The New York Giants didn’t wrap up a playoff spot or the NFC East with their Week 5 win in London over the Green Bay Packers, but the team did improve to 4-1, and at least two members of the organization boosted their chances for postseason awards. Head coach Brian Daboll made his case for Coach of the Year and, for Saquon Barkley, Comeback Player of the Year. Through five games of the Saquon Barkley 2022 season, the Giants running back has shown the talent, consistency, and health that simply hasn’t been there the last few seasons. Because of this, the 2018 No. 2 overall pick is the odds-on favorite for this award. Here are the three reasons why the Giants star will win the 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
3. The Giants running back fits the profile for NFL Comeback Player of the Year
The Comeback Player of the Year Award winners of the recent past look like this:
- 2021: Joe Burrow
- 2020: Alex Smith
- 2019: Ryan Tannehill
- 2018: Andrew Luck
- 2017: Keenan Allen
The list continues with players like this back for years. The winners are generally well-known names and either coming off injury or a year where they were so bad that it looked like their careers were over.
In the season prior to winning Comeback Player of the Year, Burrow played 10 games, Smith and Luck played zero, and Allen played just less than one half.
As for Tannehill, he played 11 games but didn’t even reach 2,000 passing yards.
Saquon Barkley in 2022 is a mix of all these players.
After winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2018 and making a Pro Bowl with 1,307 rushing yards, Barkley became a star. However, he played a total of seven games in 2019 and 2021, and in between, couldn’t even get to 600 yards rushing in 13 games.
Injuries stole almost two full seasons from the Giants running back, and when he was relatively healthy in 2020, he simply wasn’t that good.
This season, his body finally seems sturdy again, and he is getting the workload to prove it. Through five games, the Giants RB had 97 carries and is just 60 yards short of last season’s 13-game total.
2. The Giants are going to win a surprising number of games
The other thing these last five Comeback Player of the Year winners have in common is that their teams did well in the seasons they won this award.
Burrow was 10-6 as a starter and made a Super Bowl, Smith was 5-1, Tannehill was 7-3, Luck was 10-6, and Allen’s Chargers were 9-7. To get the voters’ attention, it isn’t enough for the Comeback Player of the Year to be good, his team has to win as well.
Barkley is off to a great start in this aspect, too. The Giants’ big London win over the Packers, the team is shockingly 4-1, despite the limitations of quarterback Daniel Jones and the receiving corps.
We got the win mate! pic.twitter.com/5RbKCYH3vE
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 9, 2022
After finishing last in the NFC East last season, New York’s fourth-place schedule is helping them out and should lead to more wins as the season goes along. Barkley and company still have seven incredibly winnable games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, and two vs. the Washington Commanders.
This run of teams between now and Week 18 makes 11 wins a real possibility for the G-Men, which would be huge for the Saquon Barkley Comeback Player of the Year chances.
1. Saquon Barkley will have the most yards this season
Big name? Check. Bad injury and poor performance? Check. Good team record? Check. Now all Barkley needs is a great individual performance this season to lock up the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Once again, looking at the past five winners, you’ll see Burrow had 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns, and led the league in completion percentage. Tannehill threw 22 TDs to just six INTs and led the league in several yards per attempt categories, Luck had 4,593 yards and 36 TDs, and Allen caught 102 balls for 1,393 yards.
Smith is a slightly separate case in this category. He won, but his stats weren’t eye-catching. He got bonus points for the severity of his leg injury.
Back to Saquon Barkley’s 2022 season, the running back is currently third in rushing attempts (97) behind Nick Chubb (98) and Derrick Henry (104), and second in rushing yards (533) behind Chubb (593). Barkley also leads the league in yards from scrimmage and all-purpose yards with 676.
.@Saquon for 6! 💪
📺: #DALvsNYG on ESPN/ABC
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/D62zaILv7u pic.twitter.com/56gBEaf2Sf
— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2022
When the dust settles on the season, there’s a great chance Barkley will have the most total yards in the league. Chubb splits too much time with Kareem Hunt, and Henry doesn’t catch the ball like Barkley. Plus, Daboll knows that the Giants’ chances of going 11-6 (or somewhere in that neighborhood rely on Barkley continuing to roll.
All this adds up to one thing: A Saquon Barkley Comeback Player of the Year Award.