NFL MVP 2012: Odds and Predictions for Next Season's Top Candidates

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIJanuary 31, 2012

NFL MVP 2012: Odds and Predictions for Next Season's Top Candidates

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    With the 2012 NFL season closer than anyone could imagine (only the Super Bowl remains to close the 2011 season), it's time to start dissecting which players will be beginning the season as the top candidates for the MVP Award.

    While the usual suspects such as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees will certainly be in contention, there are also some new faces that will be fighting for the NFL's top honor.

    Here's a look at the odds and predictions for the top 2012 NFL MVP candidates.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE

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    Odds: 1 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 79 tackles, 21 sacks, one interception, four forced fumbles

    It's very rare for a defensive player to take home the MVP Award. However, if one defensive player is disruptive enough to do so, it's Jason Pierre-Paul.

    Pierre-Paul has completely dominated offenses this year. He consistently puts pressure on the quarterback and his athletic ability makes him a threat to make plays all over the field.

    What's scary about his extremely impressive 2011 statistics of 86 tackles and 16.5 sacks is that he wasn't even a full-time starter in the beginning of the season.

    With more time on the field in 2012, Pierre-Paul can solidify himself as the top defensive player in the NFL. He likely won't win the MVP Award, but he'll definitely need to be considered in the conversation.

Cam Newton, QB

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    Odds: 5 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 4,219 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 832 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns

    Cam Newton had one of the most impressive rookie seasons in NFL history. For an encore, he'll greatly improve across the board and establish himself as one of the top young quarterbacks in the league.

    What will make Newton a threat to win the MVP Award is his ability to run the football. When a quarterback can add double-digit touchdowns on the ground like Newton can, he makes himself all the more dangerous as an MVP candidate.

    If Newton takes a huge leap in his sophomore year like many expect him to, he should be in the MVP talks all year long.

LeSean McCoy, RB

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    Odds: 5 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 1,414 rushing yards, 536 receiving yards, 19 combined touchdowns

    It's too bad that the Philadelphia Eagles fell flat on their faces, because LeSean McCoy had a special season. Had the Eagles lived up to expectations, McCoy would have definitely been a legitimate MVP candidate in 2011.

    With the Eagles expected to bounce back in 2012, McCoy will be in the spotlight and he should take full advantage of the opportunity. He's improved as a running back each year he has been in the league, but he's also been able to continue to be productive as a receiver.

    While other dual-threat running backs like Ray Rice, Matt Forte and Fred Jackson looking to continue their strong play, look for McCoy to separate himself from the pack and look to make a run at the MVP Award.

Peyton Manning, QB

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    Odds: 5 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 4,574 yards, 32 touchdowns, 14 interceptions

    Whichever team Peyton Manning plays for in 2012, you can almost guarantee that they'll be a playoff contender. That is just how good Manning is.

    With reports that Manning is still recovering slowly from neck surgery, it may seem a little far fetched to have him as a 2012 MVP candidate. However, we all know how good Manning is and I fully expect him to be playing next year.

    Manning will waste no time getting back into form and putting up quality statistics. As long as he is on the field, he needs to be considered for the MVP Award.

Tom Brady, QB

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    Odds: 10 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 4,863 yards, 38 touchdowns, 10 interceptions

    This may seem like ridiculously low odds for Tom Brady, but due to his age, I'm expecting Brady to take a step back next year.

    I don't expect him to throw for as many yards, but thanks to guys like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, his touchdown total will remain close to to his 2011 number.

    Brady is much like Peyton Manning in that they both need to be considered MVP candidates as long as they are on the field. With that said, 2012 will be the year that younger players start to overtake Brady and Manning as premier players.

Adrian Peterson, RB

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    Odds: 12 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 1,692 rushing yards, 412 receiving yards, 20 total touchdowns

    Adrian Peterson is going to have a monster season in 2012. We all know how good he is, but I think he'll cement his status as the best running back in the NFL.

    He's struggled with injuries the past two seasons, but if he can stay healthy, he should once again be the focal point of the offense for the Minnesota Vikings. He'll get plenty of carries for Minnesota along with loads of chances to get into the end zone.

    Look for Peterson to have a career year in 2012 as he tries to right the ship in Minnesota and get them back to the playoffs.

Calvin Johnson, WR

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    Odds: 12 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 108 receptions, 1,792 receiving yards, 17 touchdowns

    In 2011, Calvin Johnson proved that he is the best wide receiver in the entire NFL. And in reality, it isn't even that close.

    There simply isn't a more freakish athlete than Johnson, and in 2011, he fully tapped into his potential as a player. With the emergence of Matthew Stafford (more on him later), Johnson will continue to develop and be even better in 2012 than he was in 2011.

    Look for Megatron to flat-out dominate the NFL next year.

Matthew Stafford, QB

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    Odds: 15 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 4,924 yards, 43 touchdowns, 15 interceptions

    In his first full season, Matthew Stafford absolutely proved that he was worth the top draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Not only did he lead the Detroit Lions back into the playoffs for the first time since 892 B.C., but he also established himself as the best young quarterback in the NFL.

    He'll continue to benefit from having Calvin Johnson on his team. Those two should continue to be the top quarterback/receiver duo in the NFL for years to come.

    Look for Stafford to put together another ridiculously impressive season in 2012 and be a top-three MVP candidate.

Drew Brees, QB

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    Odds: 15 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 5,165 yards, 44 touchdowns, 15 interceptions

    Drew Brees had arguably the greatest single season for a quarterback in NFL history in 2011. Let me first say this: He won't repeat that performance in 2012.

    With that said, he'll still have some of the best statistics in the NFL. His receiving corps could take a hit with Marques Colston possibly leaving via free agency. However, Brees is one of the best at spreading the ball around, and he should continue to do so next season.

    Brees is another of the "older" quarterbacks in the league, but he should be a true MVP candidate until he retires.

Aaron Rodgers, QB

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    Odds: 20 percent

    2012 Stat Predictions: 4,911 yards, 51 touchdowns, nine interceptions

    It's possible that Aaron Rodgers will win the MVP Award in 2011, but I expect him to have an even better 2012 season statistically speaking. He'll enter the year as the 2012 MVP favorite and remain there for the entire season.

    He's got more weapons surrounding him, and the Green Bay Packers love to throw the football. Rodgers firmly put himself into discussions as the best quarterback, and in 2012 he'll officially take the crown.

    The fact that he'll break the record for most touchdowns in a season will be the icing on the cake.

    Look for Rodgers to dominate the league again and make the strongest case for winning the MVP Award.


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