Who Will Be Crowned NFL’s 2017-18 MVP?
A Three-Man Race Could Come Down to the Wire
The NFL season is winding down and as the playoff races heat up, the MVP race seems almost neck-at-neck between two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and a young upstart– New England’s Tom Brady, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, and Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz. According to the bookmakers at Bovada, Tom Brady is the odds on favorite to win the award at -175, while Carson Wentz is +200 and Russell Wilson is +600.
Among the honorable mentions for the award with just three weeks to go is Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown who has had another spectacular season but is unlikely to win the award due to the fact that a wide receiver has never been named league MVP.
The Case for Tom Brady
The 40-year-old New England quarterback seems to only get better with age, as he continues to confound father time. Brady currently leads the league in passes completed, passing yards, passer rating and yards per pass attempt.
The former Michigan Wolverine’s 26 passing touchdowns has him second in the league behind Wentz but he has also thrown two less interceptions than the Eagles signal caller. Also worth mentioning is that Brady has led the Patriots to eight straight victories and has been playing without his favorite target, Julian Edelman, who suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason.
One thing that could hamper Brady’s chances at his third MVP award is the Patriots record, as Bill Belichick could opt to rest some of his starters in the final two games if New England can beat Pittsburgh in Week 15.
Wentz’s Spectacular Season Hit a Snag: But Don’t Count Him Out Yet
Perhaps the greatest threat to thwart Brady’s MVP chances this year is 24-year-old Carson Wentz, who has led the Eagles to an impressive 10-2 record – three wins more than they had all of last year. A poor outing against Russell Wilson’s Seahawks on Sunday Night Football has dinged Wentz’s resume a bit but there’s no denying Wentz’s significant impact on the team in 2017. The former North Dakota State quarterback leads the league with 29 touchdown passes, and has five games in which he’s thrown for 3 or more scores.
The main mark on Wentz’s resume for this season is his 60.7 percent completion percentage, which isn’t even among the top 10 in the league at the position. The Eagles quarterback will have to continue to put up prolific numbers and limit his turnovers if he wants to have a chance at winning his first ever major award in the NFL.
Russell Wilson: An Underdog Who Shouldn’t Be Written Off
Despite the fact that he’s seen as a 6-to-1 underdog to win the MVP, I wouldn’t count out Russell Wilson just yet. The three-time Pro Bowler has been fantastic over the past ten games, throwing for 25 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Wilson has thrived this season despite the fact that he doesn’t have a great cast of players around him – especially the team’s lack of a credible running threat. The 29-year-old has posted six games with a quarterback rating over 107, including the crown jewel of his season where he went 26-for-41 with 452 yards and four touchdowns against the Houston Texans. The former Wisconsin Badger has also made a difference with his feet this season, carrying the ball 71 times for 432 yards and three touchdowns.
The Seahawks record could prohibit Wilson from winning the award, seeing that they’ve already lost four games. However, if Wilson is able to help Seattle win out (they face tough matchups against Jacksonville, the L.A. Rams, and Cowboys), he could find himself with a shiny new piece of hardware to add to his collection.
With just four games left for the front runners to stake their claims, it’s safe to say that the MVP race will likely come down to the wire. One spectacular late-season performance could be enough for an up-and-comer like Carson Wentz to clinch the award, which means that we are in for some must-see games over the next month.
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(Image courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr.)