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As for the NFL Most Valuable Player award, after three weeks, I see the race boiling down to these five candidates:
1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons QB. Ryan has the Falcons offense humming this year. Ryan leads the NFL in passer rating because he has a multi-dimensional offense that allows him to distribute the ball all around the field. As long as the Falcons offense continues to do well on the ground and in the air, Ryan will be getting the accolades.
2. Eli Manning, New York Giants QB. Manning leads the NFL in passing yards and has picked up right where he left off last year. It doesn't seem to matter if starters are missing, Manning just finds a way to keep the team rolling.
3. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens QB. Flacco proved again how his game is improving by leading the Ravens to a dramatic win against the New England Patriots. It would be two straight wins against the Patriots if he had a better field-goal kicker last season. As it is, Flacco still needs to prove himself week in and week out, as he has his share of detractors.
4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions WR. Where would the Lions be without Calvin Johnson? Despite double- or triple-team schemes, Johnson finds a way to get open and come down with the ball. He is the best wideout in football and continues to prove it each passing week.
5. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers LB. Matthews has been the most dynamic force so far in the NFL this year. The Packers offense has been struggling—at least compared to how they performed in 2011—and Matthews has been keeping the Packers in games. Although it is highly unlikely that a defensive player would win the MVP award, I have to acknowledge what a great start Matthews has had to his season.
Thanks for checking out the presentation. We will be back next week with a look around the league after the Week 4 games.