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NFL MVP Race: Is Antonio Brown a real contender?

The NFL MVP award might as well be called the NFL's Top Quarterback award. The trophy has been given to quarterbacks 14 times since the 2000 season. The last four winners have all been signal callers. There is a chance that the trend will continue in 2017. Or, will it?. [toc]

The NFL MVP race looked exciting with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz having a stellar season. The second-year man threw 33 touchdowns for more than 3,200 passing yards. His play single-handedly turned around the fortunes of the Eagles. However, his ACL tear against the Los Angeles Rams in week 14 ended his hopes of winning the NFL MVP award.

Somehow, Bovada and other sports bookies have kept the Eagles quarterback on the MVP board. Wentz is listed at odds of +1200.

2017 NFL MVP race

The NFL MVP race has been thrown open, and with Wentz down and out, who has stepped up to the plate in the eyes of sports bookies to fill the void?.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots (-200)

Tom Brady is the perennial favorite to win his third NFL MVP award. The New England Patriots quarterback hasn't lifted the trophy since 2010, and has seen his contemporaries take the award over him for six straight seasons.

Brady's stats are unreal. He has thrown for the most yards in the NFL (3,865), the third most touchdowns (27) and has passed for the most yards per game (297.3).

Yes, the Patriots were supposed to run the table and finish 16-0. That didn't happen. The team started very badly losing two of its first four games. Brady's stellar play has been part of the team's resurgence; although the team's defense as greatly improved. The only problem in determining whether or not Brady is the MVP has to do with the definition of the award. Was he the most important player in getting the team wins, or was he just the best player at his position? Sometimes, those aren't the same thing.

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (+425)

NFL MVP Antonio BrownIn the last month, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has gone from odds of +5000 to +600 to +425, according to Bovada.

It is an incredible change, and he is now co-second in the odds for the NFL MVP award. Brown leads the NFL in receptions (99), receiving yards (1,509), yards per game (116.1) and is second in receiving touchdowns (nine). The only problem is, Brown is a wide receiver and compared to the time a quarterback has the ball in his hands, it is minimal.

Since 1961, when the current NFL MVP award was first given out, no wide receiver has ever won the trophy.

Outside of quarterbacks, the award has only been given to running backs, a linebacker (once), a defensive tackle (once) and a place kicker (once). In fact, just three times has the trophy not gone to a quarterback or running back.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (+425)

Russell Wilson QBRussell Wilson's chances of winning the NFL MVP award could come down to his team making the playoffs. The Seahawks are just outside the final NFC wild card spot, and making the playoffs could be the catalyst to Wilson winning the trophy for the first time. For much of the year, Wilson has been the only consistent player for the Seahawks. Without his timely play, Seattle would be a .500 team. Based on that argument, it can be said that Wilson has been the most valuable player to his side. But if he doesn't have the stats to back it up, there is no chance of the Seahawks signal caller getting the award.

Wilson has thrown for 3,527 yards, sixth most in the NFL. He has tossed the second most touchdowns behind Brady (29), but his 11 interceptions (sixth most) hurts his cause.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (+1400)

Ben RoethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger has never won the league's MVP award; and there is a good chance, he won't win it again, this season. That isn't to say the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback isn't deserving, because he is.

The Steelers were the first team to clinch a playoff place and to win their division. A lot of that has been down to Roethlisberger's 24 touchdowns (fourth best in the league). His 3,744 passing yards and 288 yards per game put him second in both categories. However, Roethlisberger has tossed 13 picks. He has made the most passing attempts this season, which should count for something in the modern age of NFL football.

While Brown is listed as second in MVP odds, it mustn't be forgotten that Roethlisberger is the one throwing to him. Without Big Ben, Brown wouldn't be having the season he is currently.

Therefore, the likelihood of Brown winning the NFL MVP award is diminished, and Roethlisberger should be more highly thought of in 2017.

If the Steelers end up with the best record in the AFC, his stock should go up massively.

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (+2000)

Philip RiversPhilip Rivers has long been a divisive figure in the NFL. Many fans and haters alike think of Rivers as a quarterback with brilliant career stats, but unable to deliver anything more.

This season has been different as the Los Angeles Chargers are contenders in the AFC West. Of course, the team has been greatly helped by the Kansas City Chiefs capitulation; but the Chargers have still been winning games.

Rivers is fourth in total yards with 3,611. His 23 touchdown passes is good for fifth. However, Rivers is only completing 62% of his passes. A figure much lower than Brady and Roethlisberger.

If the Chargers can make the playoffs, then Rivers does have a chance. The NFL MVP award won't be given out until February, so there is still the possibility he can overtake one of his two rivals.

However, with the season Brady and Roethlisberger are having, Rivers is next best.


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