The 2017 NFL season begins next week and all 32 teams are finalising their preparations for the new campaign.
The elite players in the NFL will be desperate to get back into action and push forward their claim for the MVP award among other honours.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan beat off stiff competition to claim the title for the first time last season. The 32-year-old was outstanding for the club, boasting the best offense in the league.
He threw 38 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, carving apart the NFC on the way to his first Super Bowl. Ryan’s 2016 season ended in disappointment in defeat, but another strong campaign could land him the award for the second year in the bounce.
We’ll now break down Ryan’s odds along with the other leading candidates for the award in the 2017 term.
The 32-year-old bounced back from his worst season since establishing himself in the NFL to win the MVP award. Ryan underperformed in his first term under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, throwing just 21 touchdowns – his lowest amount since his rookie year.
He also threw his second highest tally of interceptions in a term, with 16 in his 16 matches. The offense was narrow and lacked diversity due to the club’s reliance of Julio Jones. However, Shanahan overhauled the system for the 2016 season and allowed Ryan to thrive.
Ryan moved the ball around his receiving corps, with the additions of Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu proving vital. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman also eased the burden on the quarterback in the running game. The 32-year-old conducted his offense with ease and always seemed to find the open man, while not losing his propensity for big shot down the field.
His performances especially against the dominant defenses in the NFL were extremely impressive. Ryan led the Falcons to a victory over the Denver Broncos on the road and also put in a good display against the Seattle Seahawks.
He took his game to the next level to overcome the Seahawks in the playoffs along with the Packers. Ryan even had the Patriots on the ropes before his side’s collapse. The challenge for Ryan will be maintaining his form without Shanahan. Steve Sarkisian has replaced Shanahan, who left to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
The talent is the same as last season and the scheme should not change – therefore Ryan could be on course for another charge. Back him at +1800 with SkyBet to win the award for the second term on the spin.
Rodgers struggled for his usual high standards in the 2015 campaign, posting the lowest passer rating of his career. He was affected by an injury sustained by wideout Jordy Nelson and it was no surprise to find the duo back firing in the 2016 season.
The Packers had initial struggles on offense as the quarterback lacked early rhythm with his side. However, after falling to 4-6 they won their next eight matches, only to be denied a place in the Super Bowl by the Falcons.
Rodgers carried the fortunes of the team with his brilliance. Plays did not always go to plan for Mike McCarthy’s men, but the 33-year-old’s ability to adjust and improvise allowed his offense to find the peak of their powers towards the end of the season.
With Nelson now fully healthy along with Randall Cobb and Davante Adams – Rodgers will be aiming for another dominant campaign. He still threw 40 touchdowns last season – the highest mark in the NFL – but Ryan’s brilliance beat him out for the award.
Rodgers won the MVP title for a second time in 2014, producing a 38 touchdown – five interception season. More importantly the offense was in rhythm from the off and guided the Packers into the number two seed in the NFC.
Martellus Bennett adds to a potent passing attack, although there is still not a good enough ground game to ease the burden on Rodgers. Bennett could open up space through the middle of the field to free up space for Nelson and Adams on the sidelines.
Brady comes into the 2017 season as the only quarterback with five Super Bowl wins in NFL history. The 40-year-old won his fourth Super Bowl MVP crown, adding to his legacy as he led the Patriots on a memorable 25-point comeback.
The last time Brady won the regular-season MVP award was seven years ago in 2010. Then he led the Patriots to a 14-win term, throwing 36 touchdowns to just four interceptions. However, the season ended in a surprise defeat to the New York Jets in the playoffs.
Since then Brady has been in contention for the award every season, but has not managed to claim his third crown. In the 2016 campaign he was outstanding after returning from his four-game suspension for the deflategate incident.
He threw 28 touchdowns to two interceptions, losing just one of his 12 matches. Even at the age of 40, Brady remains the standard-bearer for the position in the NFL. He could be on course for another outstanding season due to the talent that has been placed around him in New England.
The Patriots traded their first-round pick in the 2017 Draft to acquire Brandin Cooks. Dwayne Allen, Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead have also been added to the offense in the off-season. Brady was forced to spread the ball around last term due to Rob Gronkowksi’s injury, but with his main man back to full health expect the offense to explode.
Julian Edelman’s injury could be costly, especially on third down where he has been so reliable. However, Brady has enough time to form new connections with Cooks and Chris Hogan to atone for his loss. Therefore backing him to win the award at odds of +400 with Bovada sportsbook is the option to take.
Matt Ryan To Win MVP
Aaron Rodgers To Win MVP
Tom Brady To Win MVP
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