The 2014 NFL Honors Awards Show is set for the night before Super Bowl XLVIII. It's the third annual NFL Honors show, at which the major NFL awards for the regular season will be handed out. The Associated Press will announce their annual awards, including MVP, offensive and defensive players of the year and rookie awards.
As far as the show itself is concerned, it will be hosted by actor Alex Baldwin ad begin at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. The show is live from Radio City Music Hall, the longtime home of the NFL Draft. Outside of the yearly awards, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's newest class of enshrinees will be introduced as well.
The big ticket is obviously the MVP award. Said award is voted on by a nationwide media panel of 50 people who cover the league at the conclusion of the regular season. But there's plenty of other awards to talk about, so we'll touch up on the bigger ones below.
AP Most Valuable Player
This award is pretty much unanimous at this point. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who happens to be playing in a pretty important game on Sunday, is a shoe-in for this award. To call this a "prediction" is to create the possibility that this award goes to someone else. It's just not going to.
Manning had the best statistical season of any quarterback ever. Not only did Manning break the record for yardage in a single season, he broke the touchdown record, and the team around him broke multiple yardage and points-scored records on top of that.
If you need the stats and remain unconvinced -- you're the only one. But here they are: Manning threw for a whopping 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, with a completion percentage of 68.3 percent, all while leading the Broncos to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. There have been plenty other solid players this season, but Manning is a mile ahead. You can find out who else is close below.
AP Offensive Player of the Year
The offensive player of the year award is also obviously Manning's. It's not altogether unlikely that an offensive player can win MVP but not offensive player of the year, but it's not happening this year. Manning wasn't just his team's most valuable player, he was the best offensive player in the league.
That doesn't mean there weren't some other All-Pro performances. Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, with injury concerns and the fact that he's getting up there in years and all, had his best season yet. He helped the Chiefs make it to the playoffs and put up 1,980 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns.
It was definitely the best offensive season for a player not named Peyton Manning, thanks to those touchdown numbers. But another running back deserves to be in the discussion as well: Philadelphia Eagles back LeSean McCoy. He took the rushing title this year with 1,607 rushing yards and 2,146 total yards. He fell short of Charles in the touchdown column though, with "just" 11 touchdowns.
AP Defensive Player of the Year
This is where things actually get contested. There are multiple defensive player of the year candidates this year. Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict led the league in tackles, but he's not regarded as the best inside linebacker this year. That honor falls to Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers. Kuechly gets a ton of tackle -- with 126 combined this season to go along with two sacks and four interceptions.
Kuechly is considered the favorite to win the award this year. He led a Carolina defense that was among the best in the league, and helped them to the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Kuechly's biggest competition might be a pair of pass rushers in Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams -- 19 sacks, with seven forced fumbles -- and Robert Mathis -- 19.5 sacks and making his sixth Pro Bowl.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is a dark horse candidate, as well. Sherman will be playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, but during the regular season, he led the NFL in interceptions with eight. His play in the playoffs has been extraordinary, but going by the regular season, there are other guys ahead of him, it seems.
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
The offensive rookie of the year award comes down to two players, essentially. The first is Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy. After being passed over by multiple teams due to injury concerns, Lacy fell to the Packers in the second round of the NFL Draft. He ran hard all season, putting up 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 257 yards through the air. Lacy surely has a bright future in the NFL, and seeing the Packers with a running game is ... weird.
Other than Lacy, who is the favorite, there's San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. San Diego was hit with a ton of injuries to its group of receiving targets this year, but Allen stepped up big time. He put up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns, with an average of 14.7 yards per reception. He also put up 367 yards after the catch, and had 54 first downs on the season. He caught 16 passes of 20 yards or more and had an average of 69.7 receiving yards per game. Yeah, he's pretty good.
Still, Lacy is likely the favorite to win this one.
AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
Defensive rookie of the year seems like it could be a lot closer than the offensive award. New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson seems to be the favorite. He was the first defensive tackle selected in the past draft, and he was dominant throughout the season, but particularly in the second half. He put up 77 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Then there's Kiko Alonso of the Buffalo Bills. The linebacker was all over the field for a Buffalo defense that was underrated by many and much better than expected. He finished the season with 159 total tackles, the third-most in the NFL. He also added two sacks, four interceptions, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He also had nine pass deflections. He was all over the field and could easily take the award this year.
Among the remaining awards, the biggest is the Coach of the Year award, which could go to any number of coaches, including Andy Reid of the Chiefs, Ron Rivera of the Panthers, Chip Kelly of the Eagles or even Bruce Arians of the surprisingly solid Arizona Cardinals.
Then you have the Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Year, the FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year, the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year, the Bridgestone Performance Play of the Year, the NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year, the Greatness on the Road Award, the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, the Salute To Service Award and the Deacon Jones Award.
That's a lot of awards. Tune in Saturday night to see who wins what. It will be broadcast on FOX.