NFL MVP Watch: Two Horse Race As The Season Winds Down
NFL Honors is just three weeks away, so players have one last chance to make an impression on the Associated Press voters. Despite all of the rising stars in the league, it’s two familiar faces who lead the MVP race.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
There was no shortage of drama for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this offseason, with the 38-year-old passer expressing displeasure with his front office and seeming ready to leave the team.
Fast-forward to the playoffs and Rodgers has his team as the NFC’s number one seed, playing MVP-caliber football and looking poised to reach his second career Super Bowl appearance.
The defending MVP finished the regular season with 4,115 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions. His 111.9 passer rating is the best in the league amongst starting quarterbacks.
Rodgers’s efficiency has been his biggest strength this season. In his last seven games, he has thrown 20 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. This play bodes well for the postseason and for Rodgers to reel in his fourth career MVP award.
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The only other player with a realistic shot at beating out Rodgers is the ageless wonder, Tom Brady. At 44 years old, Brady commanded the NFL’s top passing offense, leading the league with 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns.
This is even more impressive considering the injuries that Tampa Bay has dealt with on offense. Top receiver Mike Evans caught the injury bug early in the season, while Chris Godwin is out for the year with a knee injury and Antonio Brown quit on the team. What's left is Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and an otherwise unproven supporting cast.
To remain a Super Bowl contender and one of the best offenses in the league is an impressive feat for Tampa Bay. A strong playoff run from the defending champs – and maybe an early exit for the Packers – could help Brady overtake Rodgers and win his fourth career MVP award.
Best of the rest
Beyond the two veteran quarterbacks, other skill position players could capture a few MVP votes.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp had a stellar season for the Los Angeles Rams. The All-Pro selection took home the NFL’s triple crown, leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Lethal route running, sure hands and sneaky speed helped Kupp break the stat sheet. When comparing receivers to quarterbacks though, it’ll take a lot more from Kupp to overtake the passers for MVP.
Running back Johnathan Taylor tore up the league in his second season. Taylor finished with 1,811 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on his way to an All-Pro selection.
To say Taylor would be the Indianapolis Colts’ most valuable player would be an understatement, but playing on a team that failed to make the postseason is a big knock on Taylor’s MVP candidacy.
Sam Woloson is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.
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