I would like to start by saying that the other favorites – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr – all have compelling arguments in their favors. This includes Brady’s 25 TDs to 2 picks, Derek Carr being the saving grace of the raiders and Aaron Rodgers leading the league in TD passes. The big knock on Brady is that when the Patriots had their backup, Jimmy Garappolo, they went 3-0. But, I believe that one man should stand above them all, the nine-year vet from Boston College, Matt Ryan.
First, just like all the players mentioned above, Matt Ryan is the undeniable leader of his offense. The Falcons go as Matt Ryan goes. However, unlike the other players, Matt Ryan is the undeniable leader of the NFL’s most prolific offense. Only the Saints have more yards, but the Falcons lead the league in scoring by 4.4 points per game, which is a huge margin. To put that in perspective, the difference between the second team (New Orleans) and the 11th team (Arizona) is 4.6 points.
If you were wondering how that translates directly to points, the Falcons have 502 and the second-best team has 437, nearly 15 percent fewer points. If the Falcons score 15 points this week, (given that they have something to play for, this will probably happen), they will be a top-10 scoring offense in NFL history. If the Falcons score 40 points (they’ve done it five times this year), they would have the sixth highest scoring offense of all-time.
Of the top 10 scoring offenses ever, the MVP came from that team seven times. The three times it did not were the 2012 Patriots (when Adrian Peterson ran for 2,097 yards and resurrected the Vikings’ franchise), the 2011 Saints (because that year’s Packers are on the list and Rodgers won MVP) and the 1998 Vikings when Terrell Davis of the Broncos won MVP.
Now onto Ryan’s individual achievements, of which there are many. He is third in passing touchdowns (34) to Brees and Rodgers who had 35 and 36, respectively. Both Ryan and Rodgers only threw seven interceptions, but Ryan had two fumbles to Rodgers’ three. Ryan led the league in passer rating with a whopping 115.5, which is good for fifth all-time. Second was Tom Brady at 110.7 and Rodgers checks in with a “lowly” 102.7.
Ryan led the league in yards per attempt (9.3) by 1.1 yards, which is equal to the distance between the 2nd best QB (Brady) and the 17th best QB (Carson Palmer). He was third in the league in completion percentage behind Brees and Bradford, but again his yards per attempt was 1.5 yards better than Brees’ and 2.3 better than Bradford’s. He was first in percent of throws leading to a first down (44%), beating the next best, Dak Prescott, by 4.2%.
Finally, Ryan does not rely on one receiver as much as Rodgers does with Jordy Nelson. For example, Ryan has completed TD passes to 13 different receivers: Taylor Gabriel, Julio Jones, Patrick DiMarco, Levine Toilolo, Mohamed Sanu, Jacob Tamme, Austin Hooper, Aldrick Robinson, Tevin Coleman, Devonte Freeman, Joshua Perkins, DJ Tialavea and Justin Hardy.
The final argument is consistency. First of all, Ryan leads the league in games with a passer rating of at least 100 with 11. Brady has 7 (they have both missed 4 as Brady has played only 11 games), but Ryan has played more games. Rodgers has 8 and Derek Carr doesn’t even make the top 5. Ryan has not thrown more than one interception in any game this year, and has never thrown for less than 237 yards. He has thrown a touchdown in every single game as well. All of that being said, I think it is pretty hard to make an argument against Matty Ice for the MVP.