OROTY is a 2-horse race between Ja’Marr Chase and Mac Jones

Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Giddy up. Two talented players have broken away from the pack in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, but only one can win the highly coveted award.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones command the lead, but recent weeks have favored Jones over Chase.

A week ago, WynnBET gave Jones slightly better odds to win OROY based on the Patriots’ mid-season resurgence.

In Week 12, Jones led his team to a sixth-straight victory against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, throwing for a career-high 310 yards and recording two touchdowns and no interceptions.

That dominant performance has inched Jones farther ahead of the Bengals’ rookie wideout, per most observations. WynnBET currently has given Jones -300 odds to win OROTY while Chase has +250 odds. The next closest candidate is Najee Harris, who has +4000 odds to win the award.

By comparison, Chase hasn’t basked in the spotlight since Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, when he hauled in 200-plus receiving yards.

In his last four games, Chase has recorded a total of just 152 yards and two touchdowns (he had six in his first seven games). He’s still getting targeted, but defensive double teams and Burrow’s conservative-leaning plays have significantly hindered his production.

Can Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase retake the lead in the OROY race?

The Bengals have been playing well (of late), but the Patriots have been better.

As much as Mac Jones seems like a mini-Brady pain-in-the-rear, it’s hard not to give him credit for New England’s recent hot streak.

The No. 15 overall pick started 1-4 but has completely turned the Pats’ season around with strong leadership and smarter decision-making. Jones has thrown three picks over the past six games, a vast improvement after throwing six over the first eight.

Jones also currently leads all rookies in passing yards (2,850), touchdowns (16), completion percentage (70.3%), passer rating (97.1) and yards per pass attempt (7.5). Not to mention, his 70.3 completion percentage is the third-best among all quarterbacks.

No one can deny Jones has sculpted New England into a legitimate playoff contender. But he’s no Ja’Marr Chase.

Chase remains the best wideout from his draft class with 50 receptions for 906 yards and eight touchdowns through 11 games.

It’s difficult to compare just how much each player has impacted his respective team — obviously, Jones has been at the center of a humming Patriots unit, but Chase has also affected every area of the Bengals’ offense in his own unique way.

His chemistry with Burrow. His shifty plays. Even in the run game, Chase showcased his gritty blocking abilities.

If Chase can up his production in this final stretch of the season, he may be able to squeak by Jones for the OROTY award.

Up next, Jones will have his toughest test of the season against division rivals the Buffalo Bills while Chase faces a stingy secondary in the Los Angeles Chargers.

Next. 4 injured players who could make an impact in 2022. dark

The bad news for Chase is that Cincinnati have one of the most difficult remaining schedules in 2021, but negativity doesn’t seem to affect the wideout. Just don’t bring up his drops.