Ranking Nelly’s Sports References In ‘Heart Of A Champion’

1) “I’m like Magic to Kareem, mayne you tell me I ain’t Worthy”

Easily No.1.  This lyric represents how underrated Magic Johnson was, even though he’s the 3rd best player of all time.  There were a lot of haters, especially in the two or three seasons after the 1980 Finals MVP year.  He demanded to be traded and was injured quite a bit.  Kareem’s overrated in NBA history.  He doesn’t win those five Lakers rings without Magic.  The mentioned of James Worthy at the end just caps off an incredible line.

2) “Can’t stop me from scorin so they results are just hackin.  So there’s, three of us, – me, A.I. and Shaq’n.”

Nelly was a machine in 2004, dropping two albums.  He was literally on top of rap.  Kanye dropped The College Dropout, but that the first of many masterpieces from him.  Madvillian dropped one of the most underrated rap albums ever, but it never received much attention.  2004 gave us albums from past-their-prime guys like LL Cool J and Nas (I still love you Nas!).  Snoop Dogg, Emeniem and Nelly owned 2004, just like Allen Iverson and Shaq did.  O’Neal was a beast in the calendar year, putting up 27+ PERs with the Lakers and Heat, and also shot 11 free throws a game (Not exactly a great thing, but is why Nelly made the hacking reference), the 2nd highest mark in his career.  Iverson averaged 30.4 points a game in 2004 with Philly, and still managed eight assists a game.  Defenses beat the crap out of him, reminisce of how teams defend Stephen Curry now (But you still can’t stop them).  That team was a big disappointment, but AI was all they had.  Sounds a little familiar now, aye?

3) “I get Bucks like Michael Redd, tell ’em again.  I get Bucks like Michael Redd, heard what I said?”

A lot of foreshadowing here, which why its No.3.  Redd was making $3 million a year when this song came out.  The season after?  $15.1 million!  2004 was when Redd made his name known, and was placed in the starting lineup by the Bucks, which then led to his only All-Star appearance.  At the same time, I’m not sure Michael Redd was ever good enough to make it into a Nelly song, but rappers love to mention solid starters or worse.  I mean, there’s a song about Jimmer Fredette for crying out loud (In defense, Jimmer’s the best college basketball player I’ve seen).

4) “I’m the one that you’ve been Raven about, like Ray Lewis”

Its a little weak, considering 2004 was a pretty average season for Lewis.  However, I think he’s referencing the previous season, where Lewis amassed 120 tackles and had six (!) interceptions.  This drops to No.4 because there’s not a ton of creativity in the line, but at least has an athlete reference.

5) “I’m shootin out from my reign, with Peyton Manning-type aim”

Ranking No.5 and No.6 was hard.  They’re the two worst athlete references in the song, and even though they’re weak, they’re not the worst of the bunch, since they do at least reference an athlete.  The Peyton Manning reference is better because Manning has one of the most accurate arms we’ve ever seen.  Plus, the words that precede the lyrics are actually something that can happen, unlike “I got the stats of a hall of famer – in just two records.”  Thats just not possible.

6) “I got the stats of a hall of famer – in just two records.  That’s why I’m back up at the Super Bowl, with Julius Peppers”

Typical rapper lyric, saying something thats literally impossible or makes no sense.  However, the Julius Peppers reference earns this lyric the No.6 ranking, mostly because Peppers was awesome that year, and because Nelly was actually part of the halftime performance in the Super Bowl Peppers played in.  So relevance makes a comeback by the end of the sentence!

7) “I think it hard to go change your route, cause you don’t know if I’m blitzin or if I’m sittin and readin, waitin for you to go and trip, drop back and throw up a pick, man”

Oh boy.  Here’s someone who thinks they know Xs and Os but really doesn’t.

Lets break it down piece by piece…

“I think it hard to change your route,”

What wide receiver is changing their route after they break the huddle?

“cause you don’t know if I’m blitzin or if I’m sittin and readin,”


“waitin for you to go and trip”

And back down again.  Trip over what?  The center’s foot?

“drop back and throw up a pick, man”

How does the quarterback trip, then drop back, then throw the ball?  Nelly really didn’t think this one through.

8) “Up, or down ten, I’mma fight to the end”

But hey, at least Nelly tried to throw in some Xs in Os in No.7.  Thats the only reason its not ranked last.  Nelly didn’t put any effort into this lyric though.  No one is trying when they’re down ten, unless someone hits a deep three and his teammates believe he’s getting hot.  But besides that, this lyric is pretty lackluster.

It Is Time To Blow Up The Knicks And Clippers

With trade season in, its that time for certain teams to take a hard look at themselves.  The Hawks already have, well, kinda.  Thats a whole ‘nother story.  But there’s two teams in particular that could, and should, make some major moves.

The Knicks have fallen into the trench of despair and mediocrity, exactly where we expected them to be at some point this season.  Carmelo Anthony got upset, and met with Phil Jackson.  Derrick Rose has been atrocious and even went AWOL for a game.  Joakim Noah’s contract might be the worst in the league.  Hey, at least they have Kristaps Porzingis to save this team.  Oh wait!  They’re not giving him much of a chance!

