NFL MVP: Carson, Tom or Cam

I’m sitting here watching the Arizona Cardinals dominate the Green Bay Packers, having just watched both the Patriots (Tom Brady) and Panthers (Cam Newton) lose and I’m thinking to myself, “why would Carson Palmer not be the MVP this year?” His team is now 13-2 and he’s had a career year.

Here’s Carson Palmer‘s numbers going into today’s 38-8 beatdown of the Pack:

  • 4,277 Yards Passing (3rd in NFL)
  • 106.7 Passer Rating (2nd in NFL)
  • 32 Touchdown Passes (3rd in NFL) to only 9 Interceptions
  • 64.3 Completion Percentage (13th in NFL, but difference all the way up to first place is just 5.2% where Kirk Cousins of the Redskins has a 69.5 comp.)
  • 25 Rushes, 24 Yards, 1 TD, 2 Fumbles
  • Today’s Game vs. Packers: 265 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 66.7 comp., 107.8 Passer Rating, Won 38-8
  • Team: 13-2 (2nd in NFC)

Cam Newton (going into today’s 20-13 loss to Atlanta):

  • 3,402 Yards Passing (16th in NFL)
  • 98.9 Passer Rating (7th in NFL)
  • 33 TDs (2nd in NFL) to just 10 INTs
  • 58.8 Completion Percentage (30th in NFL)
  • 119 Rushes, 580 Yards, 7 TDs, 4 Fumbles (best rushing stats among QBs)
  • Today’s Game vs. Falcons: 142 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 56.7 comp., 7 rushes for 46 yards and 1 TD, 1 Fumble, 69.0 Passer Rating, Lost 20-13
  • Team: 14-1 (1st in NFC)

Tom Brady (going into today’s 26-20 loss to the Jets):

  • 4,405 Yards Passing (2nd in NFL)
  • 103.8 Passer Rating (4th in NFL)
  • 35 TDs (1st in NFL) to just 6 INTs
  • 64.3 Completion Percentage (12th in NFL)
  • 32 Rushes, 55 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 Fumble
  • Today’s Game vs. Jets: 231 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 71.0 comp., 89.6 Passer Rating, Lost 26-20
  • Team: 12-3 (1st in AFC)

Sure there are other players who have had fantastic seasons–Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Kurt Coleman, J.J. Watt, Ziggy Ansah, Adrian Peterson, and Todd Gurley to name a few. But look at those names and then look at their teams’ records. To be an MVP, your team has to perform at a very high level (like the Cardinals, Panthers and Patriots). Jones, Beckham Jr., Ziggy and Gurley won’t even make the playoffs. Brown, Watt and Peterson will likely make the postseason as wildcards (Vikings and Texans could potentially still win their Divisions) and Coleman is on the 1st Place Panthers. Even then though, who has a bigger impact on the game in any sport than a quarterback does in football? No one. Well, since Michael Jordan anyway.

Let’s dig deeper now. How good are the supporting casts for these three MVP candidates? Cam’s Carolina defense is 3rd in the league in total defense, no. 1 in the league with 35 takeaways. That’s huge! He’s getting extra possessions to capitalize on and dominating the turnover battle like that has as big an affect on winning games as anything Cam is doing at QB. Uncle Tom’s Patriots’ defense is 6th in the NFL in total defense and Carson’s Cardinals’ defense is no. 7. Brady has had to deal with the most injuries on offense, but he also has the best weapon in Rob Gronkowski. Palmer has the best passing numbers while Cam has the worst passing numbers of the three, but adds those gaudy running numbers and makes you think twice about how on earth you’d ever stop him as a monster dual-threat.

So, who’s the MVP? It’s definitely up for grabs with one week to go, but as of now, my vote would go to Carson Palmer. Cam Newton in second and Tom Brady in a close third.

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