It’s Week 9 of the 2020 NFL season, which means we’re officially about to cross the halfway point of the regular-season schedule. Despite some flare-ups of COVID-19 concerns, not a single game has been stripped from the docket. And while we’ve got a long way to go before we can crown division champions and truly forecast this year’s playoff picture, it’s not too early to adjust our preseason picks for all the major awards and accolades.
With eight weeks of football in the books, we decided to update our predictions for:
- Super Bowl LV champion
- Super Bowl LV MVP
- Regular-season MVP
- Offensive Player of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Coach of the Year
- Comeback Player of the Year
- Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Defensive Rookie of the Year
Here’s the full cast of CBS Sports NFL experts who made picks this time around: NFL insider Jason La Canfora, senior writer Pete Prisco, Pick Six Podcast host Will Brinson, senior reporter Jonathan Jones, and staff writers Cody Benjamin, John Breech, Bryan DeArdo, Jared Dubin, Josh Edwards, Jeff Kerr, Tyler Sullivan, Patrik Walker and Ryan Wilson.
Agree with our predictions? Disagree? Just pumped for football to still be in full swing? Either way, sit back, relax and enjoy:
Super Bowl LV champion
Jason La Canfora: Steelers
Just a very balanced football team.
Pete Prisco: Chiefs
As long as Patrick Mahomes is slinging it around, they are the favorites to win it. The defense is getting better as well.
Will Brinson: Colts
Going to ride out my preseason pick here since they look good on both sides of the ball. I would pair them up with the Bucs if I had a second chance, however. Old man’s game!
Jonathan Jones: Chiefs
The most unstoppable team in the NFL this season isn’t stopped on their way to a repeat title.
Ryan Wilson: Buccaneers
The Bucs are still finding their form and while doing so they’re already the best team in the NFC. They’re only going to get better as that young defense continues to gel and Antonio Brown gets comfortable in Tom Brady’s offense.
John Breech: Buccaneers
In the year of crazy, nothing would be crazier than the Buccaneers becoming the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in their own stadium, so I’m just going to go ahead and predict it happens.
Jared Dubin: Chiefs
I’m not picking against Patrick Mahomes.
Cody Benjamin: Buccaneers
The Chiefs deserve all the buzz they’re getting among our experts here, and the Steelers make sense as an AFC alternative. But forgive me for failing to write off Tom Brady, a solid Todd Bowles defense and a loaded offense that’s yet to debut Antonio Brown.
Tyler Sullivan: Chiefs
I think we’re a bit too enamored with #LetRussCook, the undefeated Steelers, and Tompa Bay; and it’s making us forget about the defending champs. They’ll flip a switch soon and start rolling to a consecutive Lombardi.
Patrik Walker: Chiefs
Even after their anomalous upset at the hands of the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5 — their sole loss on the season — the reigning Super Bowl champs are not only still firing on all cylinders, but they’ve actually figured out how to go faster.
Bryan DeArdo: Chiefs
The Chiefs’ 29th-ranked run defense scares me a little, but not enough to go away from picking the champions to defend their title. They still have the league’s best player, arguably its best coach, and an offense that is scoring 31.6 points per game.
Jeff Kerr: Chiefs
Kansas City was my preseason pick. They are 7-1 and Patrick Mahomes is playing just as well as his MVP season. Why change it?
Josh Edwards: Steelers
Pittsburgh has capitalized on its continuity with Ben Roethlisberger back in the fold. They are flush with talent on offense and the defense has come to life in recent weeks. There may not be a more well-rounded team in the NFL.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Chiefs (7)
- Buccaneers (3)
- Steelers (2)
- Colts (1)
Super Bowl LV MVP
Jason La Canfora: T.J. Watt
He is blowing things up on a defensive line that is probably the best in football.
Pete Prisco: Patrick Mahomes
He’s the best player at the best position in the league. On the biggest stage, he will show it again.
Will Brinson: Philip Rivers
Sticking with the pick, because he’s a QB and I have the Colts winning.
Jonathan Jones: Patrick Mahomes
Ryan Wilson: Tom Brady
It just makes too much sense not to happen, especially since the Patriots are having a down year without him.
John Breech: Tom Brady
If the Bucs actually win, Brady will either head to the MVP podium to announce his retirement after the game or announce that he’s playing for 10 more years. I’m guessing the second one.
Jared Dubin: Patrick Mahomes
It’s always the quarterback.
