After 4 weeks of the NFL season, there remains only three undefeated teams. There are also two teams still searching for their first wins of the year. The list of the five teams with a zero in either the win or loss column include the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns. It should come as no surprise that the Falcons and Texans are both undefeated, and the Browns are winless, but the biggest shock so far has been the play of the Cardinals and the Saints. New Orleans, who fought controversy and distraction all offseason have hit a major road block through the first four games of the season. Meanwhile, Arizona, being led by Kevin Kolb after an injury to opening day starter John Skelton, have managed to play outstanding defense, and also found ways to win against the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, both games that could have easily been a loss.
After taking a step back and looking at the entire league as a whole, how does one begin to put together a list of who the most valuable player is? Obviously, wins and losses play a major part in determining a player's value. If a guy like Matthew Stafford of the 1-3 Detroit Lions, for example, was putting together the same season statistically as Matt Ryan of the undefeated Falcons, how much farther would Ryan be ahead of Stafford based off team record. Another major influence in the determination is how much does that player contribute to his side's production. Does Clay Matthews and his 7 sacks mean as much to the Packers defense as A.J. Hawk, team leader in tackles? Lucky for you, you don't have to figure all this out on your own. That's why we're here to help. Let's take a look at the current top 5 rankings for the 2012 NFL MVP.
#5. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins (1,070 passing yards, 8 total TD, 1 INT) - The current Heisman Trophy holder, and #2 overall pick in the draft has shown that the transition from the NCAA to the NFL isn't one that is difficult for everybody. Griffin has been instrumental in guiding the Redskins to a 2-2 record, and has kept them in every game. The biggest credit belonging to Griffin is his ability to maintain possession of the ball, and not put his defense into a short field situation.
#4. Daryl Washington, MLB, Arizona Cardinals (34 tackles, 3 sacks) - The undefeated Cardinals have been sparked by a resurgent defense led by #58 in the middle. A second round pick out of TCU in 2010, Washington has been an integral part of the Arizona defense since first stepping foot on the practice field, and has since become the leader of what is now the 3rd best defense in terms of points allowed, one of the main reasons the Redbirds are still undefeated.
#3. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (1,227 passing yards, 8 total TD, 1 INT) - This man will continue to appear on every list for potential MVP winners until the day he retires. The skill set around Brady may be the best it has ever been, even without Aaron Hernandez. Brady's ability to bring the Patriots back against the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday proves that there is no drop off from the offense New England had last year, and will continue to have as long as Brady is the quarterback.
#2. J.J. Watt/Arian Foster, DE/HB, Houston Texans (20 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 5 passes defended/424 total yards, 5 total TD) - This one is a two-headed monster simply because they have both proven to be the keys for the Texans during their remarkable 4-0 start. With the exception of a Week 3 matchup with the Denver Broncos, the Texans have beaten their opponents by an average of over 21 points. With Watt leading the charge defensively, and Foster taking the load off of Matt Schaub's shoulders, one can only wonder how far this team can go.
#1. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (1,162 passing yards, 12 total TD, 2 INT) - When the Atlanta Falcons got the ball on their own 1 yard line against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, trailing by 1 point, it looked for a slight moment that their undefeated run was going to come to an end. Roddy White then caught a 59-yard pass from Matt Ryan, followed by the Falcons setting up Matt Bryant for a game-winning field goal. That has been the story of the Falcons and Ryan this season. No matter the circumstances, no matter how bleak things may look at any point, they get the job done.798979