With the season heating up and players pushing their skill to the next level, the playoff push is here. With that comes the National Football League Most Valuable Player race by default. If you want to make the playoffs you have to step up. When you step up you bolster your chances for some end of the year hardware.
With a couple of weeks left in the regular season, the writers here at Sports Unbiased have gotten together to list their top choices for the NFL MVP award. Each writer who participated was asked to list their top three choices. Those choices have been combined and the results are below.
|Projection||Keith Rivas||Adam Solowiei||JR Williams|
|First||DeMarco Murray||J.J. Watt||Andrew Luck|
|Second||Tom Brady||Aaron Rodgers||Peyton Manning|
|Third||J.J.Watt||DeMarco Murray||J.J. Watt|
NFL MVP Top Contender Profiles – Writer Evaluation
Note: Below are writer evaluations of the top contenders. Below is not a list of 1 thru 6, the rankings of each writer are in the table above.
J.J. Watt – Houston Texans
Keith Rivas – Also rather new to the NFL, defensive (and now offensive) stud J.J. Watt has done nothing but amaze. In addition to being a constant and dominant presence on the ailing Texans’ defense (darn you Jadeveon Clowney), Watt has shown us that he has some sort of special hands when it comes to miracle touchdowns. We’re talking about half a dozen touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball–FOR A DEFENSIVE PLAYER.
Not to mention Watt has thrown his name in the ring (statistically) with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, and other key and elite receivers. If Houston makes the playoffs, expect plenty of problems for their opposition.
Adam Solowiei – I would also not be surprised to see Watt overlooked by the voters but he is having a special year, heck an MVP worthy year. I am sure many will say that the Texans are not a playoff team and that he lacks the impact of a quarterback but can you imagine where the Texans would be without Watt.
He is currently third in the NFL with 16.5 sacks. Watt also has three forced fumbles, one he returned for a touchdown, and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He has also lined up on offense, catching three passes for touchdowns in 2014. The man lines up wherever he is needed and impacts the snap. It been 40 years since a player from a non-playoff team won the award. That streak needs to end this year.
JR Williams – As a defensive player, Watt may not win the 2015 NFL MVP, but he has certainly made his case again this season after helping to lead his team to a noteworthy record, much improved from the abysmal 2013-14 record of 2-14. Watt is currently third among the league leaders in sacks with 16.5, including 10 passes defensed, and five touchdowns. Watt is having an awesome season; unfortunately, his numbers will be trampled by the elite quarterbacks in the league.
DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys
Keith Rivas – Things have been rather rambunctious for the Dallas Cowboys & Co. this season. Fortunately for them, a win over the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday night gave them complete control of their division and their destiny–but they wouldn’t be here without a little man with legs named DeMarco.
Murray is having a phenomenal individual casting this season, running for over 1,500 yards and projected to reach just under (if not at or above) 2,000 yards before the season is over. Oh yeah, Murray also leads the league in rushing yards with 1,606…over 400 more than second place (Le’Veon Bell, PIT). Dallas is no longer a joke or a choke, they’re legit and they’re a threat to the title.
Adam Solowiei – He has a comfortable lead in rushing yards and is all but a lock to lead the league in that category. With 1,606 yards (hundreds ahead of second place) and nine touchdowns, he had cemented himself as the top NFL running back this season.
For all the Tony Romo and Dez Bryant talk, this team will go as far as DeMarco Murray will take them. He is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 123.5 yards per game this season. He has even thrown in 53 receptions for 392 yards to show he can catch the ball as well. He found a way to stay healthy this year (well from an NFL point of view anyway) and that has paid dividends.
Tom Brady – New England Patriots
Keith Rivas – The seasoned vet and former Michigan Wolverine has gotten better this year even though statistics, crowds, and doubters believed it would be just the opposite. After starting 2-2 on the season and getting blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs 41-14, Brady took the Patriots on a very scary, demonstrative tear through the NFL.
Winners of nine of their last ten games, with their sole loss coming to the Packers on the road, New England made what KC did to them look like cake–even against the Broncos. Consistency is key in this league, and Brady has put New England in the perfect spot to steal No. 1 in the AFC right out of the grasps of the aging and desperate Peyton Manning.
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Adam Solowiei – The fortunes of the Green Bay Packers are directly tied to the performance of their quarterback. It is true that he was less than stellar against Buffalo but at the same time he has been incredible this year. He will easily throw for 4,000+ yards and has an insane 35-5 touchdown to interception ratio. His 111.2 rating leads all NFL quarterbacks while also completing 64 percent of his passes. As if leadership and an arm are not enough, Rodgers has rushed for 255 yards. His first instinct is not to run but if it is needed he will pick up a first down.
Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
JR Williams – You have to give Andrew Luck the nod. Not only does he lead the NFL in passing yards (4492 and counting), he has led he Indianapolis Colts back atop of the AFC South for the second year in the row. With a QBR of 97.5, Luck has been a threat to teams in the pocket and his ground game continues to improve as he is among the top rushing quarterbacks in the league.
This season, Luck has a legitimate shot at the MVP as the Colts looks to reach their third consecutive playoff appearance. Luck and Co. will face a tough Patriots team under the leadership of Tom Brady. If he can dominate and lead his team to a road victory, he should solidify his chances at walking away with 2015 MVP award.
Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos
JR Williams – How can you have an NFL MVP discussion without mentioning Peyton Manning? With a QBR of 106.4, Manning has been among the top-5 leaders in passing yards for the second consecutive season, and with an 11-3 record, the Broncos are destined for the playoffs where they look to overcome a crushing Super Bowl XLVIII loss versus the Seattle Seahawks. This could be the year where Peyton Manning wins it all.