Cody Benjamin: Tom Brady
If the Bucs win it all, Brady will spread the ball all over the field — to Chris Godwin, to Antonio Brown, to Mike Evans, and so on. Easy path to fifth Super Bowl MVP.
Tyler Sullivan: Travis Kelce
Don’t look now, but Kelce is arguably in the midst of a career year. I expect Patrick Mahomes’ go-to weapon to continue his hot 2020 into the postseason and catch a couple of scores in Super Bowl LV, giving him MVP honors.
Patrik Walker: Patrick Mahomes
Play that song again, DJ. I expect he’ll double his ring count this season, and so who else could possibly be named SB MVP when he does it?
Bryan DeArdo: Travis Kelce
We’ve never had a tight end win Super Bowl MVP (Shannon Sharpe may have, had he not gotten hurt early in Super Bowl XXXIII, but I digress), but Kelce has a good chance to end that drought if the Chiefs get back to the big game. The All-Pro currently leads the team in receptions (48), yards (610) and is second with six touchdown catches.
Jeff Kerr: Tyreek Hill
Went with Hill in the preseason. Again, why change it? He and Mahomes are finding their chemistry.
Josh Edwards: T.J. Watt
Pittsburgh’s front seven has been phenomenal, which is why I gave them the advantage over Kansas City in the AFC. Watt is a big reason for their success.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Patrick Mahomes (4)
- Tom Brady (3)
- Travis Kelce (2)
- T.J. Watt (2)
- Philip Rivers (1)
- Tyreek Hill (1)
Regular season MVP
Jason La Canfora: Russell Wilson
Good things happen when you let Russ cook.
Pete Prisco: Russell Wilson
He’s carrying the team right now.
Will Brinson: Russell Wilson
This is a no-brainer call with the way that Russ has played and with how the Seahawks are winning.
Jonathan Jones: Russell Wilson
He’s pretty clearly the favorite right now, and Tom Brady or Mahomes would need a magnificent second half to catch him.
Ryan Wilson: Russell Wilson
He’s been the best player in the league and he deserves to win it. Pretty straight forward.
John Breech: Russell Wilson
It’s ironic that he’s never received a single MVP vote because he might get all of them this year.
Jared Dubin: Russell Wilson
Seahawks Twitter convincing Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer to Let Russ Cook made Seattle a much better team.
Cody Benjamin: Russell Wilson
It’s astounding how much better he’s been than other seasons, when he’s still been legitimate MVP material.
Tyler Sullivan: Russell Wilson
The narrative was already in place before the season started and Wilson has only backed it up with this stellar play throughout the first half of the season. Only way he loses it in my mind is if the injury bug bites him.
Patrik Walker: Russell Wilson
Give Wilson his roses while he can still enjoy them. It’s a crime that Wilson hasn’t yet won a league MVP award, but this season should be different.
Bryan DeArdo: Russell Wilson
Wilson was in the running to win his first league MVP last season. He’s having an even better start to his 2020 season. While his interceptions are up, Wilson has also increased his completion percentage and is on pace to throw a league-record 59 touchdown passes.
Jeff Kerr: Russell Wilson
His 26 TD passes through seven games are the second-most all time. He’s the clubhouse leader over Mahomes.
Josh Edwards: Russell Wilson
There is no flawless season, but Russell Wilson is playing as close to flawless football as possible.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Russell Wilson (13)
Offensive Player of the Year
Jason La Canfora: Kyler Murray
Can he run and throw them into the playoffs?
Pete Prisco: Russell Wilson
The numbers are amazing. How many TD passes will he throw?
Will Brinson: Alvin Kamara
My preseason prediction, Kamara has helped buoy the Saints offense through injuries as he’s become a funnel for Drew Brees’ dump-off passes.
Jonathan Jones: Derrick Henry
He leads the league in rushing attempts and rushing yards, and by the end of the year he’ll be bumping against 2,000 total scrimmage yards for a playoff team.
Ryan Wilson: Aaron Rodgers
The Packers appear uninterested in getting Rodgers help at WR and he still has been dominant.
John Breech: Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes is having another huge year and if Russell Wilson didn’t exist, he’s probably the MVP.
Jared Dubin: Patrick Mahomes
I feel like they usually don’t give this award to the same guy that wins MVP, so I’ll go with the next guy.
Cody Benjamin: Alvin Kamara
A few QBs deserve consideration, but no one offers as much electricity, versatility and video-game production as this guy.
