Since the year 2000, only two players that have been named the most valuable player in the NFL have been drafted out of the first round. There are currently two players this season that are playing at a level capable of accomplishing that prestigious award. One of those players was not drafted at all, let alone in the first round. You would have to go back to 1978 to find Earl Campbell's rookie season, a year that saw him win both the Rookie of the Year award, and the MVP as well. There are a few names in the 2012 season that may have the chance to achieve that extremely rare feat. Finally, the is one team left that has a chance to answer the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins season. If that happens, one would be led to believe that the man at the head of that offense would be named the Most Valuable. This week's rankings have seen a bit of a shake-up since the last time they were released, so without further ado, here are the Week 9 NFL MVP rankings.
One team is entering this game with a defensive lineman that is terrorizing the league. The other comes in with a defensive lineman whose play is being questioned by the league. As Mario Williams prepares to make his return to the city that he called home for six years, the man that has Houston forgetting about "Super Mario", J.J. Watt is preparing to dismantle a Buffalo Bills offense that is the 4th worst passing team in the league. The problem that Buffalo will run into the most, however, is the Houston Texans third ranked rush defense. That brings us to our first storyline to look for today.
#1. Can either Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller make it past the front seven of the Texans?
Through seven weeks of the NFL season, there are just eleven teams that have a winning record. Of those eleven, seven are more than one game above an even record. What does this say about the current state of the league? Does it imply that parity is running rampant? Perhaps it means that there are no truly great teams left at all. One thing that is known around the league is that the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers are not good this year. How do we know this? Combined, those teams have four wins. Simply put, the Atlanta Falcons are better, on paper, than all four of those teams combined. What did we learn from Week 7 in and of itself? The Houston Texans are nowhere close to the team that sleepwalked through their Sunday Night game against the Green Bay Packers. The Chicago Bears defense is as good as it has ever been, and may be the best defense we have seen this decade (Sorry 49ers fans). The Baltimore Ravens have a lot of work to do offensively, (ahem, Joe Flacco) but the return of Terrell Suggs may provide the spark the defense needs after losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.
We should have seen it coming Thursday night when the Tennessee Titans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. We should have seen it coming when Dez Bryant made a tremendous touchdown catch to bring the Dallas Cowboys within a 2-point conversion against the Baltimore Ravens, only to see him drop the 2-point conversion pass. We should have seen it coming when the Philadelphia Eagles blew a 10-point 4th-quarter lead against the Detroit Lions, only to lose in overtime. Perhaps it was Russel Wilson's bomb to Sidney Rice that led the Seattle Seahawks to a victory over the New England Patriots that should have alerted us all. You're probably wondering what exactly we all should have been aware of at this point. We all should have been aware that something incredibly ridiculous was going to happen Monday night, because the entire week has been upside-down in the NFL. Watching Philip Rivers implode and allow the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning to come back and win, in Qualcomm Stadium, should have been something we all saw happening before it did. Each week, a list is put together ranking the top 5 most valuable players in the NFL, at that point in the season.
There are a vast number of things that can be taken away from Week 5 of the NFL season. For example, the Indianapolis Colts rallying around their head coach, who is receiving treatment after being diagnosed with leukemia, proved that emotion can push you forward, and propel you to things many people thought were impossible, like beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The New Orleans Saints, apparently, only needed to have their head coach in the building to prove that they can still win games, and have an extremely potent offense. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons showed once again why they may not be the most comforting team to watch, but when it all boils down to wins and losses, they are the class of the NFC. The Chicago Bears are continuing a push to once again have their names on the upper echelon defensively in the league, while the Minnesota Vikings are trying to prove that they belong on that same level, as a whole.