We are now in week 16 of the NFL season. With the post-season approaching, here is a list of my top 5 MVP candidates and winner.
5.)J.J. Watt, Houston Texans-Watt has 64 tackles and 16.5 sacks on the year. He is a physical presence who constantly demands double teams by opposing offensive linemen. Watt is doing all this without Houston’s number one draft pick, defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney had a season ending injury earlier in the year.Midway through the season the Wall Street Journal came out with an article chronicling J.J. Watt’s impact on games. When Watt was most effective, meaning 5 or more tackles 1 sack or fumble recovery the Houston Texans were .500. So what did Watt do to have more of an impact on the game? He became a Redzone receiver. Watt has caught three touchdown passes and has a total of 5 touchdowns on the year. That is the same amount as the Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins and the Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Watt is an elite player but if Deion Sanders, Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman haven’t won an MVP award, I can’t give it to Watt. The last time a defensive player won the NFL MVP it was Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants. Taylor won the award in 1986.
4.) DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys- In 1958 Jim Brown set an NFL record. Brown rushed for over 100 yards in Cleveland’s first six games. That record was broken this year. Murray rushed for over 100 yards in Dallas’ first seven games. Murray has been one of the most consistent offensive players in the NFL. In 14 games he has 1,687 rushing yards, 353 passing yards and is averaging almost 5 yards per carry (4.8). Murray had minor surgery on his hand this week and is doubtful for the Cowboys game on Sunday. Dallas is still fighting for a playoff spot. They are going to need Murray down the stretch if they want to get into the post-season.
3.) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers- “Big Ben” has been to three Super Bowls and has won two. Yet he is never been in the MVP conversation and I don’t know why. Roethlisberger is having the best season of his career. He is second to Andrew Luck in passing yards with 4,415. He has 29 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. The Steelers have the best “Big 3” in the NFL with “Big Ben,” running back Le’Veon Bell (2nd in rushing yards), and wide receiver Antonio Brown leads the league in receiving yards with 1,498. This is not the Steelers team that we grew up watching. Their defense has slowed down and looked old at times during the year. The Steelers are winning with offense. “Big Ben” became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 500 yards in two games. He also had a stretch where he threw for 12 touchdown passes in two games. Ben is best at extending plays and creating something out of nothing. If the Steelers make the playoffs they can beat anyone in the AFC on the road. They are a dangerous team and that all starts with Roethlisberger.
2.) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts- In 2010 the Colts finished the season with a record of 2-14. They let legendary quarterback Peyton Manning leave for Denver and they drafted Andrew Luck. This is the 3rd year in a row that the Colts have made the playoffs and they have won their division back-to-back. In Luck’s first two years he was impressive but only had 46 touchdown passes. Russell Wilson who throws less had 52 touchdown passes in two years. This year Luck has grown, matured and taken over the league. Luck has thrown for 4,492 yards, 38 touchdown passes and only 14 interceptions. Luck has done all this with a below average offensive line and a below average running game. Teams game plan to stop him and they simply can’t. Luck can carry this team deep into the playoffs. In only 3 years he has proven to be amongst the leagues elite QB’s. His next step is to dominate in the playoffs. In three playoff games Luck is completing about 55% of his passes and has 6 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. I expect that to change over time. Luck has the Colts headed in the right direction. The greatest compliment I can give Luck is that he has made Indianapolis forget about Peyton Manning.
1.) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers- In my NFL Preview I wrote, “Aaron Rodgers came to training camp in the best shape of his life, I would be very shocked if he doesn’t win the MVP this year.” When the Packers were 1-2 Rodgers went on radio and told all Green Bay fans to “R-E-L-A-X”. Rodgers has 35 touchdowns 5 interceptions and has passed for 3,837 yards. As great as Rodgers is, he is almost a different animal at home. Over the past 50 games at home the Packers are 41-9. They are 7-0 at home this year, beating teams by an average of 23 points per game. The Packers are 2nd in point differential in the NFL with a +111 (Only the Patriots have a higher differential +162). If the Packers get home field advantage, they will be a tough out in the playoffs. Rodgers is the best dual threat quarterback in the NFL. He can beat you with his arm, his legs and now his mind. Rodgers always seems to be in control and has picked defenses apart. In back-to-back games the Packers scored 55 and 53 points in week 10 and 11. This team will go as far as Aaron Rodgers will take the. That is a scary thought for defensive coordinators.
This is the Sports Whisperer: Monte Perez
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