Tyler Sullivan: Alvin Kamara
With Michael Thomas missing the bulk of the season and Drew Brees showing signs of decline, Kamara has been the engine to the Saints offense. The back leads the league from scrimmage yards and is averaging seven yards per touch.
Patrik Walker: Lamar Jackson
Hey, it’s a quarterback-driven league, and in a year that’s seen Christian McCaffrey miss significant time with injury, there’s not a lot of non-QB competition for Jackson here, although Derrick Henry could execute a coup here. Even if he’s just a smidge less dynamic due to some adjustments in Baltimore’s play-calling, he’s still a nightmare to defend.
Bryan DeArdo: Patrick Mahomes
The 2018 MVP, Mahomes is in the midst of another prolific season. He’s currently on pace to throw for 4,630 yards with 42 touchdowns and two interceptions (no, you’re not reading that wrong). Wilson may get the MVP, but Mahomes’ status as the league’s best quarterback remains intact.
Jeff Kerr: Patrick Mahomes
First player in NFL history with 20+ TD passes and one INT or fewer through the first eight games of a season. Mahomes is playing at a MVP level.
Josh Edwards: DeAndre Hopkins
There were questions about how DeAndre Hopkins would mesh in Arizona, but those concerns were quickly squashed. Hopkins has four games with more than 100+ receiving yards. The touchdown numbers need to rise, though.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Patrick Mahomes (4)
- Alvin Kamara (3)
- Russell Wilson (1)
- Aaron Rodgers (1)
- Derrick Henry (1)
- DeAndre Hopkins (1)
- Kyler Murray (1)
- Lamar Jackson (1)
Defensive Player of the Year
Jason La Canfora: Myles Garrett
He might mess around and bag 18 sacks.
Pete Prisco: Aaron Donald
He has nine sacks and has been a force on a good defense.
Will Brinson: Myles Garrett
Coming off a suspension and a contract, Garrett’s been dynamic as a pass rusher this season, helping the Browns push for the playoffs.
Jonathan Jones: Myles Garrett
Garrett wins in a close one with Aaron Donald.
Ryan Wilson: T.J. Watt
He’s dominant as a pass rusher, a run stuffer and even in coverage. And he’s doing it on one of the most aggressive defenses in the league.
John Breech: T.J. Watt
Watt’s been the best player on one of the best defenses.
Jared Dubin: T.J. Watt
I’ll preface this by saying that Aaron Donald should win. He is the best defensive player in the league. But the Steelers are better than the Rams and the Steelers defense is carrying the team and Watt gets the most attention among the great Steelers defenders, so it’ll be Watt.
Cody Benjamin: Aaron Donald
T.J. Watt has been great, but he’s not been the best. Donald remains a freak of nature up the middle, where he leads the NFL in sacks to go along with 11 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Tyler Sullivan: T.J. Watt
The key piece to Pittsburgh’s dominant defense is tied for a league-high 12 tackles for loss to go along with 6.5 sacks and an interception on the year.
Patrik Walker: Aaron Donald
This guy’s been here before, and he deserves to land the honor again. Donald is on an absolute tear in 2020, and what makes his production that much more insane is the fact the two-time DPOY is tied for most sacks in the league (9) from the defensive interior — not the edge.
Bryan DeArdo: Aaron Donald
The future Hall of Fame defensive tackle should start making room for his fourth DPOY trophy.
Jeff Kerr: Myles Garrett
Garrett leads the NFL in sacks (9) and forced fumbles (4). He’s been a force for the resurgent Browns. Slight edge over Marlon Humphrey.
Josh Edwards: Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett is tied for the league lead in sacks, but his turnover-forcing plays set him apart. Garrett has had four forced fumbles and a few have come in crucial situations for the surprisingly 5-2 Browns.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Myles Garrett (5)
- T.J. Watt (4)
- Aaron Donald (4)
Coach of the Year
Jason La Canfora: Bruce Arians
Tom Brady has won a lot of hardware for a lot of people over the years.
Pete Prisco: Brian Flores
It’s amazing to think he has this team in the playoff race. They have the best scoring defense in the league.
Will Brinson: Mike Tomlin
How can you not give it to the guy whose team is undefeated, especially on a follow-up to the great Duck Hodges Tour of 2019?
Jonathan Jones: Mike Tomlin
He’s one win shy of securing his 14th consecutive non-losing season, and he’s nine games shy of wrapping up his first Coach of the Year award.
