Do these Bills have a chance to win the NFL's top 2021 awards?

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Jordan Poyer (21) and Sean McDermott Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers at Highmark Stadium, December 19, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

It's that time of year when players across the league are considered for NFL honors with the 2021 regular season wrapping up this weekend. These awards are voted on by media members via the Associated Press. Below we assess the Bills main candidates to be recognized for their exploits on the field or along the sidelines.

AP Coach of the Year

Bills candidate: Sean McDermott

  • The case: His team leads the league in point differential (+177) and he's the only head coach who offense and defense are both ranked in the top five in the league. He is also the only head coach this season whose offense (3rd) and defense (2nd) both rank in the top three in the league in scoring and points allowed. No other coach in the NFL even has both sides of the ball rank in the top five in scoring, let alone the top three.
  • Became the second coach in Bills history to reach the postseason in four of his first five seasons, joining Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy. McDermott is also one of four current head coaches to lead his team to the playoffs in each of the last three years (Andy Reid, Matt LaFleur, Mike Vrabel).
  • Current odds: +5500
  • The favorites: The favorites as the regular season winds down Cincinnati's Zac Taylor (+150), whose Bengals team has had a breakout season and won the AFC North. Green Bay's Matt LaFleur (+200) has led his team to their third consecutive NFC North title. Tennessee's Mike Vrabel (+400) is the other top candidate.

AP Assistant Coach of the Year

Bills candidate: Leslie Frazier

  • The case: Is in position to lead Buffalo's defense to a regular season number one ranking for the first time since 1999. The Bills have had the number one defense in yards allowed since Week 4. His defense currently ranks number one in the league against the pass and has for 10 out of 17 weeks so far this season. Frazier's defense has also ranked first or second in points allowed in 13 of 17 weeks. His defense is also the only unit that has posted two shutouts this season.
  • The competition: Frazier's chief competition appears to be New Orleans defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

AP NFL MVP

Bills candidate: QB - Josh Allen

  • The case: Currently second in the league in total touchdowns (40) to only Tampa Bay's Tom Brady (42), Allen also ranks third in the league in QB rushing yards with 700 (Jalen Hurts-784, Lamar Jackson-767). Became the only quarterback in NFL history to throw 100 touchdown passes and have 20 rushing touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons.
  • Current odds: +5000
  • The favorites: Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Tampa Bay's Tom Brady are considered the favorites with Indianapolis RB Jonathan Taylor and L.A. Rams WR Cooper Kupp the more notable dark horse candidates. Brady has been the most productive all season long. Rodgers has been more consistent than Allen. Taylor and Kupp have been the best back and receiver in the league this season respectively. It will be hard for Allen to overtake Brady or Rodgers thanks to an up and down stretch through the middle of the season and a three-interception performance last week.

*AP All-Pro team *

Top Bills candidates: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Matt Milano, Jordan Poyer

  • Allen is among the league leaders in numerous statistical categories for quarterbacks and is one of the most dominant dual threat signal callers in the league.
  • Diggs is again posting upper echelon production at his position and has already matched his career single-season best nine touchdown receptions (2018).
  • Milano leads the Bills in tackles for loss (14), ranks third in tackles and has the fifth-most pass breakups on defense.
  • Poyer is tied for the league lead in interceptions among safeties with five. According to ESPN's Bill Barnwell he has an anemic passer rating allowed when targeted of 3.6. He's also second on the Bills in tackles and has the second-most pass breakups.

AP Offensive Player of the Year

Candidate: WR Stefon Diggs

  • The case: More often than not this award goes to the best offensive player that isn't a quarterback with WR Michael Thomas and RB Derrick Henry being the last two winners of the award. Diggs' reception and receiving yardage totals aren't what they were last year when he led the league in both, but they're still good for 10th in the NFL in receptions (94) and eighth in receiving yards with 1,144, the fourth season of 1,000 receiving yards in his career.
  • Current odds: +2,095
  • The favorites: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor has over 1,700 yards rushing with an eye-popping 18 touchdowns, while Rams WR Cooper Kupp is having a historic season with more than 1,800 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns on 138 receptions.

The 11th Annual NFL Honors will be held in Los Angeles on February 10th on ABC at 9 pm ET.

The AP All-Pro team is usually announced the week following the conclusion of the regular season (Jan. 10th-13th).

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