Two Frontrunners for League MVP and One Surprise Pick


It’s week 11 in the NFL and the four o’clock games have just ended. We may still have 6 weeks left in the season, but I can’t help but think about whom the MVP of the league is. There are a few players that are being talked about for the title. Most of the names belong to quarterbacks, which makes sense in this pass happy NFL that we have today. Over the past 14 seasons, the award has gone to a quarterback 12 times. This year, I think that a couple of quarterbacks are leading the MVP race, but there is another player from a position that has never won the award, that I believe should be considered.

The consensus pick by most people so far this year is Tom Brady, and those people have a really good pick. Brady is having a great year, his best since the Patriots undefeated season in 2007. He is at the top of the league in every category and he has his team at the top of the conference at 10-0. He is also playing this way behind an offensive line that has been decimated with injuries. They have not made it an excuse to lose, Brady has just driven the team and the players that are left standing feel his confidence and follow his lead. It’s really tough to try and argue against Brady being the MVP but I’m going to try and do that now.

Cam Newton. This is another hot name getting thrown around quite a bit in the MVP discussion. He is another quarterback that is leading his team to an undefeated season. The major difference between Newton and Brady’s season is the complete lack of weapons that Newton has at his disposal. One of Cam’s most top receivers from last year, Kelvin Benjamin, was lost for the year before the season even began and nobody gave Newton a chance for this season. Well since the start of the season, all Newton has done was prove those doubters wrong. Newton is getting everything he can from his makeshift receiver core. Brady may be closing the gap in the poor receiver competition since he lost a couple key players over the past couple of weeks, but we will have to see if he handles it the same way Newton has been all season.

One more name that I think should be at the top of the MVP discussion, but isn’t there just yet is Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins is a Wide Receiver, and in the 58 years that there has been an MVP award, a receiver has never taken home the trophy. Click here to tweet this fact.

It’s gone to a quarterback 37 times, a running back 18 times, and a defensive tackle, linebacker, and even a placekicker once. But not once has it been a wide receiver. The complete list of MVP winners, with the exception of Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers over the past three years, can be found here. Now in a league that is so quarterback heavy, the award will probably not be given to him but he deserves to be considered at least. He may not be leading the league in receptions, or yards, but there aren’t many non-quarterbacks in the league that are more important to their team then him. The Texans are tied at the top of their division at 5-5, and they have had three different starting quarterbacks over the season. They have also not had their all-pro running back Arian Foster. But the common denominator for the Texans this season has been Hopkins. The guy has been absolutely crushing the league even though opposing teams know that he is going to be getting his looks. He is their number one option and most of the time their only option. When the Texans need to move the chains, he is the player to do it, as he leads the league in first downs, which I believe to be an underappreciated stat. I completely understand why people believe the award should go to a quarterback, or a running back. They are the people that touch the ball the most and they most often have the bigger impact on a game. They control where the ball goes and as a wide receiver you have to take what is given to you. Deandre Hopkins season should be noticed in the MVP light, but the shadow that is being cast by Brady and Newton may be too large for people to see Hopkins success this year.


How Killer Injuries are Plaguing the NFL

This NFL season seems to be a lot more volatile then other seasons in the recent medical-symbol-eps-illustration-design-47882922-1past. There have been an incredibly high number of players placed on the season ending injured reserve, highlighted  by the likes of Le’veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster, Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, and several other players. The number of people who have lost their season seems high, but when you add in people that have missed time and avoided the IR then the number becomes absolutely outrageous.

Look at who was originally selected for last years pro bowl. Before people bowed out of the game due to injuries, personal reasons, or they were playing in the super bowl, most of that roster has missed time this season from injuries. In fact, every one of the running backs that were selected for the pro bowl has missed at least one game, and three will miss the entire season. Tweet this fact. 

Also, half of the quarterbacks that were selected to represent the league have missed time due to injury this year. Here is the complete roster for the 2015 pro bowl. These problems at first glance seem to be severe and could possibly take away some excitement of the game, but recent history has shown that this might not be as big of a problem as before.

Although people have been suffering these severe season ending injuries at a high rate, players don’t really have to question whether or not they will be able to return to playing at a high level. Just this year alone there are two players that are excelling at their respective positions who are coming off of two torn ACL’s. One of those is Todd Gurley, the rookie running back sensation in St. Louis. Gurley is only 12 months removed from his torn ACL he suffered while still in college at the University of Georgia. Some people weren’t sure of the impact he would have at the NFL level this soon after his injury, but he has proved to people that he is more then able to take on defenses already. Over his first four career starts, he has racked up the most rushing yards then any back in league history through any of their first four starts. Some people may say that he has had an easier road back to playing because he is a young player, as he is still only a few months past his 21st birthday.