Ryan Wilson: Brian Flores
We’ll see how things work out with Tua, but the Dolphins make the turn as the No. 2 team in the AFC East and are above .500.
John Breech: Mike Tomlin
The Steelers are the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team and a big reason for that is because of their defense, which is Tomlin’s specialty.
Jared Dubin: Brian Flores
The Dolphins might win nine games. If they do, I’m betting Flores gets the nod over a coach of an 11- or 12-win team.
Cody Benjamin: Mike Tomlin
The Steelers could very easily be 10-0 going into a Thanksgiving game against Baltimore. Tomlin’s the obvious front-runner.
Tyler Sullivan: Mike Tomlin
We should have seen this coming after a near playoff berth without Big Ben a season ago.
Patrik Walker: Mike Tomlin
Don’t kid yourselves here. Tomlin has the Steelers with an 8-0 record — the only undefeated team in the league — and in the process has drafted and instantly made rookie receiver Chase Claypool a megastar. With an aging Ben Roethlisberger returning from elbow surgery in 2020, the Steelers offense keeps on churning while the defense mauls teams on-demand. Tomlin is the best in the biz.
Bryan DeArdo: Mike Tomlin
A year after having arguably his best season on the sideline, Tomlin and the Steelers are off to the franchise’s first 7-0 start since 1978. A big reason for the Steelers’ success has been Tomlin’s role in creating a culture that prioritizes team success over individual accolades.
Jeff Kerr: Brian Flores
The Dolphins went from last to first in points per game allowed, on pace to become the first team in league history to accomplish that feat in a 16-game season. They are 9-7 in their last 16 games and 4-3 on the year.
Josh Edwards: Brian Flores
Miami upgraded the baseline talent level on their roster this offseason, but Brian Flores continues to exceed expectations and now has the Dolphins in a position to compete within the AFC East.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Mike Tomlin (7)
- Brian Flores (5)
- Bruce Arians (1)
Comeback Player of the Year
Jason La Canfora: Alex Smith
Just getting back on the field was a miracle.
Pete Prisco: Alex Smith
He played. End of argument. It’s an amazing story.
Will Brinson: Alex Smith
Who else can it be? Dude played in a football game!
Jonathan Jones: Ben Roethlisberger
He has 15 passing touchdowns and four picks for the last undefeated team in the NFL one year after having a serious elbow injury.
Ryan Wilson: Alex Smith
He doesn’t have to take another snap to win this award.
John Breech: Alex Smith
He’s only played a few snaps this year, but it’s a miracle that he’s played any, which is why he should get this award.
Jared Dubin: Alex Smith
This man won the moment he stepped on a field.
Cody Benjamin: Ben Roethlisberger
Alex Smith deserves all the credit in the world for returning from scary injuries, but Roethlisberger has flat-out meant more in 2020, seamlessly returning to top-10 form on an undefeated contender
Tyler Sullivan: Ben Roethlisberger
You could give this to Alex Smith, but Roethlisberger has his Steelers at 7-0 on the season, is completing nearly 68 percent of his passes and is on pace for 34 touchdowns after missing most of 2019 due to an elbow injury.
Patrik Walker: Alex Smith
Entering the season, it was defensive end Aldon Smith who led the chase to CPOTY in 2020, and he’s rightfully still right there and could take the honor, but what Alex Smith has achieved in his return to football is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Bryan DeArdo: Ben Roethlisberger
A year after missing 14 games, Roethlisberger is off to the best start of his career and is a big reason for Pittsburgh’s 7-0 start. He’s on pace to throw 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.
Jeff Kerr: Alex Smith
Ben Roethlisberger would get it if not for Smith’s comeback.
Josh Edwards: Alex Smith
No one has physically blown away their competition for this award, so the answer is Smith. His journey back to the football field has been awe-inspiring.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Alex Smith (9)
- Ben Roethlisberger (4)
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Jason La Canfora: Joe Burrow
He got just enough of a head start on Justin Herbert.
Pete Prisco: Joe Burrow
He is everything I thought he would be and more. He is a star in the making.
Will Brinson: Joe Burrow
You could argue Justin Herbert or Justin Jefferson if you want, but I’m taking the guy doing the most with the least in Cincy.
Jonathan Jones: Justin Jefferson
He leads all rookies in receiving yards (563) and has the third highest yards per catch (18.2) among all qualifying receivers. The rookie QBs haven’t won enough for me.
