 7.5 Sacks, 19 Pressures, 4 Forced Fumbles, 3 Fumble Recoveries, Defensive TD

I would like to say that this is does not make me wrong on my take on Chase Young. The reality is, this rookie class on the defensive side didn’t have too many guys pop out in year 1. Young had a great finish to the season in the last month or so. One area Young has been stellar is run support. However, pass rushers are more important pieces in today’s NFL. There, he has underperformed. I will never deny his raw talent or leadership. The same thing I said when drafted still shows up, he is very one dimensional. As long as he is fast and strong, he will be ok. But, I still think the hype train is giving him too much credit. The Football Team is deep up front. Both Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen were more effective at getting to the QB, ranking ahead of the rookie in pressures and Sweat finished ahead in sacks. Young finishes the year 64th in total pressures and 32nd in sacks. One of the arguments for the lower totals is how much he commands double teams. The reality is good pass rushers are going to absorb double teams. The best pass rushers will beat those double teams. Here is a look at other edge rushers as rookies and their pressure numbers…

  • Brian Burns – 7.5 / 23
  • Joey Bosa – 10.5 / 80
  • Nick Bosa – 9.5 / 45
  • Bradley Chubb – 12.5 / 36
  • TJ Watt – 7.0 / 33
  • Chase Young – 7.5 / 19

Answer, yes he deserves rookie of the year. Answer, I still haven’t been proven wrong on him.

Others Considered: Patrick Queen, Jeremy Chinn, Antoine Winfield

Comeback POY – Alex Smith
Stats: It doesn’t even matter

This award needs to be his and it will be his. Then, the award should be named in his honor. After more than a dozen surgeries plus being told he may lose his leg, he was not supposed to walk again, let alone play again. Here we are. This is the comeback story of a lifetime. This was hands down the best feel good moment of the entire NFL season watching him walk out onto the field as his family looked on.

Others Considered: Not a fucking soul

Coach – Sean McDermott
Record: 13-3

I think a debate could be made for 4-5 guys here. I would put my vote on McDermott, although I think Kevin Stefanski ends up with the award. The reason I would put McDermott is one reason and one reason only…Josh Allen. Talk about improvement each season. He went from a raw and unpolished gamer to a top 6-7 QB easily. He has become less erratic with his arm. That offense has become lightning in a bottle as a result. Watch it explode.

Others Considered: Brian Flores, Kevin Stefanski, Frank Reich

Hotard Huddle All Pro Roster (1st / Second Team)

QB – Aaron Rodgers / Patrick Mahomes
RB – Derrick Henry / Dalvin Cook
WR – DeAndre Hopkins / Stefon Diggs
WR – Davante Adams / Tyreek Hill
TE – Travis Kelce / Darren Waller
Flex – Alvin Kamara / Justin Jefferson
LT – Trent Williams / David Bakhtiari
LG – Joel Bitonio / Quenton Nelson
C – Corey Linsley / Frank Ragnow
RG – Wyatt Teller / Zack Martin
RT – Jack Conklin / Ryan Ramczyk

Edge – TJ Watt / Myles Garrett
Edge – Joey Bosa / Khalil Mack
DI – Aaron Donald / Deforest Buckner
DI – Chris Jones / Leonard Williams
LB – Bobby Wagner / Eric Kendricks
LB – Roquan Smith / Fred Warner
CB – Xavien Howard / Jaire Alexander
CB – Jalen Ramsey / Tre’Davious White
S – Tyrann Mathieu / Jamal Adams
S – Harrison Smith / Minkah Fitzpatrick

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