Another player that is bouncing back from the daunting torn ACL is Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. As a matter of fact, Davis is coming off of three torn ACL’ s in the three consecutive years from 2009-2011. Unlike Gurley, Davis has been through this injury and the grueling rehab three times, and Davis is 11 years older then Gurley as well. That shows that age doesn’t play as much of a role in the return process as some people say. The key to returning from season ending injuries, and the surgery and rehab process that follows is the determination and desire to want to come back.

Now look aggym-592899__180ain at the list of players who have lost their season. There are a lot of young talented players on the list. The problem of the lack of star power is only a short-term one here, as most have already started their trek back to competing.

Five weeks, 75 games, countless injuries, and plenty of questions…

It has been five weeks and one game since the NFL season began, and odds are, you have a lot more questions then answers about this season. What is the deal with Peyton? Where in the world did Devonta Freeman come from? Can DeAndre Hopkins keep up the torrid target pace? There are plenty of questions out there already but, before we get to that, lets start with the stuff that we can answer.

Is Aaron Rodgers the best quarterback in the league? Yes, the Rams may have broke Aaron Rodgers streak of 586 straight passes at home without an interception last Sunday, but that doesn’t change the fact that Rodgers is still the best qb around.

Are the Patriots going to keep demolishing teams this season on their “DeflateGate” revenge tour? Ummm, yes. And you wouldn’t believe who the next recipient is. The Colts. Who better to receive a massive “Gronking” then the team that brought the deflated footballs to light? As much as the Patriots want people to believe that this is just another game, we know that this is not the case. Tom Brady and co. will be out for blood Sunday night.

Well then, now that we’ve got that out of the way, on to the hard stuff. This season has been pretty crazy to say the least. The Seahawks for starters, are in third in their division at 2-3. Many people in the preseason had this team making a lot of noise this season and some predicted another super bowl visit. Lots of that talk was fueled by their offseason acquisition of star tight end Jimmy Graham from New Orleans. But so far this season, the offense has looked extremely shaky and Graham has been severely under used. Plus the play of their offensive line has been very poor, sparking questions about whether sending their starting center to another team for a player they won’t utilize was the right call. The first two games of the season they were without star safety Kam Chancellor due to a contract holdout, but since he has returned, the defense has improved drastically. But again, their main issue is the offense, and if they want to have a chance to play into January and February, they need to figure it out soon.

Another mystery this year is the regression of Peyton Manning. Expectations for this season weren’t too high for Manning, but the numbers he has been putting up so far are not what we are used to seeing. He is thirteenth in the league in passing yards and tied for eighteenth in touchdowns. It’s not just the lack of production, it’s the look of his game too. He is not getting the ball out as fast as he used too and it’s showing with his 12 sacks so far this year, and his deep ball has just not been there for him. If he is going to put up big numbers, then this is the week to do it, as he is going against the Cleveland Browns who are missing to of their top players in the secondary.

Now, Devonta Freeman… If you have him on your team, congratulations, you’re probably riding a nice win streak. And if you have had to play him once or more times over the last few weeks, I am sorry for your loss. This guy is doing things that haven’t been done since LaDainian Tomlinson. He has been destroying defenses for four straight weeks, putting up 25+ fantasy points each week. He is now leading the league in rushing, and he has only been starting since week 3. I don’t see this train stopping either. They have a pretty soft schedule for the remainder of the season and you have to love the way he runs. He isn’t just finding the holes and hitting them, he is ripping through them like a runaway train, and making tacklers think twice about taking him on. I like Freeman all season long.

And the last question, can Deandre Hopkins break the single-season target record. The current record is 208 held by Rob Moore set in 1997. Hopkins is on pace for 240. He should be able to break the record just because the guy is the clear number one receiving target on the team, and they aren’t a great team so they will have to play catch-up in most of their games. The only thing holding him back is the quarterback. So far through the season it hasn’t been a problem, both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet have done a great job finding Hopkins and feeding him the ball. It’s just the lack of consistency at the position that could hold him back. He can’t build a solid chemistry with a quarterback when they get swapped every four weeks. I still like him and expect him to break the target record, and that may not be the only record for him this year.