Ryan Wilson: Justin Herbert
Joe Burrow is 1a on this list but I expected Burrow to ball out. I didn’t see it coming with Herbert, who has been awesome.
John Breech: Joe Burrow
Burrow has totally reinvigorated the franchise that needed to be reinvigorated.
Jared Dubin: Justin Herbert
I’m as surprised as you are.
Cody Benjamin: Justin Herbert
Joe Burrow is more popular by default (and has been good!), but Herbert’s been more productive, plain and simple, even if the wins aren’t there. Clyde Edwards-Helaire also deserves consideration with more scrimmage yards than all but three players.
Tyler Sullivan: Joe Burrow
The No. 1 overall pick is as-advertised, throwing for over 300 yards in five of his first eight starts and on pace for over 4,500 yards in his rookie season. If he keeps it up, he’ll run away with the award.
Patrik Walker: Chase Claypool
Under Tomlin’s tutelage, Claypool has burst onto the NFL scene and has Steelers fans forgetting Antonio Brown ever existed. The rookie receiver has been absolutely dominant in Year One, shredding opposing defenses like a premium first-round pick.
Bryan DeArdo: Joe Burrow
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has led the Bengals to as many wins through seven games this season than they had during the entire 2019 season. Burrow, who leads the league in attempts and completions, is on pace to throw for 4,544 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is also completing 67 percent of his passes.
Jeff Kerr: Joe Burrow
In Burrow’s first eight games, he has the most completions by a QB (221) since 1950. His 2,272 passing yards are second-most in that span. The Bengals are a competent football team because of him.
Josh Edwards: Joe Burrow
Justin Herbert is standing at the doorstep, but the door has not been opened yet. The poise Burrow has shown through extreme adversity is remarkable. If anyone can overcome Cincinnati’s attempt to self-sabotage, it is him.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Joe Burrow (7)
- Justin Herbert (3)
- Justin Jefferson (1)
- Chase Claypool (1)
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Jason La Canfora: Chase Young
He’s gonna have a monster second half.
Pete Prisco: Chase Young
He has been all over the quarterback in terms of pressures. He has 2.5 sacks, but those numbers will rise in the second half to closer to 10.
Will Brinson: Antoine Winfield Jr.
Hope he gets more than one vote, because he’s been freaking awesome, including a pretty controversial game-saving play at the end of Week 8.
Jonathan Jones: Jeremy Chinn
He leads all rookies in tackles and has been a fantastic, versatile player for Carolina at safety and linebacker.
Ryan Wilson: Antoine Winfield Jr.
He may be undersized but he’s always around the ball making plays. He needs to be a little more consistent, but he’s an integral part of the Bucs’ young secondary.
John Breech: Chase Young
Jared Dubin: Patrick Queen
Barring a sack spree from Chase Young, I think Queen takes it down due to tackle volume.
Cody Benjamin: Jaylon Johnson
Johnson’s numbers aren’t gaudy, but the rookie corner has been a big reason for Chicago’s defensive dominance. If he can get a few turnovers down the stretch, he’ll quickly draw consideration as a future top cover man.
Tyler Sullivan: Patrick Queen
Chase Young was the defensive prize of the 2020 NFL Draft, but Patrick Queen was also quite the find for Baltimore. The rookie linebacker has been a key piece to their defense, totaling 48 tackles. two sacks and two forced fumbles.
Patrik Walker: Chase Young
Simply put, Young is every bit as advertised. The rookie is a force to be reckoned with in Washington, so much so the team was forced to relegate resident legend Ryan Kerrigan to rotational duty sooner than they had probably anticipated.
Bryan DeArdo: Antoine Winfield Jr.
Winfield, whose father enjoyed a successful career as an NFL cornerback, is off to a sensational start in Tampa Bay. The 45th overall pick, Winfield has tallied 44 tackles, two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and four passes defensed.
Jeff Kerr: Patrick Queen
Queen has two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries and two sacks, fulfilling the Ravens’ desire for a play-making linebacker.
Josh Edwards: Antoine Winfield Jr.
This award is truly up for grabs in the second half of the season. There is no clear leader at this time.
THE FINAL TALLY:
- Antoine Winfield Jr. (4)
- Chase Young (4)
- Patrick Queen (3)
- Jaylon Johnson (1)
- Jeremy Chinn (1)