Tag Archives: New England Patriots

2012 NFL Top 5 MVP Candidates

There are no clear candidates for this year’s NFL MVP award which should make for an intense and close race toward the end of the season. Listed below are the top five candidates to win the award and the reason why they should win the award.

ADRIAN PETERSON
Everyone who knows the NFL knows that Adrian Peterson had serious knee surgery less than a year before the season started, rehabbed his way back from his torn MCL and ACL injury, started Week 1 and is having one of his best seasons as a professional. He currently leads the league in rushing with 1,128 rushing yards and he is doing it virtually by himself without much help on offense being on the Minnesota Vikings. We don’t know what lies ahead for the Vikings but they are currently sitting on a record of 6-4 with the Bears and Green Bay Packers to deal with in their division, which may decrease Peterson’s chances of winning the award. Also, the award gives higher priority to the elite quarterbacks of the league but Peterson should be in a two man race for the Comeback Player of the Year award with Peyton Manning.

MATT RYAN
Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons came out of the gate full force making cases for all the awards and the Super Bowl. Recently however, they have looked mortal with Ryan throwing for 5 interceptions in Week 11 against the Cardinals and barely squeezing out victories. Ryan put up MVP like numbers early on in the season with above 70% accuracy and a high yards per game average however those numbers have fallen but the Falcons continue to win and stay on top of the football league which has a bunch of weight when it comes to MVP voting.

AARON RODGERS
He is the reigning MVP and has statistics to back up his argument for winning the award again this year however Rodgers had such an unbelievable 2011 season that many voters will see a decrease in numbers. Not only has Rodgers been “un-Rodgers-like”, but Rodgers’ Packers started the season with a sub .500 record early on in the season. He has been able to steer the ship in the right direction despite numerous injuries to his wide receivers and offensive line. If the Packers can continue its winning streak and notch the top spot in their division, Rodgers could make a strong case for a repeat award.

TOM BRADY
It seems like Brady could win this award every year with different rosters and players surrounding him. This season has been no exception as Brady has been playing at an elite level yet again. He is currently third in total passing yards with 3,299 yards and leads the highest scoring offense in the league. Let’s not forget that Brady also threw for over 5,000 yards last season, a feat that would have been commended if it weren’t for Drew Brees. He is also leading his team toward yet another AFC playoff appearance and possibly another first round bye week in the playoffs. The fact that he keeps leading his team year after year and puts up elite numbers year after year, voters may become “numb” to Brady’s consistency and neglect what he has actually been able to accomplish year after year. He should still get a lot of attention come award time.

PEYTON MANNING
When teams are essentially being interviewed by a “player” during the offseason means the player is a sure fire Hall of Fame player which was most definitely the case when Manning “chose” the Denver Broncos as his new home and team. Manning has not disappointed either despite not playing in a regular season in almost two calendar years prior to the start of this season. Manning has everything going for him this season to claim his fifth MVP trophy. He has led his team to a 7-3 record among the AFC, thrown for 2,975 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions with a 68.5% completion percentage. He has been able to turn around a franchise that cringed every time a pass was thrown to elite playoff contenders. Manning could be collecting his record fifth MVP award along with a Comeback Player of the Year award if he continues on this same path by the end of the season.

Top 5 Super Bowl XLVII Contenders

We are now eleven weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season and it has been a surprising season up to this point among contenders and pretenders based on seasons’ past. It seems that the “bounty-gate” debacle has affected the New Orleans Saints more than perhaps even “expert analysts” have anticipated. The Arizona Cardinals jumped out to an early 4-0 lead among the NFC West and the New York Jets look like the preseason named “circus” after all, winning and losing by large deficits week by week. However, I believe we as fans can start to pin-point those teams who will be automatic locks in the playoffs and the potential Super Bowl XLVII contenders!

We will now take a quick look into the future and some of the teams that might be playing in the big game.

Barrys Ticket Service with Petros Padadakis

HOUSTON TEXANS
Right now the Houston Texans look to have the easiest road to a playoff bye week and home field advantage among the AFC. They have a complete team both on offense and defense with elite offensive weapons in Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub to along with defensive swat man J.J. Watt. They also have by far the easiest division having to face the Indianapolis Colts, the Tennessee Titans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The only thing that will stop the Houston Texans from getting to the playoffs will be injuries to key players such as Brian Cushing. The Texans have also only made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season with a rookie quarterback leading the way. With experience and healthy players, the Texans could potentially see themselves representing the AFC in New Orleans.

ATLANTA FALCONS
We all know that Atlanta had a pretty decent team when they drafted Matt Ryan to take over at quarterback. Matty “Ice” has made the playoffs each of his five seasons in the league but has failed to make it anywhere close to the Super Bowl. The Atlanta Falcons were able to put all their eggs in one basket a year ago by giving up a ton of draft picks to select Julio Jones last year and we are now seeing those dividends as Jones is quickly becoming an elite wide receiver in the league alongside perhaps the best wide receiver duo in Roddy White. The reason the Falcons are one of the top teams in the league this year is because of their defense. Trading for Asante Samuel in the offseason and the emergence of William Moore and Thomas DeCoud in the deep secondary has made the Falcons able to pass rush the quarterback, something they have unable to do in past seasons. What looks like to be the “turning point” for Matt Ryan could result in a Super Bowl appearance by representing the NFC.

