A season that started with promise, had a shaky middle, and hopeful end concluded in heartbreaking fashion for the Buffalo Bills.
After going back and forth all game with the Kansas City Chiefs during the Divisional round of the playoffs, Bills place kicker Tyler Bass missed a 44-yard-field goal that would’ve likely sent the game to overtime.
Instead, it was a 27-24 loss that saw the Bills’ season ended by the Chiefs for the third time in the last four seasons.
As the offseason begins and the Bills look to what they can do to try and get over the playoff hump next year and reach the Super Bowl, we turn our attention to next week’s NFL Honors annual awards show, held annually on the Thursday night before the Super Bowl.
- WHAT: NFL Honors
- WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 8, 9 p.m. ET
- WHERE: Resorts World Theatre, Las Vegas, Nevada
- WATCH: CBS, NFL Network, NFL+, Paramount+
The list of finalists is out, and two Bills are up for awards. Josh Allen for NFL MVP (Most Valuable Player) and Damar Hamlin for Comeback Player of the Year. We will look at the odds for both.
Damar Hamlin Comeback Player of the Year Odds
The definition to become eligible for NFL Comeback Player of the Year is loosely defined. Typically, it’s given to someone who was injured the previous year and returns to top form. Tom Brady in 2009 is a perfect example. Other times, it can be given to a player who wasn’t a factor or had a down season the year before — like last year’s winner, Geno Smith. This year, there are two players involved who define the term “comeback.”
Joe Flacco, in his own words, came off the couch to join the Cleveland Browns after DeShaun Watson suffered a season-ending injury. Flacco led the Browns into the playoffs before a disappointing performance in the Wild Card round against Houston.
Bills safety Damar Hamlin may have everyone else who has won this award topped. He came back from death.
You likely recall Hamlin collapsed on the field in Cincinnati last January. Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after a hit from a Bengals player. Fortunately, medical personnel were on hand and responded quickly. His heart was restarted, and after a few days in a coma, Hamlin came to and eventually recovered. In addition to returning to the field this year, Hamlin has also been an advocate for heart health.
Hamlin is currently not a lock for the award, sitting at -125 on Caesars Sportsbook. Let’s look at the other contenders.
Comeback Player of the Year Contenders
The list of players competing against Hamlin for the award is a strong one — and all quarterbacks who led their teams to the playoffs. In parenthesis is what each contender came back from.
- Joe Flacco, Cleveland Browns QB (retirement)
- Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB (lost QB job in Cleveland, backing up for Carolina and LA Rams)
- Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams QB (injury)
- Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins QB (injury)
Mayfield, Stafford, and Tagovailoa fit the traditional billing for to win this award. Flacco was a late contender, as he was signed “off the couch” in November. For his part, Flacco — who is the only close contender in the odds at +200 at BetRivers — believes he doesn’t deserve the award.
Hamlin recorded stats in only three games this year — a tackle in each of two regular season games and two tackles in the playoff game against Kansas City. He also ran the ball on a fake punt in the Chiefs game but failed to get a first down on the play. But the unique circumstances makes him a favorite and a best bet for this award.
Josh Allen an MVP Finalist but Has No Chance of Winning
There are five MVP finalists, but most sportsbooks have taken the wagering for this award off the board. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is heavily expected to win his second MVP trophy. Other finalists include Allen, San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, and San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy.