Alec Baldwin returns to host the second annual NFL Honors award show. Taking place on the night before the Super Bowl, the star-studded ceremony will feature the announcement of 16 coveted awards for the 2012-13 season.
The biggest honors that will be handled out are those for Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year. There will also be performances by OneRepublic and house band The Soul Rebels.
Although the show is still in its early stages, it will be around for a long time if last year's event is any indication. It's the perfect way to start wrapping up the season before the Super Bowl officially brings it to an end the next day.
Let's take a look at the key viewing information for the show, followed by predictions for the marquee awards that will be handed out on Saturday night.
Where: Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans, La.
When: Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. ET
Full Award List: NFL.com
Major Award Predictions
MVP and Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
It appeared Peyton Manning was going to run away with both of these awards for an extended portion of the regular season. Then Adrian Peterson started shredding defenses during the home stretch and surpassed the Denver Broncos quarterback.
Peterson ended up eight yards short of the single-season rushing record, which will remain in the possession of Eric Dickerson for at least one more year. It was still a remarkable season the Minnesota Vikings star, who had over 2,300 total yards and 13 touchdowns.
His first six performances were mundane, but that wasn't a major surprise given the fact he was returning from a major knee injury. Starting in Week 7, however, he rushed for at least 100 yards in all but one game.
Manning should finish a close second while Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers both deserve recognition for terrific seasons. That said, Peterson carried the Vikings on his back to the playoffs and that should allow him to win both of these awards.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
Some defensive ends are great at sealing the edge and racking up a lot of tackles. Some defensive ends are outstanding at putting pressure on the opposing quarterback and getting a lot of sacks. Few are dominant in both areas like Watt.
The Houston Texans' stalwart defensive player finished the season with 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defended and four forced fumbles. That type of across-the-board production should make him the clear winner of this award.
While the numbers are tremendous, what it takes to accumulate them is the more impressive aspect. Being able to read the play so he could defend the run, sack the quarterback and swat down passes when he couldn't reach the pocket shows his maturity as a player.
Fellow defensive stars such as Geno Atkins, Von Miller and Richard Sherman all had good seasons and would have very strong cases in almost any other year. But Watt was on another level, and the voters should reward him.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III
Most years, the rookie awards come down to two or three candidates. After all, it's not easy for a player to make the transition from college and then make a massive impact at the next level right away. But this season's offensive class features five legitimate candidates.
It starts with the newest wave of talented young quarterbacks–Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson–and also includes Doug Martin and Alfred Morris, the top rookie running backs. All five had big rookie campaigns.
Ultimately, Griffin should emerge from the crowded field with the trophy. He finished third in the league in QB rating while accounting for over 4,000 yards of total offense and 27 touchdowns. To say he baffled defenses would be an understatement.
He often made them look silly. His ability to throw darts to his receivers or break off a long run instantly became a nightmare for defensive coordinators. The only concern moving forward will be staying healthy without sacrificing too much playmaking ability.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly
There are two solid contenders for this award. Kuechly, who made a massive impact on the Carolina Panthers defense, and Janoris Jenkins. The St. Louis Rams cornerback is a star in the making, but was passed over in the first round of the draft.
The slight edge goes to Kuechly because he led the league in total tackles with 165. No other player had more than 149. That alone will probably sway a lot of voters in his direction. He also added two interceptions and a sack.
Since the Panthers had such a serious need at middle linebacker, they drafted him with the ninth overall pick and threw him right into the fire. He handled it better than even the team probably expected, and should be a reliable piece of the Carolina defense for a long time.
It would be hard to argue if the voters went with Jenkins, though. He had 73 tackles and four interceptions, three of which he took back for touchdowns. Both players have a legitimate claim to the award, so it's truly a toss-up.
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