Home I NFL 2017/18 MVP Award Candidates
In just a few hours we will welcome the New Year and say “Goodbye” to the NFL 2017/18 regular season. The last games will be played on Sunday, the 31st. Along with the New Year’s Eve celebrations, we are going to experience the joy and the tears of the teams who did and did not make it to the Playoff phase.
Traditionally since 1957, the NFL awards its best athletes each year. The MVP Award is given regardless of whether a certain player represents a Playoff or Super Bowl team. All that matters is the regular season. In the following article we outline the NFL 2017/18 MVP Award Candidates and predict who is the most probable winner.
There have been many annual NFL MVP selectors in the past, but some of them are now defunct or dubbed unofficial. The most prestigious and official NFL MVP Award today is presented by the Associated Press, along with other AP awards, such as Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year. The winners are selected by 50 voters, who represent the most prestigious football media in the US such as ESPN, Fox, USA Today, and NBC.
The AP NFL MVP Award is based on the player’s performance through the regular season, but is held secret until the end of the Super Bowl. The former Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning holds the record for most MVP Award wins with 5 selections – in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2013. The most recent NFL MVP Award winner is Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan who reached a passer rating of 117.1 through the NFL 2016 Regular season and led his team to an 11-5 record.
Historically, the MVP trophy has been awarded to only Quarterbacks (26) or Running backs (14), with just two exceptions. In 1986 LB Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants has his name written in the football MVP hall of fame after reaching a career-high of 20.5 sacks. In fact, “L.T.” produced double-digit sacks each season from 1984 through 1990. The second exception to the QB/RB tradition was the wide receiver legend Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers. He won the MVP Award in 1987 and as of now, holds more than 100 different NFL records.
QB Case Keenum had an amazing season this year. He stepped into the spotlight after the injuries of Minnesota starting quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. Since his arrival, Keenum showed outstanding performances and appeared many times on our lists of Top NFL Picks. With his help, the Vikings reached a 12-3 record, one week before the end of the regular season. For now Keenum has thrown for 21 touchdowns, allowed just 7 interceptions, and has a QB rating of 98.1. The next game against the Chicago Bears would probably serve as a stats-booster for the Viking.
QB Russel Wilson is one of those quarterbacks with their own playing style. A combination of quickness and awareness, Wilson has led the Seahawks to a 9-6 record. He is not afraid to run and does it often. In fact, he has more rushing yards than most of the NFL running backs. Probably this is one of the reasons he is not on top of our list with NFL 2017/18 MVP Award Candidates. History suggests passing yards are the key to MVP fame.
Wilson’s next game is against the Arizona Cardinals at home in Seattle. If QB Russel Wilson manages to deliver a superhuman performance and lifts his team into the Playoffs, we may see him holding the NFL MVP Award.
Despite his season-ending injury (torn ACL), QB Carson Wentz is still among the main NFL MVP Award candidates. Even if the chances for him winning the MVP title are now low, he deserves to be mentioned on our list. Three weeks ago, the MVP battle between Wentz and Brady was tight but now Brady would have a 100% playtime against Carson’s 81%. Wentz still leads the league in touchdown passes (33). With him orchestrating the Eagles offense, the team scored the best record in the NFL (13-2) and secured the number 1 seeding. Without their starting quarterback, the Eagles struggle a lot. We saw that last Monday against the Raiders.
Who knows, maybe the selectors would take into consideration his 13 succsessful appearances and ignore the last 3 games.
RB Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams leads the league in both total rushing yards (1,305) and yards from scrimmage (2,093). He is also leading in total touchdowns (19) – more than most of the wide receivers. Eight of his 19 touchdowns so far came in the past three weeks, meaning he is the main reason for the Rams 11-4 record. Being a rookie, these stats present him a fair chance to beat the NFL quarterbacks in the chase for the NFL 2017/18 MVP crown. The only setback for this incredible athlete is his position. In order to win the MVP award, a running back should either put an outstanding record-breaking season or be lucky enough to play a season with average quarterbacks.
In 2012 the then-Vikings RB Adrian Peterson managed to get the prestigious trophy with less touchdowns (13) and a worse team record (10-6). The next game against the San Francisco 49ers could be decisive. If RB Todd Gurley puts on a real show and boosts his stats to a record-breaking extent, he may surely be selected for the big prize.
QB Tom Brady is one of the most famous and influential athletes of all time. He leads the league so far in passing yards, first in passer rating, and has outstanding stats in some advanced metrics such as total passing value. Brady is the leader and the soul of the Patriots and his solid presence led them to a 12-3 record. Even the shocking recent loss against the Miami Dolphins doesn’t seem enough to create some doubt about the NFL MVP award. The Patriots have the best offense, one game before the end of the season. And this game is against the New York Jets – a team very suitable for stats-boosting. The only possibility for QB Tom Brady missing out the NFL MVP 2017/18 Award is if someone else makes an incredible last week performance and breaks some records, which by the way is highly possible.
QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
LB Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
DE Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
DE Calais Campbell, Jaxonville Jaguars
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