Realistically, there are three quarterbacks worthy of winning this year’s MVP trophy. Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Carson Palmer have compelling cases for claiming the award. Let’s take a look at why each player should/shouldn’t win Most Valuable Player.
Tom Brady – New England Patriots
Why he should: Despite the litany of injuries to his offense, Brady leads the league in passing yards (4,636) and touchdowns (36), and has his Patriots (12-3) in the driver’s seat as the AFC’s No. 1 seed. He continues to make players like Brandon LaFell and Keshawn Martin look like valuable NFL players, and that alone should be worth an award.
Why he shouldn’t: Down the stretch, Brady has looked far less impressive. The Patriots have lost three of their past five games, and Brady has only exceeded 300 passing yards in one of them.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Why he should: No one has accomplished more with less talent this season. Losing No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to an ACL tear before the season began, Newton’s only viable pass-catcher was tight end Greg Olsen. Despite this, Newton has led his Carolina Panthers (14-1) to the NFC’s No. 1 seed, and came up just short of becoming the second team ever to go 16-0 in the regular season. He has also been a dynamic runner, leading all quarterbacks with 626 rushing yards.
Why he shouldn’t: Newton has been far from an efficient passer, posting the 13th best QBR in the league (65.3). Newton also competed in the weak NFC South, and was bolstered by one of the best defenses in the league.
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
Why he should: Palmer guides the highest scoring team in the NFL (32.2 points per game) while leading the league in QBR (83.1). At 36 years-old, he has thrown for career-highs in yards (4,542) and touchdowns (34), and has his Arizona Cardinals (13-2) riding a league-high 9-game win streak. The Cardinals are considered by many to be the favorite to capture this year’s Super Bowl, and Carson Palmer is the biggest reason why.
Why he shouldn’t: Of the three quarterbacks, Palmer has had the most offensive weapons at his disposal. Brady and Newton have had to compensate for a lack of talent, while Palmer has Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown and David Johnson to throw to.
My vote – Cam Newton
Aside from almost carrying a team many didn’t even expect to make the playoffs to a perfect 16-0, Newton firmly established himself as the best dual-threat quarterback in football. One bad week against the Atlanta Falcons (their only loss) shouldn’t cost Newton a much-deserved MVP award.