5 Players Who Will Contend for NFL MVP and the One Who Will Win

Kwame Fisher-Jones@@joneskwameContributor IIIAugust 25, 2011

5 Players Who Will Contend for NFL MVP and the One Who Will Win

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    The 2011 season is here, and with it is everyone’s opinion of the best and wackiest player. Not to be outdone here is another slideshow, but this one has a curve ball.

    In this list of four MVP candidates and the certain winner is a player that most have forgotten. The order is set from five being the player who will receive the least amount of votes to the player who will receive the actual prize.

    When preparing a list comprised of the best, there are always people who are left off and this list is no exception.

    Missing is Peyton Manning due to a neck injury that feels like it could possibly derail his career. Chris Johnson is also absent because of the incompetence in his organization. Matt Ryan is not worthy of this class yet and, well, outside of those three, the other missing individuals will have to be uncovered in your reading.

    The short list is also missing some of the more popular and decorated players. This omission was purposeful and necessary to make way for the young guns in the league.

    So keeping with the theme of “shortness,” this will be the end of the introduction.

5) Philip Rivers

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    The San Diego Charger quarterback passed for over 4,700 yards last year despite having an absent running game. Rivers also had a hobbled Antonio Gates and was without Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson for 11 games last year.

    Oddly enough, the lack of running game has allowed Rivers to flourish and confirmed why the Chargers were confident enough to ride with him. Rivers was 290 yards away from cracking the 5,000-passing-yard mark, which has only been done twice in NFL history.  This year, with a healthy receiving corps, Rivers could not only break that mark, but he also may set a new NFL record.

    The 2011 season begins with a healthy Gates and an in-the-fold Vincent Jackson. If the Drew Bledsoe clone can come that close to 5,000 yards without his two aces, imagine what he can accomplish with them. The quarterback also benefits from playing in a passing defensively-challenged division.

    The Chargers will face the 17th-ranked passing defense in the Chiefs, who should be about the same since they were not active in free agency. They benefit from playing the 25th-ranked passing defense in the Denver Broncos, who have two senior citizens in their secondary with Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey.

    The Raiders present the biggest obstacle in the division with the second-ranked passing defense, but the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha will hurt the Raiders secondary. These six games alone should pave the way for another huge year for Rivers, who will eventually fall short of the MVP award. However, it will not be from lack of trying, but from a better year from his counterparts.

4) Roddy White

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    A surprise selection to some, but the 2010 All-Pro should not be. White had a career-high 115 receptions last year with 10 touchdowns; now, for some or even most players, that would be a career year. However, the Falcon receiver has room for improvement, and considering he has gotten better each year he has been in the league, it is safe to say he is poised for another breakout year, if that is possible.

    The Falcons have set the table for Roddy to eat well this season by adding Alabama receiver Julio Jones in the 2011 NFL draft. Jones will join a lineup that not only boasts White, but also features Hall of Fame-bound tight end Tony Gonzalez, Pro Bowl running back Michael Turner and Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan.

    Jones should provide White with more opportunities to feast on single coverage and more space in the middle of the field to operate. This should allow Roddy to shatter that 115-catch mark he set last year.

    The receiver has been amazingly durable throughout his career and has shown the competitive fire necessary to be considered one of the game's true elite players. He will also benefit from four primetime games and two more nationally-televised late afternoon games. This will put him on the national stage, and consequently, foremost on people’s minds.

    Atlanta faces some of the top passing defenses this season, so as a team the Falcons will struggle, but that is for another story. This will tremendously hinder his chances at obtaining the award, but he will definitely be mentioned among the finalists.

3) Michael Vick

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    First they love you, then they hate you, then they love again.

    Michael Vick was the topic of every barbershop and beauty salon last year, and should be bigger and deffer going into the 2011 season.

    The Philadelphia Eagles added Ronnie Brown this year and appear to be adjusting their pass-happy offense from passing 60 percent of time to 58 percent of the time. This should not interrupt Vick’s pursuit for the 2011 MVP award.

    The Eagles first six games are against the some of the more accommodating pass defenses in the league, beginning with the 19th-ranked pass defense in the St. Louis Rams

    The schedule provides the 2010 MVP runner-up with a warm-up before the real heat begins later in the season.

    The Birds play, in order, the Rams, the 22nd-ranked passing defense of the Atlanta Falcons, who have put up as much resistance in recent years as a 7-on-7 passing defense, the injury-riddled secondary of the New York Giants who just worked out Night Train Lane, then draw the 24th-ranked passing defense of the San Francisco 49ers, who signed Carlos "Toast" Rogers.

    After playing those defensive juggernauts, Philly’s finest get a surprisingly impressive Buffalo Bills defense, and then gets the 31st-ranked Washington Redskins.

    Vick is certain to put up impressive numbers against those six, and could possibly ride that momentum to acquiring his first NFL MVP trophy. Yet Head Coach Andy Ried might be conservative with the mercurial talent which will help the team but hurt Vick's chances.  

2) Tom Brady

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    Brady is arguably the best QB in the game and will be the early favorite to repeat as MVP. Brady was given a gift when the Cincinnati Bengals traded perennial Pro Bowler Chad Johnson – OchoCinco to the New England Patriots for a half of bottle of Gatorade. The two should by a force by midseason.

    Regardless of who the Pats play Brady will perform at a top level the question is can the other players keep up. Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning are the only players to win back to back MVP trophies and Brady will be looking to join this group.

    Few things outside of injury could stop Brady from securing his second trophy. New England has never been a big running team, despite finishing ninth in the league in 2010. The Pats use the pass to setup the run and the 2011 season does not appear to be changing from that formula.

    In the last six years Brady has been in the top ten in passing attempts expect for last year where he was eleventh and in 2008 when he missed 15 games due to injury. The two-time All-Pro has been dominant and has not shown any indication he will be slowing down. 

    Once the 2011 regular season arrives we can be sure these three things will occur. First a Steeler will get fined for an illegal hit, second Matthew Stafford will get hurt, and third Tom Brady will have another wicked sick season. The question is who will be sicker?    

1) Aaron Rodgers

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    To victory go the spoils and Aaron Rodgers has been so spoiled he stinks. He has been everywhere from the ESPYs to Mickey's spot, needless to say the cheese stands alone. The accolades are well deserved and Rodgers proved last year through his play in the postseason he is ready to claim the throne as the best QB in the game.

    Rodgers’ playoff assault was nothing short of remarkable. Since 1980, that is 30 years people, only Kurt Warner in 2008 (1,147 yards) eclipsed Rodgers’ 1,094 postseason passing yards. 2010 served as the second straight postseason that the Green Bay QB boldly announced his presence as one of the game’s best with authority.

    The 2011 season should see Rodgers snatch the aforementioned throne from the head of Brady and place it upon his very own. He is armored with the same receiving core that he so masterfully used during last season’s Super Bowl run and with the addition of Ryan Grant there is no reason to believe he will not shine again. Add to that mix a healthy Jermichael Finley and life is good for the former Cal Bear.

    Rodgers has the perfect blend of accuracy and gumption. He can kill you fast with the deep ball or slow with underneath precision. Against the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 playoffs Rodgers introduced himself with a blistering 423 passing yards and four touchdowns. It was at that moment people begin to take notice.

    After a Super Bowl win and he is now foremost on everyone’s mind.