With the 2015-16 NFL Regular Season wrapping up, we finally have a good idea of who all these teams and players actually are. It’s been a crazy year that has been full of surprises, jaw-dropping plays and sadly, some even more jaw-dropping mistakes from players and refs alike. As the playoff picture begins to come into focus, let’s take a look at which players have been absolutely indispensable to their teams and have a leg up on everyone else in the race for this year’s NFL MVP Award.
Nothing new here. The quarterback from New England has been consistently present in this conversation for the last decade or so, and this year seems to be no different. While his rival of old, Peyton Manning, has fallen apart before our eyes, Tom Brady has put together one of his more impressive seasons yet. Through 13 games he has amassed 4,138 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions, while completing 64.2% of his passes. The dude is unstoppable and seems to be showing no signs of slowing down. Sure, he has the best tight end in the game catching balls for him and keeping defenses occupied, but without Tom Brady, the Patriots go nowhere. There is no player more valuable to that team.
Here’s a new face in the NFL MVP race. It’s not really all that surprising that the quarterback of a 13-0 team is on this list, but I feel like most people give the defense and running game the most credit for the Panthers’ success. While those two things are very big reasons for the Panthers continued greatness this year, Cam Newton has really stepped his game up over the last month or so, and catapulted himself into the MVP debate. He is coming off of a 38-0 dismantling of the division-rival, Atlanta Falcons in which he completed 71.4% of his passes, and he also has two games over the last month where he threw for 5 touchdowns. The Panthers would still be good without him, but there’s no way they would still be undefeated.
Like Newton, Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks as a whole, have really turned things up in the last month. With the exception of a 39-30 win over the Steelers three weeks ago, the team has been dominating the opposition and that’s very much the result of Wilson’s excellent play. He has completed a ridiculous 75.6% of his passes over the last 4 games for 1,171 yards, 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Along with some help from the defense, Wilson has put the Seahawks firmly on the path to the playoffs and they now sit in the 1st wildcard spot. If he can keep playing like this, there’s no reason that the Seahawks can’t go to their 3rd Super Bowl in a row.
This is a really tough question. It’s hard to look past Wilson’s ridiculous numbers recently, and Tom Brady is the best qb in the game, but I think I have to give it to Cam Newton. This could change over the final three weeks of the season, but if the Panthers end up going 16-0, which is looking very likely right now, then I think Cam is a lock. Even if they drop 1 or 2 games before the playoffs, I still think it’s Cam’s award to lose.