After Week 13, it was pretty clear who was going to win the NFL MVP award: Carson Wentz. In his second season, after being drafted No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, he had a rookie year that showed slivers of greatness, but nothing pointed to this breakout campaign. However, following their game against the Los Angeles Rams a few weeks back, he had 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, and just seven picks. He was on his way to winning the MVP, and his team had the best record in the league, at 11-2, defeating the Rams, 43-35, and clinching the NFC East.
But in the third quarter, while attempting to dive for a touchdown, he was sandwiched by a pair of defenders, and came up injured. He would finish the drive, throwing for a score on fourth down, but he wasn’t able to return after that, and a day later, he was ruled out for the rest of the year. And all of a sudden, the MVP race was wide open. That same night, just a couple of hours later, Pittsburgh Steelers’ wideout, Antonio Brown, put his name in the hat with 213 receiving yards on 11 catches, extending his lead as the top receiver in the league.
But just seven days later, Brown went down with a calf injury against the New England Patriots and it seemed like his candidacy was over before it even gained a bit of traction. So we’ve lost Wentz and Brown just a week apart, and there chances of winning the coveted award are all but gone, not to mention that other MVP-level players like David Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham Jr., and J.J. Watt have also gone down with season-ending injuries. So who’s most deserving of the bunch that is still healthy? In my mind, it’s down to three guys: Tom Brady, Todd Gurley, and Case Keenum.
Tom Brady leads the league in passing yards with 4,163 yards and a 4-1 touchdown-interception ratio, and his team is in first place in the AFC, plus he certainly has the star recognition to take home his third MVP award. But is that enough? Todd Gurley leads all running backs with 13 touchdowns, is third in rushing yards with 1,187 yards. Gurley is also averaging 4.6 yards per carry, which is 0.6 yards more than Le’Veon Bell, who many believe is the best running back in the league. Gurley also had seven rushes of 20+ yards, which is more than Bell and Leonard Fournette combined.
Lastly, you can make a case for Keenum, the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback, who has essentially come out of nowhere. Some may remember him as the record-breaking signal caller for the University of Houston, but after coming into the NFL, he hasn’t been even close to that guy. Until this year, that is. The only reason he is starting is because both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater were injured and he was the Vikings’ only option. And all he’s done is throw for 3,219 yards on 67.9 percent passing (Brady is completing 67.1 percent), as well as take the Vikings from an 8-8 team to 11-3 and a division title.
If we’re going to be completely transparent, the award will likely go to Brady. And he would deserve it. He has been the best QB in the league on arguably the best team, and he’s led the league in passing yards for the majority of the year, even when Wentz was running away with the trophy. But if it was up to me, the award would be going to Los Angeles, and it’d be Gurley’s. He has been the best back in the league from start to finish.
He is also apart of arguably the best turnaround (the Rams were 4-12 last year), and has remained healthy. And last weeks 180-yard, four touchdown performance, could just be the beginning of his run for the crown. He, along with the rest of his team, obliterated the Seattle Seahawks, 42-7, and clinched a playoff berth by winning the division. The Rams play the the Tennessee Titans (8-6) and the San Francisco 49ers (4-10) over the next two weeks, and if Gurley can put up 150+ yards and a couple more scores, then he could realistically take home the MVP, and would be the first RB to win it since 2012.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports.