With summer officially starting, it means we are one season closer to my favorite season…. FOOTBALL! As we continue our countdown to the kickoff to the NFL season, I’m breaking down a potential MVP candidate from each team. Will a receiver finally earn MVP? Can a Cleveland Brown actually win the prestigious award? Who has a better shot at MVP: Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliot?
The Arizona Cardinals have one of the best and most versatile running backs in the league on their team. David Johnson seems to have the best odds to win the league MVP of anyone from the Cardinals. Johnson racked up 2100 all purpose yards last season. Entering his third year in the league, could be his biggest year yet.
Matt Ryan earned the honors of MVP last season with the Atlanta Falcons, and he might do it again this year. But he might have some competition from teammate and all-star wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones makes amazing catches and even caught for exactly 300 yards against the Panthers last year! As the MVP award typically goes to quarterbacks and has never been awarded to a receiver, my bet is on Matt Ryan but keep your eyes on Julio Jones.
The longest running question in the NFL: Is Joe Flacco elite? The quarterback could prove himself this season especially by gaining an offensive weapon such as Jeremy Maclin. In my opinion, Flacco has the best chance at winning it on the Baltimore Ravens squad.
LeSean McCoy could run away with the MVP award this year. The Buffalo Bills running back has been consistent for the team since joining them in 2015. And he could see even more carries this season with the departure of Mike Gillisee. So Shady is definitely one to watch heading into the 2017 NFL season.
Remember how exciting the Carolina Panthers were to watch in 2015? I think they will regain that excitement this season as Cam Newton returns to his MVP self. Superman will be back to completing unbelievably athletic plays and will have his name back in the MVP race.
As the Chicago Bears throw themselves into full rebuild mode, look no further than second year running back Jordan Howard to be the team’s MVP candidate. Howard rushed for 1,313 yards last season, only being bested by Ezekiel Elliot. The only question here is will Jordan Howard be able to avoid the sophomore slump?
AJ Green played in only 10 games last season and was only 36 yards from completing his sixth 1,000 yard season with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was on track to complete his best season yet before he succumbed to injury. But in 2017, iI think AJ Green can redeem himself as one of the best wide receivers in the game and potentially have a shot at winning the MVP.
Could a rookie win MVP? 1st overall pick, Myles Garrett, could make a case for MVP from the Cleveland Browns. The expectations are high for Garrett, but as long as he can help the Browns win more than one game this season, I think their fans will be happy.
As mentioned earlier, the MVP award is often given to the quarterback. But, in Dallas I think the frontrunner for MVP is Ezekiel Elliot. Elliott ran for the most yards in the NFL last year and behind the league’s best offensive line his numbers could only go up.
The anchor of the Denver Broncos defense certainly deserves a nod at MVP. Von Miller was the hero of Super Bowl 50 and responsible for stopping dangerous quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger. Expect that from him again this season as he tries to carry the Broncos to another Super Bowl victory.
My pick for MVP this season comes out of Detroit. Something about the way Matthew Stafford performed last season caught my eye and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win it. Stafford didn’t crack under pressure as he led his team to eight fourth quarter comebacks, which is a quality an MVP candidate definitely needs.
I don’t think I am going to shock anyone here because the Green Bay Packers MVP is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has won the award twice now and I wouldn’t be surprising if he won it again. Rodgers gained tight end Martellus Bennett in the offseason and Jordy Nelson should be back to full health. With offensive weapons beside him, Rodgers could have himself a third MVP at the end of the 2017 season.
Since leaving the Wisconsin Badgers, JJ Watt has been one of the biggest names on defense. This could be the year the Houston Texan proves himself as the best player in the league. Watt is returning from injury, which is even more reason to prove that he is still elite.
Andrew Luck has had big shoes to fill since entering the league in 2012, trying to make up for the loss of Peyton Manning. Manning earned four MVP awards with the Indianapolis Colts and this could be Luck’s year to win one for himself. If fully healthy, Luck could lead the Colts to the postseason and live up to the expectations of Colts fans.
Jalen Ramsey commands the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary and has taken the field at full force in his rookie year. Expect that same mentality from the Jaguars’s cornerback this season as he tried to throw his name into the MVP conversation.
There is no better story in the NFL than Eric Berry’s. After returning to the field in 2015 after beating cancer, Berry proved to be one of the staple pieces on the Kansas City Chiefs stout defense. Berry is the best safety in the league in my opinion. What better way for his story to continue than winning league MVP in 2017?
In order for the Los Angeles Chargers to finish their first season in LA above .500, Phillip Rivers will have to perform well. He will have his number one receiver in Keenan Allen back and consistent tight end Antonio Gates is returning for another season. In order to keep San Diego watching and gain fans in Los Angeles, Phillip Rivers will need to have a year like never before.