SAN FRANSISCO 49ERS
The San Fransisco 49ers came out of the gate blazing last season, ultimately claiming the second best record and a first round bye week in the playoffs. They were bested by the hot New York Giants and a few special team plays in the NFC title game to end their season. This year they have focused on improving the offense as the defense is still tops in the league. The 49ers were able to lure in two Giants in Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs as well as retired Randy Moss to bolster the bench. Under the lead of head coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have returned to the dominant days of the 1980s only this time around the defense is doing the dominating. Alex Smith is finally starting to shape into what was once the number one overall pick out of Utah having the same offensive playbook in consecutive seasons for the first time in his career. If Smith can overcome his concussion suffered a few weeks ago, the 49ers should be able to secure a playoff spot and hopefully go beyond the outcome of last year and into the Super Bowl.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The New England Patriots are the current AFC champions and they still have all their offensive weapons with a much improved defense from a year ago. Despite some early losses, I believe that Tom Brady and company will be able to right the ship and sail into the playoffs perhaps with a first round bye. The main reason I believe they have yet another legitimate chance at a Super Bowl run is because of its young defense. The Patriots were able to draft a slew of young defensive players including the likes of Chandler Jones, Donta’ Hightower, and Tavon Wilson to play along with guys like Devin McCourty and Jerrod Mayo. No matter what though, the ultimate reason the Patriots are always a Super Bowl contender is because of #12, Tom Brady. Brady has led his team to 5 Super Bowls in his career, he can do it again.

BALTIMORE RAVENS
Although Ray Lewis and LaDarrius Webb are out for the season I still have the Baltimore Ravens playoff bound and as a potential Super Bowl contender. The Ravens have a great defense and a great offense. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are almost mirror images of each other, both having made the playoffs every year in their career but never having made it to the Super Bowl although Flacco has come much closer than Ryan. You can almost sense that both of these guys have finally “figured it out” and are having monster years on offense running his respective team to the top of their divisions and conferences. Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta are also much improved weapons at Flacco’s disposal and I expect the Raven’s backup players on defense to fill in the hole that Lewis and Webb left fluidly. With the Steelers having to deal with major injury issues and the Bengals still young and inexperienced, the Ravens should be able to win the AFC North easily and make a strong push toward Super Bowl XLVII.

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Super Bowl XLVI

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLVI (36)
February 5th, 2012
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN), 6:29 PM ET

Analysis of the New York Giants
The Giants (9-6) barely got into the playoffs after downing the division rival Cowboys in the final week of the regular season. From there they went on an improbable run through the playoffs, getting by the Falcons before upsetting the (consensus best team in the NFL) Packers and 49ers, both on the road. Their defense has stepped up big in every one of these games and the play of QB Eli Manning has helped them earn their 5th Super Bowl berth in team history.

Analysis of New England Patriots
The Patriots had another dominate season, going 13-3 en route to the 1st overall seed in the AFC. They thoroughly dominated the Denver Tebows Broncos in the divisional round before squeaking out a tight victory against the Ravens in the AFC Championship. As always two people have led this team: their head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady. Their leadership has again made the Patriots Super Bowl contenders, participants, and favorites.

Key Players
As a side note, the two most important players on the field will be Manning for the Giants and Brady for the Patriots. In the Super Bowl, QB-play matters more than anything else. Period. The following players will also have a great impact on the game though:

Patriots: Rob Gronkowski
‘Gronk’ is suffering from a high ankle sprain that occurred during the AFC Championship game against the Ravens. That has been the only bad news to an otherwise record-setting year for the 2nd year TE. Gronkowski caught 17 TD’s in 2011-2012 with 1327 receiving yards, both of which are the highest numbers ever for a TE. His presence alone on Sunday will be enough to put Brady’s mind at ease and to present a matchup challenge to the Giants.

Giants: Osi Umenyiora & Jason Pierre-Paul
This was a tough call, as RB Ahmad Bradshaw needs to step up as well for the Giants to win. The D-line for the Giants is most important though as they absolutely have to put pressure on Brady in order for the Giants to come out with their 4th ring ever. That task falls on DE’s Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul, both of which have stepped up in all 3 playoff games leading up to Sunday. The Giants could really use constant pressure and 3 or 4 sacks so as to scramble the Patriots tough pass-first offense.

Key Statistics
Passing Yards:
The Giants ranked 29th in the league in opponent passing yardage during the regular season and the Patriots ranked even worse, coming in at 31st. While both defenses have stepped up during the playoffs, their secondary play against two of the best QB’s in the league is vital for each team to victory. Both defenses have big defensive line presences already, it’s just a matter of which QB will get around that and which secondary will take advantage.

Prediction
Few need reminders that these two teams met just 4 years ago in Super Bowl XLII, one of the greatest of all time. In that Super Bowl the Giants upset the undefeated Patriots, both teams being led by their current QB’s. This rematch is more than just any other game to these teams then, not because it’s the Super Bowl, but because each squad has something to prove. The Giants are out to prove they belong here after a mediocre season and the Patriots are out to prove they can beat the Giants in the most important of games. When bragging rights are on the line QB-play matters the most, and while Manning has played out-of-his-mind lately I’ll still favor the future Hall-of-Famer Brady.

Prediction: New England Patriots: 27 – New York Giants: 21

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