What the NFL MVP award is actually voting on is a huge mystery. That's why the voting is so splintered at times.
Some are voting on the best player in the league regardless of the factors around him. Others are voting on the best player on the best team. Still others are voting on the player that had the most to do with his team's success.
That's why it doesn't matter who won the award in the past, Peyton Manning has obviously proven to be the most valuable player in the league over the last decade. Look how bad the Colts have been without him.
If you use the same metric that was used to come to that conclusion, Ray Rice will prove to be the league's most valuable player this year.
The Ravens have other offensive talent, but he is the one that makes their offense go. They will make the playoffs and have a good shot to make a deep run through them. That success will largely be thanks to Rice.
Joe Flacco is a nice quarterback. He makes most of the throws he should make and he keeps his mistakes to a minimum. That being said, he's not a player that can go out and win games on his own.
Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans are nice receivers, but they aren't franchise receivers.
Rice makes each of those guys better. He gives Flacco a safety valve receiver to go to when he is under duress and he takes a lot of pressure off Boldin and Evans.
The Ravens have a good offense with all of these pieces working together, but it's not hard to imagine them being a run-of-the-mill offense without Rice. He is that important to what they are trying to do.
Make no mistake about it. Rice isn't just a dynamic running back. He is the most valuable player in the NFL.