Super Bowl Predictions 2013: Ranking Players with Best Shot at Winning MVP

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 10, 2013

Dec 16, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss (84) is congratulated by  tight end Delanie Walker (46) after a touchdown  during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Every NFL player wants to be the guy saying, "I'm going to Disney World," but there can be only one, usually.

There was that time in 1978 when the voters couldn't decide between Randy White and Harvey Martin for Super Bowl XII MVP, but I digress.

I've already made my bold prediction for the game itself. In case you missed it, I can't see a scenario that doesn't produce a San Francisco 49ers-New England Patriots Super Bowl.

Naturally, I believe a Patriot or 49er will utter the famous phrase, but I could be wrong. However, that's only the case like once every three months. 

In the event that I'm due to stumble with this prediction, I've also included the most likely candidates from the other teams still technically alive for a berth in Super Bowl XLVII.

Here are the players most likely to win MVP of Super Bowl XLVII.


Almost No Chance, But as Good a Shot as Any One on Their Team

Arian Foster - Houston Texans

Foster is the game's most versatile running back.

He can hurt teams as a runner or receiver. Because of his dual-threat abilities, he has the best shot at having a monster day for the Houston Texans.

His production is also closely tied to the Texans' team success. 

Including Houston's 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Game on Saturday, Foster is averaging 119.6 yards from scrimmage and 1.07 touchdowns in Texans wins.

In their four losses, he's only compiled 68.5 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. His effectiveness is truly the barometer for the team.

The Texans aren't going to beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, so this will likely be a moot point.

New England really took it to the them in Week 14. They beat them in every facet of the game.

The venue will be the same, and so will the result.


Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers

Foster is the game's most versatile back, but Rodgers is the game's best player.

He won't win the league MVP this year, but what he's done behind an offensive line that allowed him to take 51 sacks in 2012 is remarkable.

In addition to the poor O-line play, he's endured injuries to receivers and a sub-par running game. With all those impediments, he still threw for 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns and led his team to the NFC North title.

It's obvious any success the Green Bay Packers enjoy this postseason will primarily be because of Rodgers.

That's also part of the reason they won't beat the 49ers in the Divisional Playoff. Even someone as great as Rodgers needs protection. The Packers' O-line can't contain the 49ers' pass rush. 

They sacked Rodgers three times during their 30-22 regular season win at Lambeau Field, and that pressure will lead to another Niners' win.


A Decent Shot, But Still Unlikely

Paul Kruger - Baltimore Ravens

As much as I'd love to place Ray Lewis here, he'd probably only win it as a lifetime achievement award.

I don't expect the Ravens to beat the Denver Broncos, but if they do win that game and advance through the Super Bowl, Kruger will have to play huge.

With so many aging and injured big names on the Ravens defense, he doesn't get the credit he deserves.

He led the team in sacks with nine, and his play against the Indianapolis Colts was big on Wild Card Weekend.

He had 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass deflection. It may seem like a long shot, but if the Ravens hit the big time, their defense will have to step up, and Kruger is the best healthy player on that side of the ball.

He didn't come up big against the Broncos in their first matchup. He failed to record a sack, and he wasn't a factor in the 34-17 loss.

The Ravens still gave up 152 yards on the ground against the Colts, and Denver pounded them for 163 yards in the regular season meeting.

The Ravens' inability to stop the run is the reason the Broncos will prevail.


Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons

Ryan has had a few rough patches this season, but overall he's been very consistent. He has perhaps the best weapons of any team still alive in the playoffs, and as the quarterback, he stands to benefit the most statistically.

If he spreads the ball around to Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, their numbers will look solid, but Ryan's stat line will look tremendous.

The Falcons defense hasn't shown the ability to shut teams down. They are ranked 23rd against the pass and 21st against the run. If they are going to reach and win the Super Bowl, they will have to score some points.

High-scoring games give quarterbacks a great shot at winning the MVP. Quarterbacks have won the award in three of the last four Super Bowls with a combined score of 40 or more.

The Falcons are at home, but I'm picking the Seattle Seahawks to win.

That less-than-stellar Falcons defense will be victimized by a team scoring an average of 38.8 points in their last five games.


Guys on Teams That Make Me Nervous

Russell Wilson - Seattle Seahawks

This guy and this team just seem to keep getting better. The Seahawks defense has been solid all year, but the better Wilson has played, the more unstoppable Seattle has seemed.

Wilson has thrown only 10 interceptions all season, and only two in his last nine games. It's no coincidence that the team is 8-1 over that time.

I mentioned that they should handle the Falcons, but their end will come in the rubber game against the Niners. These two teams are closely matched, but home field is huge in this scenario.

We all know the Seahawks are a special team at CenturyLink Field, but the Niners are 6-1-1 at home themselves. That includes a hard-fought 13-6 win over Seattle in Week 7.

They won't fall behind early like they did in the Seahawks' 42-13 revenge win in Week 16. That game took place at CenturyLink, and the early deficit took the run game out of the equation for the Niners.

This one will stay close, and the Niners will win.

The Seahawks can beat any team, and if they manage to defeat both the Falcons and Niners, they will become my pick to win it all.

Thus Wilson would be the most likely player to win the MVP.


Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos

What a story this would be.

Of all the possible Super Bowl MVP storylines, only a final run by Ray Lewis would surpass Manning going to Disney World in regards to commercial appeal.

Of all the teams not named 49ers or Patriots, the Broncos are the squad that have the most believable Super Bowl look.

Even though I have them beating the Ravens, and even though a potential meeting with the Patriots would take place at Sports Authority Field, the Pats have the offensive balance and running game to beat them.

They showed that when they overcame 337 passing yards and three touchdowns from Manning in their regular season matchup.

New England racked up 444 total yards, that included 251 rushing yards in one of the more balanced offensive performances of the season. The 251 yards on the ground is the highest total the Broncos allowed all season.

The same dynamics would potentially be in place in a playoff rematch, but the Pats will have a healthy Aaron Hernandez this time. That just gives Tom Brady another option.

I don't think anyone would be shocked to see the Broncos excel.

We all know this team could defend its turf in the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. If they do, Manning's play and his story would likely edge a solid performance from Von Miller or Elvis Dumervil.


My Picks

Randy Moss - San Francisco 49ers

Don't laugh.

I know Moss hasn't had a really big game this entire season. His season-high is just 75 receiving yards. That said, he did haul in four passes and a touchdown in the Niners' win over the Patriots in Week 15.

While the Pats' defense attempts to account for the running ability of Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore, and the pass-catching ability of Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, Moss could be the man to make big plays.

With Mario Manningham out, Moss should see even more opportunities. Exploding in the Super Bowl against his former team would make his comeback complete.


Tom Brady - New England Patriots

Despite missing both tight ends for a time, in an offense that has revolutionized the way dual-TE sets are used, Brady has been great all season. His 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns don't suggest he was devoid of any weapons.

If the Pats are going to best the Niners, it'll be on the strength of Brady's arm and decision-making.

When the Pats launched their epic comeback against the Niners in Week 15, Brady found something in the second half.

He engineered four straight touchdown-scoring drives and nearly pulled off a miracle.

If the Patriots' offense can move the ball that way again, Brady will get the much-deserved love, and the Patriots will win the Super Bowl.


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