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NFL Awards: Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, Dak Prescott up for MVP, Offensive Player of the Year

Winners will be revealed during the NFL Honors show on Feb. 8

Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys have been announced as finalists for both the NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year awards.

Finalists for eight of The Associated Press' 2023 NFL awards were announced on Thursday. Voting took place before the end of the regular season. Winners will be revealed during the NFL Honors show on Feb. 8, three days before Super Bowl LVIII.

MVP

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

This looks to be Jackson's MVP to lose. The Ravens quarterback received 45 of 50 first-place votes when it was announced he made the AP's NFL All-Pro team earlier this month. The 2019 winner of this award, Jackson threw for 3,678 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was also dangerous on the ground, with 821 rushing yards and five touchdowns as Baltimore claimed the top seed in the AFC with a 13-4 record.

The voting breakdown will be interesting as there was a late push by Prescott, who finished with 4,516 passing yards and 36 touchdowns, tops in the NFL. He also recorded a career-best 105.9 passer rating as the Cowboys won the NFC East title.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

For a while, this looked like it was Hill's award all the way. He was threatening 2,000 receiving yards, but an ankle injury in December slowed his finish — though he still led the NFL with 1,799 receiving yards (50 more than Lamb) and was tied for first with Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans with 13 touchdowns (one more than Lamb).

McCaffrey was the NFL's rushing leader with 1,459 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns. A dual-threat, the 49ers running back also recorded 564 receiving yards and seven touchdowns from passes.

While Jackson may run away with the MVP, the OPOY award may not necessarily be a guarantee for him. Since 2003, the NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year has gone to the same player only 10 times, and only once since 2016 (Patrick Mahomes, 2018).

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T.J. Watt previously won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt previously won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) (Rob Carr via Getty Images)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

DaRon Bland, Dallas Cowboys
Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders
Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

If the winner is based on sacks — which has been the case the last two seasons — then Watt will win his second DPOY award in the last three seasons. The Steelers linebacker led the NFL with 19, the second-highest of his career. Crosby finished with 14.5 and Garrett and Parsons tied with 14. Bland had a remarkable sophomore season with a league-record five pick-sixes and nine total interceptions.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions
Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions
Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams
Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Stroud, the 2023 No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, led all rookies and finished eighth with 4,108 passing yards. He was also tops among first-year quarterbacks with 23 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

It's Nacua's presence that could make for an interesting vote count. The Rams' wide receiver broke the NFL’s record for receptions (105) and total receiving yards (1,486) by a rookie and also finished with six touchdowns as he developed into one of Matthew Stafford's favorite weapons.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Will Anderson, Houston Texans
Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles
Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers
Kobie Turner, Los Angeles Rams
Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks

Anderson just won the Pro Football Writers of America DROY after recording 45 tackles, seven sacks, 67 pressures, and 10 tackles for loss. His seven sacks set a Texans' franchise rookie record for a single season and his 67 pressures were best among all NFL rookies in 2023.

Carter, meanwhile, played 16 games for the Eagles and finished behind Anderson with six sacks. He also recorded 20 solo tackles and eight tackles for loss.

Turner starred for the Rams with nine sacks in his first season, and dominated off the field showing off his pipes when performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a recent Los Angeles Kings game.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns
Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills
Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

While each has a good story that helped them earn a spot as a finalist, it's hard to think this goes to anyone but Hamlin for what he had to go through just to return to the field after a near-death experience.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns

Four of the five finalists won their division, with Stefanski, the 2020 winner of this award, guiding the Browns to a second-place finish in the AFC North behind Harbaugh's Ravens. Campbell led the Lions to their first division title since 1993, while Ryans helped the Texans to a 10-7 record and the AFC South title in his first season after the franchise finished 3-13-1 in 2022.

ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR

Ben Johnson (offensive coordinator), Detroit Lions
Mike Macdonald (defensive coordinator), Baltimore Ravens
Todd Monken (offensive coordinator), Baltimore Ravens
Jim Schwartz (defensive coordinator), Cleveland Browns
Bobby Slowik (offensive coordinator), Houston Texans

The Browns defensive was the top-ranked unit in the NFL in 2023 thanks to Schwartz's scheming. The Lions (seventh), Ravens (ninth), and Texans (12th) were among the league's best offenses. Macdonald's Ravens' defense was not far behind the Browns with 301.4 yards allowed per game, sixth best in the league.