Who Are The Surprise Super Bowl MVP Candidates?

Hogan could shine for the Patriots

The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots face off in Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium.

Experience is on the side of the Patriots in the contest, having won the Vince Lombardi trophy twice in the last three seasons.

However, the unpredictability of the Super Bowl provides the intrigue. Players can emerge from nowhere to a decisive role in the contest.

Malcolm Smith’s pick-six of Peyton Manning won the Seattle Seahawks’ linebacker the Super Bowl MVP award four years ago.

Although Malcolm Butler and James White did not win Super Bowl MVP, both players arguably should have won the prize for their roles in the Patriots’ victory in the 2014 and 2016 campaigns.

Tom Brady will have his sets sight on another fine outing that could see him win the award for the fifth time. The 40-year-old already owns the record for the most triumphs.

We’ll now look at the players that could emerge from both teams to snatch the crown away from the two quarterbacks.

Chris Hogan – New England Patriots

Hogan could shine for the Patriots

Hogan has had a quiet post-season thus far, taking a backseat in the passing game. Brady has gone to Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski for his go-to men. The wideout did miss a large chunk of the 2017 campaign after suffering a shoulder injury against the Los Angeles Chargers.

However, he is healthy and has provided a valuable target in the past, especially on the biggest stage.  Hogan shredded the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship in 2016. The 29-year-old recorded 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the contest to drive the Patriots to a comfortable victory. The former Buffalo Bills man was not overly active in the Super Bowl, catching four passes for 68 yards. Although Hogan did make crucial grabs in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Gronkowski and Cooks will draw a lot of attention deep down the field, while Amendola and Lewis will be targeting in the short areas. As a result, there will be space for Hogan to exploit. Due to the number of Patriots’ weapons, he will be facing off against a cornerback low on Philadelphia’s depth chart. At odds of +6600 with Bovada he provides great value to win the award, to match the exploits of Deion Branch – the only Patriots player to claim the prize other than Brady.

Dion Lewis – New England Patriots

Lewis is a stronger option to win the award, but provides less value. He has been a driving force in the Patriots’ run towards the Super Bowl. When the 27-year-old arrived in New England in 2015, he made an electric start, dominating in the passing game with insane moves down the field. However, an ACL injury curtailed his campaign and it took a long time for him to rediscover his prime form.

Lewis played in the Super Bowl last season, but was on the periphery as James White took centre stage. He appeared to be on the way out of New England as he slipped down the pecking order at the start of the campaign. Mike Gillslee’s struggles paved a way for a return and he has not looked back since. Lewis rushed for 896 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season.

The back has not been quite as effective thus far in the playoffs. However, he will have opportunities to shine in the running and passing game along with special teams. He did return a kick-off for a touchdown earlier in the campaign – that sort of play could swing the balance of the decision in his favour. Against one of his former teams will be determined – therefore at odds of +1800   with Bovada, he’s worth a punt.

Ronald Darby – Philadelphia Eagles

Darby will be looking to make an impact

Darby feared that his season could have been over as he dislocated his ankle in the opening match of the campaign. The cornerback had just moved to the Eagles after being traded from the Buffalo Bill four weeks before the start of the term. His injury was not as severe as first feared and was sidelined for eight matches. Darby has been the Eagles’ number one cornerback and has performed well against some of the leading wideouts in the NFL. He helped hold Julio Jones out of the endzone in his side’s triumph over the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round.

However, the 24-year-old will need to be at his best to defeat Brady and the Patriots. Darby knows the dangers of facing New England, having lost three of their four meetings. His only win came when Brady was suspended and Buffalo defeated third-stringer Jacoby Brissett.

Darby would have watched Robert Alford return an interception for a touchdown against Brady in Super Bowl LI. The Eagles’ secondary will be desperate to make that sort of play on the biggest stage. Patrick Robinson’s pick-six of Case Keenum began the rout of the Minnesota Vikings and a similar effort could be enough to secure the Vince Lombardi trophy and the MVP award for Darby. Back the cornerback at odds of +12500   with BetOnline.

LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles

Blount was on the Patriots’ team that triumphed in Super Bowl LI, but he moved to the Eagles in the off-season. The running back will not have fond memories of his role in the game, having fumbled in the second quarter that swung momentum in favour of the Falcons. Blount was still a valuable player for New England in his time with the team, reeling off huge performances in the post-season. The 31-year-old has had a good opening term in Philadelphia, recording 766 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

He took a backseat following Jay Ajayi’s arrival, although his experience may be vital in the Super Bowl to settle down his inexperienced team-mates. Blount is capable of producing big runs, using his size and power to crash through tackles. He will be determined to bounce back even if it’s against his former team. New England’s rush defense has been suspect at times and with the strength of the Eagles’ offensive line, Blount could be the man to expose them. Back him to win the award at odds of +3300   with Bovada.

Tips Summary

Chris Hogan To Be Named Super Bowl MVP
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +6600

Dion Lewis To Be Named Super Bowl MVP
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +1800

Ronald Darby To Be Named Super Bowl MVP
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +12500

LeGarrette Blount To Be Named Super Bowl MVP
Sunday 4th February 2018 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +3300