The NFL's 2012 Rookie of the Year race is entering the home stretch, and officially we can say that it's down to possibly four contenders, but only Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck are the only two serious contenders.
With apologies to fans of Russell Wilson and Doug Martin (who both have had tremendous seasons and could still find their way into the postseason), it's a two-horse race. Martin is out because he is a running back, while Wilson's out because he is on the most talented of the teams which contain a rookie quarterback.
On the other hand, RG3 and Luck are carrying their teams into the postseason kicking and screaming. As of now Luck is the player with the best shot of the two at the postseason as Indianapolis now sits at 8-4 and is one game ahead of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati for the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Colts also have a fairly favorable schedule ahead of them with the two tough games coming against the Houston Texans (who likely won't be playing for much on the final day of the season).
However, of the two, Robert Griffin III, is the Rookie of the Year front-runner through 12 games because his season to this point has been nothing short of amazing. Here's one interesting stat that greatly favors RG3: Andrew Luck has had four games in which he's thrown two interceptions or more. In three of those games, he's thrown three interceptions.
RG3 has thrown four interceptions through 12 games. For any quarterback that is remarkable, but for a rookie quarterback it's almost unheard of.
Griffin also has the edge because he's already made history, and could make even more. On Monday night he passed Cam Newton for the most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback. With four games to go and his total now standing at 714 yards rushing, Griffin is 325 yards away from breaking the single-season rushing mark for an NFL quarterback.
Another record that Griffin is on pace to break is the rookie record for quarterback rating. Through 12 games, Griffin has a passer rating of 104.4, well above the mark set by Ben Roethlisberger (2004) at 98.1.
Statistics aren't the only thing, though, and Luck right now is the one whose team—if the season were to end today—would be going to the playoffs, while RG3's team is still on the outside looking in.
Who is the front-runner in the Rookie Of The Year Race?
Yeah, about the Redskins' playoff picture. With Washington's win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football in Week 13, the Redskins move to 6-6, tied with the Dallas Cowboys for second place and just one game behind the New York Giants for the NFC East lead. On top of that Washington now holds the tiebreaker over the Giants and Cowboys due to its 3-1 record within the division.
Washington's schedule going forward isn't as favorable as Indianapolis', but every game is winnable. The farthest the Redskins would have to travel is to Cleveland for their Week 15 tilt against a feisty Browns team that won't lay down for them. The Redskins do play their two toughest remaining games at home against the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys.
Right now Robert Griffin III is the league's Rookie of the Year, but the argument for Luck due to Indianapolis' success and march toward the playoffs is a valid one. However if Washington winds up as NFC East champions, RG3 would all but clinch the award, and it wouldn't even be a contest.