Another team in Los Angeles will have to perform better in the big market to keep fans interested. And one player to provide entertainment from the Los Angeles Rams is defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald is the leader on the Rams defense and in order to keep themselves relevant in LA, he will need to have an MVP caliber year.
Jarvis Landry is a great wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, but him being on the field isn’t as important as Jay Ajayi. Ajayi rushed for over 200 yards in three different games last season. When quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, went down late in the season Ajayi continued to be the driving force in Miami’s offense.
The Minnesota Viking’s defense was off the charts last season. But their MVP could come from the other side of the ball. Sam Bradford is playing in a contract year and has more motivation than anyone to play his very best. The offense won’t have Adrian Peterson to lean on anymore, which provides even more opportunity for Bradford to earn MVP.
Like fine wine, Tom Brady only gets better with age. The 40 year old starting quarterback of the New England Patriots has the best chance of anyone on his team to win the likes of MVP voters. Brady has a loaded offense this year with the return of Rob Gronkowski and gaining deep threat Brandin Cooks this offseason. Brady could be looking at his third MVP title of his career by the end of this season.
Despite gaining Adrian Peterson this offseason, the New Orleans Saints don’t stand a chance in a very competitive NFC South if Drew Brees isn’t performing at his very best. If Peterson doesn’t perform well, the Saints have Mark Ingram to fall back on. Behind Drew Brees is Luke McCown, and I wouldn’t trust him to lead my team to the playoffs.
Odell Beckham Jr. can be found in one of the following places on Sundays in the fall: the end zone, proposing to the kicking net on the sideline, or fighting with Josh Norman. OBJ stands the best chance at winning MVP for the New York Giants this season as the pass catcher will likely continue his unbelievable playmaking abilities. If he wins, maybe he will celebrate on a yacht again? That seemed to work out for him last time…
The New York Jets find themselves in a very similar situation as the Chicago Bears. New York is in full rebuild mode and has rid their roster of anyone of veteran status. Without a reliable quarterback on their roster, the best chance at winning MVP from the Jets is running back Matt Forte.
Derek Carr had a real chance to win MVP last season before breaking his leg and missing the last few games. But I expect the Oakland Raiders quarterback to pick up right where he left off, which was throwing touchdowns to the dynamic duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Expect another big year from Derek Carr and the Raiders could be looking at a potential MVP.
Fletcher Cox inked a large contract last offseason with the Philadelphia Eagles. And this season I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed everyone why he was worth so much money. Cox is the Eagles leader on defense and is out to prove himself to the world outside of Philly. Watch out for Fletcher Cox next season as he tries to show his worth.
Can their be Co-MVPs? Deciding between Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell is one of the hardest decisions any football fan could ever have to make. The Pittsburgh Steelers are lucky to have both of these two dynamic players on their squad. If I had to pick one (which I really don’t want to), I would give the edge to Antonio Brown to win MVP just because he has been healthier.
Picking a player that is coming off of injury for MVP is risky, but I’m going to do it anyways with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have a near empty roster this season, but still Navarro Bowman is my pick for the best chance to win MVP on the San Francisco 49ers. I like his chances better to win Comeback Player of the Year, but he could surprise all of us.
Everyone knows about the Seattle Seahawks and the “Legion of Boom” but my pick for the MVP comes from their offense. Russell Wilson had to completely change the way he played last year, between losing Marshawn Lynch and playing behind a spotty offensive line. Wilson was still impressive and led the Seahawks to the playoffs. How fun would it be for Badger fans to have both JJ Watt or Russell Wilson fighting for MVP in the same year?
The hype surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is intense this year and I am all for it. I expect third year quarterback, Jameis Winston to have a huge year this year. Winston put up impressive numbers the last two seasons, but by adding DeSean Jackson this offseason, he has an honest chance at winning league MVP this year.
Marcus Mariota was then one pick behind Jameis Winston in the 2015 NFL draft. He lost Offensive Rookie of the Year to him in 2016. But will Mariota beat Jameis by winning league MVP? The Tennessee Titans have a chance at the playoffs this season, being in the weak AFC South. And Marcus Mariota could be just the guy to lead them there.
Kirk Cousins is playing for a contract this season (again). The Washington Redskins quarterback might need to play up to MVP caliber for his team to sign him long term. But this could prove to be more challenging than it sounds because Cousins lost his two leading wide receivers in Pierre Garçon and DeSeason Jackson. But if Kirk wants the long term gig in Washington, he may be able to step it up on his own.
That concludes my list! Now we just need to wait until February to see which (if any) of these 32 men will be crowned league MVP!