Hello, football fans and welcome to the Fuel Tank! In this exciting column, we will be breaking down one of the hottest NFL debate topics and then I will be giving my viewpoint on the topic while breaking down why the opposition is false. Please don’t bash anyone or post any hateful comments as everyone has a right to their own opinion! With that said, let’s jump right into today’s story.
Besides MVP, one of the more thrilling award debates of the NFL is the debate on who should win Offensive Player of the Year. With the MVP, it’s between two god-tier players (Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers); on the other hand, it’s between the wrecking ball that is Derrick Henry, the all-around beast that is Dalvin Cook, and the unstoppable force that is Travis Kelce. These three players have all had remarkable seasons, yet only one can take home the award.
Who’s my pick? Well, it’s none other than King Derrick Henry himself, and here’s why:
1. Stats don’t lie
He’s leading the league in rushing yards with 1,532 heading into Week 15, he’s averaging over five yards per attempt, he’s averaging over 117 rushing yards per game, and he’s tied with Dalvin Cook for the most rushing touchdowns this season at 14.
He also has the most yards after contact at 816 yards and he’s second in scrimmage yards at 1641, only behind Cook by just 33 yards. At this rate and with the stats backing him up, he’s definitely the best running back this season; moreover, we could see the eight 2,000 rushing yard season in NFL history. This isn’t the only reason though:
2. He’s the focal point of the Titan’s offense and success
Without Henry on this Titans’ offense, their record would be drastically different. There aren’t many players that could do the things he could like plowing through defenders without a moment’s notice and burst away into huge gains for the rest of the offense, which creates easier opportunities for them to score.
Without Henry, the Titans would drop a majority of their close games like their Week 3 game versus the Vikings, their Week 6 game against the Texans (Henry ran for over 200 yards that day), and their Week 11 game against Baltimore.
As for him being the focal point of their offense, if Henry can’t get going, the Titans are more likely to lose. We saw this in their close losses against Pittsburgh (24-27) where he ran for 75 yards on 20 rush attempts, and versus the Browns where he ran for 60 yards and no touchdowns (35-41).
However, when they did win with him barely doing anything, the games were too close to call. When he had 84 yards against Jacksonville in Week 2 (a great day for your average runningback), they almost lost by three points. In Week 9 against the Bears, Henry ran for 68 yards as the Titans only won by a touchdown. Without Henry, this Titans team would be in an entirely different situation.
Addressing the other side
What about Dalvin Cook?
If Henry continues to be as dominant as he has been throughout the next three weeks, then there is no way Cook could win the award. You at least have to be the best at your position to secure that, and Cook, while he’s a spectacular running back, he’s second in the RB rankings.
What about Mahomes or Rodgers (whoever losses the MVP race)?
While they may be in the running for most valuable, I don’t think either of them screams out as the best offensive player of the year as of now. Of course, we have to wait until the season ends, yet I don’t believe either will win if Henry keeps up this pace.
Travis Kelce exists. What about him?
If these two keep playing at the rate they are, then it’s more of the flip of the coin type of scenario. Both of them are having spectacular years, so it’s tough to debate and, in all honesty, this would be an article of itself if it comes down to these unstoppable forces of football. More or less, the debate between Kelce and Henry would have to wait until the season ends, but until now, Henry is the front runner (with odds, how’s he doing, viability, etc).
Who do you think is the Offensive Player of the Year heading into Week 15? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!