The 2021 football season is finally underway! In the first edition with an expanded regular season schedule of 17 games in 18 weeks – which will conclude with Super Bowl LVI, on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California – we’re poised to watch one of the most entertaining NFL seasons in recent years. After the fifth week of football action, things are already starting to take shape, with a few teams showing a lot of potential as title contenders.
After winning Super Bowl LV, the defending champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the season as the clear favorites to win it all again and make Tom Brady the first quarterback to win back-to-back titles with different franchises. After five weeks, however, the Buffalo Bills have shown they will put up a great fight this season, with amazing performances by Josh Allen. One of the best teams in the league in recent years, the Kansas City Chiefs are also among the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI.
With almost halfway into the regular season, the MVP race will certainly be a heavily disputed one, with Josh Allen, Tom Brady and Kyler Murray among the favorites to win the award, according to online gambling sites in Florida. Another interesting race should be for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, with Ja’Marr Chase, Mac Jones, and No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence as the favorites to win it. Dak Prescott, who is returning from a gruesome season-ending injury last year, is the overwhelming favorite to win the Comeback of the Year award.
Most Valuable Player
The 2021 season started with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the favorite to win the MVP award, but after five weeks of football action, things have shaken up a bit. Ahead of week 6, Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen leads the pack, at +400 odds to claim the award. So far, he threw for 12 touchdowns, 1370 yards, with only 3 interceptions and QB rating of 102.5.
Kyler Murray is another one to figure among the favorites, and his season start has been one of the best in his career. With an improved receiver corps, his performances, both on and off the pocket have been sensational, and he has led the Cardinals to a 5-0 record, the last undefeated team in the NFL. Murray also became the second quarterback in the Super Bowl era to go 5-0 with a 75+ completion percentage and 1500+ pass yards in the first 5 games of a season. The other quarterback to do so was Peyton Manning in 2013.
But can anyone still rule Tom Brady out of a MVP race after all we’ve seen from him in the past two decades? Just like fine wine, the veteran quarterback keeps on getting better, and his performances so far have shown us that he’s still the best in the league. He currently leads the NFL in passing yards, with 1767, and has thrown for 15 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions in five games.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Before the season kick-off, few people would have imagined that the Offensive Rookie of the Year award could slip from Trevor Lawrence’s fingers. One of the best college prospects in recent years, he was expected to cause an immediate impact in the Jacksonville Jaguars lineup. However, disappointing performances and Urban Meyer’s troublesome start have made Lawrence drop to third place among the favorites to win the award.
One of the pleasant surprises of this season so far, Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase rose from preseason bust to one of the favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, at +350 odds to do so. He’s just the third rookie in the last 30 years to record 5 touchdowns in the first five games of his career, and joined NFL legend Randy Moss as the only rookies to post 400+ yards and five touchdowns in their first five games.
Expected to be the second-string quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2021, Mac Jones took the starting role after Cam Newton was released by the team during final roster cuts, and has been showing us what Bill Belichick had seen in him. He’s currently at +400 odds to win the OROY award, and in New England’s week 5 matchup against the Texans, he became the only rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have a 70+ completion percentage on 30+ attempts in 4 of his first 5 career starts.