NFL Coach of the Year 2021 Predictions, Odds & Picks

  • First-time head coach Brandon Staley of the LA Chargers is a favorite to win CoTY
  • Last year’s CoTY winner Kevin Stefanski’s improved Browns defense gives him a shot
  • Longshot 2021 CoTY candidate is Zac Taylor, whose Bengals are young and rebuilding

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It usually takes a deep playoff run by an NFL team to deem their head coach as worthy of earning the league’s annual Coach of the Year award, an honor given to the coach deemed to have had the most outstanding season.

At least that’s what it took last year’s winner and one of this year’s frontrunners Kevin Stefanski, whose Cleveland Browns got to the Divisional round last postseason for the first time in forever and whose improved defense puts him in a position to score a repeat CoTY title.

The Chargers’ Brandon Staley and the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan are also favorites to win this coveted award, whereas Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor is our longshot given that his Bengals are still rebuilding and incredibly young.

Here are our predictions, odds, and picks for this years’ NFL Coach of the Year – good luck!

NFL Coach of the Year Odds

Odds taken September 20, 2021 from DraftKings Sportsbook

Coach/Team Odds
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers +1000
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns +1300
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers +1400
Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins +1600
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals +4000

Odds from DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or check out more offers and promo codes for the best online sportsbooks.

NFL Coach of the Year Predictions and Picks

Our Pick
Kevin Stefanski’s Cleveland Browns could have a once-in-a-lifetime season with the roster they have carefully built and reenforced on both sides of the ball, so he might just take this award again.
The best odds for this match Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Kevin Stefanski, Browns (+1300) Bet Now

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Favorites to Win

Brandon Staley, Chargers

As the LA Rams defensive coordinator last season, Brandon Staley’s D was ranked 11th in the league, earning him a shot at head coaching for the other Los Angeles team, the Chargers, who went 7-9 last season and failed to make the playoffs.

Now Staley brings his defensive mind to a Chargers franchise who have only made the playoffs twice in the last ten seasons, last time being in 2018 when they lost the Divisional Playoffs to the Patriots, 41-28, the following 2-season playoff dry spell enough to lose former HC Anthony Lynn his job.

What Staley has going for him in terms of winning this coaching award is a young quarterback, Justin Herbert, who set the league on fire last season as a rookie and winner of the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, a sign that this franchise could be on the rise, a perfect situation for shining as the HC.

Kevin Stefanski, Browns

Given the impressive way Kevin Stefanski handled a normally shaky Browns team during the 2020 season, one that was made extra difficult by the worldwide COVID pandemic, nobody would be surprised if he took them even deeper into the playoffs this postseason, especially given the improvements made on the defensive side of the ball.

A former offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, Stefanski has the opportunity to show off his mentoring skills as well by continuing to develop his young franchise quarterback, Baker Mayfield, who will be coached in consecutive seasons by the same guy for the first time since he’s been in the NFL.

Many experts have called the Browns upgraded roster top notch and are expecting Stefanski to take this talented group to at least the AFC Championship game and beyond, but a Browns 2021/22 Super Bowl appearance (or win?) would almost guarantee the CoTY award for this 39-year old NFL head coach.

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers

This 41-year-old team leader has been coaching in the NFL since 2004 and his 49ers have even been to a Super Bowl under his watch, but they didn’t even make the playoffs last season, setting them up for a huge comeback in 2021.

What will make this season interesting in San Fran is the battle to start under center, right now being waged by veteran QB and current starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who some consider a bit of a Niner’s weak link, and rookie QB Trey Lance, the former North Dakota State star with the big arm and the potential to match.

For Shanahan to take home the 2021 CoTY Award, his team would most likely have to win a Super Bowl to make up for the one they recently lost, a feat that this franchise has the talent to achieve under his leadership.

No Chance to Win

Zac Taylor, Bengals

It will take a lot of luck for Zac Taylor’s youthful and rebuilding Bengals to make it to the postseason in 2021, their starting QB Joe Burrow hopefully being healthy again after suffering poor protection all last season (32 sacks in just 10 games) resulting in a season-ending knee injury (torn ACL & MCL).

Now that the Bengals have added star college receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, to their roster, they have given Burrow his old LSU target, which has many fans picturing an offensive rise in Cinci that could bring some serious attention their way.

It would take making the playoffs for Zac Taylor to be considered successful, and it might even take winning a postseason game to earn him CoTY honors but given how young and green his rebuilding roster still is, he becomes a longshot for this award.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]