As a team, you cannot win in the National Football League without talented players on the field. We all know that. However, if you don’t have a coach capable of putting said individuals in a position to succeed, then all the talent in the world won’t save you. As we’ve seen throughout much of the 2015 season, that truth has never been more evident.
The best teams in the NFL are fortunate enough to not only have some of the most skilled players in the entire league, but also have some of the best head coaches in the business. These men have the respect of the locker room, get the most out of their players, and prepare the sort of game plans that allow their teams to be competitive on a week-to-week basis.
Although the glory usually goes to the men on the battlefield, that hardly means the men running the ship don’t receive recognition in their own right. We’re talking about the NFL Coach of the Year award, of course. While there is plenty of football left to be played this year, many of the NFL head coaches have already distinguished themselves from the rest. As a result, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have determined which of these individuals stand the best chance of being rewarded for their good work. With that in mind, here’s a look at the five coaches with the best odds of winning this season’s NFL Coach of the Year award.
5. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
There’s something different about the 2015 Cincinnati Bengals. Unlike years past, this group, now 9-2 on the season, has swagger, toughness, and crazy resolve. The Bengals are only allowing 17.5 points per game (the best in the NFL) and look like a team that could actually do some damage in the postseason. While we can think of a few reasons behind this recent resurgence, we can’t help but give the bulk of the credit to the man leading the way, head coach Marvin Lewis.
3. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings (Tie)
It’s easy to look at the NFC North and assume the Green Bay Packers will run away with the division. However, that’s not the case this year. Behind the leadership of head coach Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings have amassed an 8-3 mark, formed one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL, and sit in the driver’s seat of a surprisingly competitive division. Should the Vikings end up taking home the NFC North crown, it wouldn’t shock us to see Zimmer pick up some hardware of his own.
3. Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals (Tie)
He’s been with the Arizona Cardinals for less than three full seasons, but already Bruce Arians has already established himself as one of the best head coaches in the National Football League. In 2015, with the Cards sitting at 9-2 and up three games in the NFC West, the head honcho with the freshest style in the game has only reaffirmed his status among the elite in his profession. While Arians has already won the award twice before, when you consider the way Arizona has played so far this season, the thought of him being named Coach of the Year for the third time in his career is certainly not farfetched.
2. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Who would’ve guessed that after 12 weeks of play, the Carolina Panthers would be averaging 30.2 points per game (third of 32 in the NFL), allowing the opposition to score just 18.6 points a contest (third of 32 in the NFL), and hold the only undefeated mark in the league, at 11-0. Not us, that’s for sure. But that is the world we live in. And while quarterback Cam Newton gets most of the credit for leading the Panthers on the field, it’s been head coach Ron Rivera who’s been pulling the strings from the sidelines. As a result, the latter man may find himself rewarded for such.
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Despite the off-the-field distractions courtesy of Deflategate, a roster ravaged with injuries, and a bullseye on their back from being the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots are still atop the AFC East with a 10-1 record and poised to make another run at football glory. Granted, things are always better when you have a guy like Tom Brady running the huddle. But we all know this team would not be where it is without Bill Belichick, the most gruff man to ever wear a hoodie, calling all the shots.
Odds courtesy of sportsbook.ag.