8 FOX Sports and SI writers pick the NFL’s 7 season-ending awards – FOXSports.com
Greg Bedard, SI: Dak Prescott, Cowboys. Tom Brady’s team was 3-1 without him. Derek Carr’s stats weren’t good enough. Matthew Stafford was the entire Lions teams but didn’t win his division. The Packers lost four of five with Aaron Rodgers a little off before running the table against weak opponents. Matt Ryan had big late-game interceptions in losses to Seattle, San Diego and Philadelphia (and threw a pick-six in a loss to Kansas City). Ezekiel Elliott has a great offensive line. So with no strong candidate, I’m going a little off the board. The Cowboys had basically the same team last year, with a decent running game, yet were 4-12. They would have been there again had it not been for Prescott’s efficient quarterback play.
Chris Burke, SI: Matt Ryan, Falcons. Having just witnessed in person Aaron Rodgers’ dismantling of the Lions’ secondary, it’s tough to venture off in another direction here. And yet, there is something to be said for what Ryan did all season long. Emphasis on “all season long.” Rodgers had a little downturn earlier, and Tom Brady missed Weeks 1-4, while Ryan was en route to career numbers. He finished as the league leader in a ton of categories, including net yards per attempt, yards per completion and TD percentage. Atlanta had the most explosive offense in the game this season, and it’s because of how Ryan spread the ball around.
Melissa Jacobs, SI: Aaron Rodgers, Packers. Yeah yeah, where was the glorious Rodgers when the Packers started 4-6? Who cares? What the future Hall-of-Famer has done during the Packers’ six-game winning streak to storm into the playoffs is simply phenomenal. Sixteen touchdowns, no interceptions and a whole lot of swagger. Of the MVP candidates, Rodgers has the least amount of insurance, be it one of the most dangerous receivers in the game, a top-notch offensive line or arguably the greatest head coach of all time. Simply put, he’s been the best player in football when it’s counted the most.
Jonathan Jones, SI: Matt Ryan, Falcons. Atlanta’s quarterback came up just shy of 5,000 passing yards throwing to Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and six or seven other guys you’ve never heard of. Indeed, Ryan benefited from Kyle Shanahan and Alex Mack, but every MVP candidate has a significant crutch. Ryan was consistently great for 16 games—not Weeks 4-17 (cough, Brady), not the past six weeks (cough, Rodgers).
Chris Chase, FOX Sports: Aaron Rodgers, Packers. The toughest call in years. Do you reward Rodgers for the six-game winning streak that got Green Bay to the 10-6 record it should have reached in the first place? Do Matt Ryan’s superior numbers cinch the award for him, despite having the potent rushing attack Rodgers’ didn’t? One thing that’s easy, though: It’s not Tom Brady. As sublime as he was, no one has ever missed 25 percent of his team’s season and won the MVP.
Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons. This year is unlike any other when it comes to MVP. Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are all deserving for one reason or another, but Ryan should win it. Consider this: Every quarterback in NFL history to average 300 passing yards and have a passer rating above 110 has won MVP or finished second to a QB who also did that. Ryan is the only player with those numbers this year.
Dieter Kurtenbach, FOX Sports: Tom Brady, Patriots. Aaron Rodgers might have ended the season with an incredible six-game run, but Brady went on a tremendous 12-game run this season. You can’t fight 28 TDs and two interceptions, even if the Patriots were 3-1 without him.
Peter Schrager, FOX Sports: Matt Ryan, Falcons. He was my MVP after four weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks, and he had his best performances in Weeks 13-17. So, quit looking to find the MVP. He’s made the case. All season long. Matt Ryan was the best player — and the most important to his team’s success — in the NFL this season.