With the NFL season underway, we’ve already started talking about the best performances around the league. The big games from players that we expected and from some surprise players too. With that in mind, it’s never too early to talk about the MVP award. In the first edition of a weekly power rankings post, here’s my MVP Power Rankings for Week 1. Also, keep in mind that in Week 1 it’s hard to gauge between the one week wonders and the consistent players. Once it becomes more obvious, you’ll see these rankings clear up as well.
1. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
I thought before the season that Tom Brady was the leading MVP candidate, and he played well enough to be the lead candidate right now. Brady passed for 236 yards and 2 TD’s in the Patriots dominating Week 1 victory over the Titans. Brady didn’t have the best Week 1, but he is somebody who is reliable and who you know will keep up this type of production for the rest of the season.
2. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan has always been a good regular season QB, and the way we judge his career has been off his failures in the playoffs up to this point. This past week though, Matt Ryan passed for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns while looking like a real MVP caliber candidate. With a lot of explosive weapons around him, continuing his excellent play shouldn’t be too challenging.
3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers was near the top of my MVP list and the list of many others. Rodgers didn’t play bad, but he wasn’t as good as we have come to expect from him in his teams loss to the 49′ers. You need to keep in mind though, is that Rodgers was playing the league’s best defense from a year ago and still passed for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. We can expect Rodgers to be one of the best for the whole year though.
4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
A rookie hasn’t won MVP and Rookie of the Year since Earl Campbell in 1978, but that doesn’t mean you can just disregard what he did in Week 1. If he does keep it up, he could be an MVP candidate. The question though is whether or not he’ll be able to do it. I don’t think so, but I also didn’t think he’d have a game like he did in Week 1 against the Saints.
5. CJ Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
Here’s another one of the surprise players from Week 1 who has a chance to become the years breakout player. Spiller ran for 169 yards in Week 1 against a pretty good Jets defense, and he didn’t even start the game. With Fred Jackson injured for the next couple of weeks, Spiller will get a good amount of carries and will get a good chance to prove himself. This could be the breakout season for Spiller much like Arian Foster two years ago.
6. Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers
Clay Matthews had a bit of a down year in 2011, but he looks like he’s already back to form after Week 1. He led the league with 2.5 sacks against the 49′ers, and we know what to expect from him. He’s one of the best pass rushers in the league and he should be around 20 when the year is over. You do have to keep in mind that a defensive player hasn’t won the MVP award since Lawrence Taylor in 1986, so the idea of him or another sack master to be named in a little doing it is a bit of a reach. It will be done again though.
7. DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Ware has the same problem that Clay Matthews has, with a defensive not winning the MVP award since 1986. Ware could definitely do that though, as he’s come close to breaking the single season sack record a couple times in his career and could be a serious MVP candidate if he could do it.
8. Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
This one shocked me as much as any, because I’ve always thought that Joe Flacco was no more than an average QB on a great team. That may still be the case, but for now you have to salute him for the performance that he gave in Week 1. Against a Bengals defense with Pro Bowl CB Leon Hall, Flacco threw for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns and had the Ravens offense looking unstoppable. If he can keep it up, this could be Flacco’s breakout year.
9. Tim Jennings, CB, Chicago Bears
Again, I’d be very surprised to see Jennings continue this type of production. He won’t get two interceptions a week, but if he could get a good amount while having a Darrelle Revis type of shutdown season he could have a chance. With that being said, I think it’s more likely that he’s a one week wonder who benefited from the bad decisions of Matt Stafford in Week 1.
10. Kevin Ogletree, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Once again, there’s no reason to believe that Kevin Ogletree will keep up this type of production. In Week 1 though, he was a monster against the Giants injury depleted secondary. Ogletree had 114 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Giants in Week 1 and was the best WR in the league last week. He could be a one hit wonder, but he could also be in for a season like Laurent Robinson last year.