Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera looks on before the NFL football game between the Washington Football Team and the Arizona Cardinals on September 20, 2020 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)
- See the latest odds to win the NFL 2020 Coach of the Year Award
- Washington’s Ron Rivera has moved into the favorite’s role, passing Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin
- Cleveland’s Kevin Stefanski and Buffalo’s Sean McDermott also have passed Tomlin
Washington Football team coach Ron Rivera has become the favorite to win the 2020 NFL Coach of Year award. Washington had its four-game winning streak broken in a 20-15 home loss to Seattle last week but, at 6-8, remains one game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants for first place in the NFC East with two games remaining.
Washington would win a two-team tiebreaker with the Cowboys but lose a two-team tiebreaker with the Giants because of head-to-head results.
Odds for the Top Contenders for NFL Coach of the Year
Odds as of Dec. 22nd at FanDuel.
Tomlin was the odds-on favorite to win the NFL Coach of the Year award three weeks ago, but his odds have steadily faded after consecutive losses to Washington, Buffalo and Cincinnati following a 13-0 start. Rivera began to gain serious notice when his team ended Pittsburgh’s bid for perfection.
Rivera has built a solid defense around Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Chase Young and has persevered through quarterback issues. He faces another obstacle this week, after a social media post showed quarterback Dwayne Haskins mask-less at a strip club. Haskins, benched earlier in the season, started the Seattle game because Alex Smith was out with a calf injury, but Smith is considered likely to return this week against Carolina, Rivera’s former team.
Ron Rivera: Matchup with Panthers won’t be a ‘highly emotional game’ https://t.co/mV6eT9iyWZ via @theredskinswire
— ThePanthersWire (@ThePanthersWire) December 22, 2020
Rivera, in his first season in Washington, completed his seven-week cycle of proton treatment and chemotherapy to treat cancer in his lymph nodes in late October and did not miss a game. He is a sentimental favorite.
2020 NFL MVP Odds Tracker
Stefanski, McDermott Emerge as Their Teams Roll On
Cleveland first-year coach Kevin Stefanski and Buffalo coach Sean McDermott are the second and third choices behind Rivera, who probably would have to win the NFC East to take the award because of the double-digit success of the other contenders.
The 10-4 Browns have won 10 games for the first time since 2007, including five of their last six. A victory over the 1-13 Jets this week would move them one step closer their first playoff berth since 2002. Stefanski installed an upgraded offense this season that has taken advantage of quarterback Baker Mayfield’s skill set, and he has managed to find time for the two-headed running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Kevin Stefanski has the Browns at 10 wins for the first time since 2007 in his first year as an NFL head coach. Does he deserve to be named the NFL’s Coach of the Year?! Photo: Joshua Gunter, https://t.co/a4YA4W2Cro pic.twitter.com/rDsheuIZ7S
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) December 21, 2020
Expectations were high in Buffalo this season … and McDermott and the Bills might have exceeded them.
The Bills have clinched the AFC East, their first division title since 1995, and their relatively easy 26-15 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football two weeks ago provided a prime-time example of how quarterback Josh Allen has come into his own in his third season with McDermott. His command of the passing game has improved, though it helps that he has finally been paired with a true number-one receiver. Offseason acquisition Stefon Diggs had 10 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers’ top-ranked defense.
“Sean McDermott doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves, but he should be heavily considered for Coach of the Year.”
🗣 @NateBurleson pic.twitter.com/dTZC52jSzI
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) December 21, 2020
Tomlin Has Had His Work Cut Out This Season
Tomlin has the the Steelers on the rebound after missing the playoffs the last two seasons, when injuries (especially to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) have been major factors. Tomlin certainly deserves credit for putting the pieces back together.
His work on the offensive side of the ball has been innovative this season as the Steelers have turned to more of a quick-hitting, short-passing game behind Roethlisberger, who missed most of last because elbow surgery and has had to rebuild arm strength.
The road does not get any easier for Pittsburgh, whose final two regular-season games are home against Indianapolis and on the road at Cleveland. At the same time, Steelers’ victories in both those games could return Tomlin to favorite for the coach of the year, depending of course on other results.
Best Bet: Kevin Stefanski (+400)
Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.