Week 11 of the 2021 NFL season is right around the corner, meaning we’re getting closer to handing out this year’s individual awards. While each of the trophies is special in its own right, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award is one of the most inspirational of the bunch. It’s all about defying adversity, persevering and aspiring others, which means it’s not that surprising that people are trying to predict who’ll be this year’s recipient.
Fortunately, BetOnline has released its early awards odds. One name who wasn’t on their list over a week ago is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. However, since signing with his old team and making his debut on Sunday, the 32-year-old now has +1400 odds to be named 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year — putting him in a tie for third-best odds with Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner and Los Angeles Chargers OLB Joey Bosa.
Last season, Newton started 15 games under center for the New England Patriots in what was the worst season of his career. He finished with career-lows in passing yards (2,657) and touchdown passes (8) while also finishing with more INTs (10) than TDs for the first time. After New England released him in favor of Mac Jones during the offseason, many wondered if Newton would play in the NFL again.
Well, playing and injury issues with Sam Darnold led to the Panthers bringing Newton back. While he didn’t start the game, he did complete 3-of-4 passes for eight yards and a touchdown. He also rushed the ball three times for 14 yards and a rushing touchdown. Due to his familiarity with the organization, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Newton be Carolina’s starter for the remainder of the year. If that happens and he can find a little bit of success, he should remain in the NFL Comeback Player of the Year race for the rest of the season.
2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Tuesday, November 16
- Dak Prescott (-500)
- Joe Burrow (+700)
- Nick Bosa (+1400)
- James Conner (+1400)
- Cam Newton (+1400)
- Carson Wentz (+2000)
Prescott Clear-Cut Favorite
Nobody has been having a comeback season quite like Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Many wondered if he’d be the same again after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in 2020. The good news is that he’s back and better than ever, leading to him being the NFL Comeback Player of the Year favorite at -500 odds.
Prescott is 6-2 through his first eight starts this season, which puts him on pace for 12 wins — the most since his debut season in 2016 (13). He’s completed a career-high 70.3% of his passes so far for 2,341 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. Not only that, but Prescott leads the NFL when it comes to quarterback rating (110.8) and adjusted net yards per pass attempt (8.22).
The Cowboys certainly appreciate having Prescott as their No. 1 signal-caller again. Last season, Dallas averaged 371.8 total yards (13th) and 24.7 points (17th) per game. Both of those numbers have improved this year as the Cowboys lead the NFL in both categories (433.9 yards and 31.6 points per game). Unless his play or Dallas’ season goes completely off the rails, it’s hard to imagine anyone overtaking Prescott for NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Joe Burrow NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds
Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow (+700) has the next best odds when it comes to catching Prescott in the 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year race. The sophomore gunslinger also entered the current season after suffering a season-ending injury last year. However, with the way he’s been playing, you’d have never suspected that he tore both his ACL and MCL in 2020.
Burrow has completed 68.2% of his passes this season, tallying 2,497 passing yards. His 20 TD passes on the year are also seven more than he had in his rookie campaign despite playing one fewer game in 2021. While that’s impressive, one thing that’s holding Burrow back is that he leads the NFL with 11 interceptions ahead of Week 11. An interception rating of 3.8% is concerning, especially with him attempting fewer passes than last year. Nevertheless, it is something that can be fixed.
At the end of the day, Burrow has eight more games left in the season to solidify his case. Anything can happen in that stretch, which is why he needs to get the Bengals back to winning after losing two games in a row.