The Clippers haven’t been this bad at all.  They’re still 4th in the West, but are slowly falling backwards into the mess of the 4th-7th slots in the Western Conference.  Blake Griffin has been hurt most of the year, and as he’s making his comeback, Chris Paul goes out for two months with a torn thumb ligament.  The Clippers deal with this stuff every season.  But they’re going into their biggest Summer ever, and this type of stuff is what hurts them in the postseason every Spring.

So what should the Clippers and Knicks do?  Well, we’re gonna use some common sense (which both front offices lack) and the handy-dandy ESPN Trade Machine to cook up some solutions.

We’ll start with New York.  I should make it known that Melo and Phil Jackson have both came out and said Melo will remain in New York, and won’t waive his no-trade clause.  This is a terrible decision on multiple fronts.  First, the Knicks aren’t winning, which means Melo is pretending to be upset just to cause drama.  I think its clear by now that he doesn’t care about winning.  He signed that massive max contract in New York a couple Summers ago, when he could have easily left for a contender like Houston or a better situation in Chicago.  He was against the drafting of Porzingis, which was clearly the best move.  And he watched Phil Jackson establish this “win-now” team which was destined to be a disaster from the start.  That could have been predicted by anyone with the slightest bit of basketball knowledge.

Then last week, Melo reads (What athlete is reading any column about themselves or their team?) Charley Rosen’s terrible column, which appeared on FanRag Sports (which I had never heard of until this whole thing blew up), and throws a fit to media and questions whether Phil Jackson wants him here.  They meet and decide he’s gonna stay.  Because of course he will.  Melo just wants his own team, and Jackson actually thinks this is a quality basketball team.

If the Knicks were smart, they’d start here.


The Knicks would clear Melo out of the way, turn the team over to Porzingis, and insert Blake Griffin as the top post-up threat and a knock-down midrange shooter. Luc Mbah a Moute gives the Knicks a short-term replacement at small forward if they aren’t ready to upgrade Mindaugas Kuzminskas’ minutes (which I’d understand even though I love him).

New York then needs to move Joakim Noah, who’s value is little to none right now.  Its hard to find a team that would take on that contract, but there might be someone desperate enough.


This is completely insane, because its a trade of two players who neither team wants, but also makes sense because it addresses needs and is so hilarious that it makes it good.  In Turner the Knicks get another ball handler to replace Derrick Rose.  Turner has his deficiencies, but if he’s used right he’s an upgrade over Rose.  The Blazers solve their rim protection issue, though Noah has struggled on all ends this year.  Its a change of scenery for both, which could lead to success.

At this point with Rose, you probably let him leave this Summer and reboot next season.  He’s lost everything he had.  He’s not at Rajon Rondo’s level yet, but over the next season or two it’s gonna head that way.  Brandon Jennings has been fine; he’s probably not the next guy for the Knicks.  Ron Baker has shown flashes, but once again he’s not the future at point guard.  They’ll find or draft someone, but remember:  Anyone is an upgrade over Rose.

Courtney Lee is a fine piece to keep around if the Knicks completely undue this team.  The Knicks new lineup could look something like Jennings-Lee-Mbah a Moute-Griffin-Porzingis.  Its not great, but puts them in a better situation than they are now.

A Clippers blowup involves only one move, but the name involved is so much more  valuable than anyone the Knicks would deal.

Blake Griffin is about to return from another lengthy injury; he’s had one every season in the past three.  And now Chris Paul has a thumb injury, the guy who runs that team and makes them go.  Who knows what seed they’ll be in by the time the playoffs come around.  And even if they don’t lose any ground, who says they’re making the title anyways?  Los Angeles has had the same problem for years.  They lack that 5th crunch-time guy who can score or hit a big shot.  They lack that quality starting small forward.  Blake and Chris are both free agents this Summer.  They’ve never made a Western Conference Finals.  Its hard to say this without sounding like Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith, but its time for the Clippers to take a hard look at themselves.  This threesome of Paul, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan is good, but its not beating the Warriors or Cavaliers.  Are they really okay with losing in the 2nd round every year?

So here’s what you do: Rather than let things play out this Summer, and maybe lose Griffin for nothing, put him out there now, see what the Knicks, Celtics, Thunder(?) and Raptors(?) offer, and then consider moving him.  I know he’s expiring, but the haul would be huge.  And I think Griffin considers resigning with all of those teams.  The Knicks have the market, the Celtics have the talent (Really, Griffin would be the final piece), the Thunder are home and would have a nice team adding him, and the Raptors might have what it takes to beat Golden State and Cleveland with Griffin.

A trade would give the Clippers better depth, young assets (something they complete lack right now), and a better answer for the small forward position.

I highly doubt the Clippers and Knicks will make moves this drastic.  But to take the next step, they might be necessary.

Story Of The Divisional Round

The Divisional Round had one good day and one bad day.  Coming into Sunday, I knew one of the games had to be great, because we didn’t deserve four crappy playoff games.  One delivered, and was so good it overshadowed the other.  But we’ll start with the less exciting games first.

Falcons-36 Seahawks-20

I had concerns about Seattle coming into this game.  Atlanta’s offense has been unstoppable all year, and that meant Seattle had to dominate time of possession.  Thomas Rawls had a great game against Detroit, his first all season, but that against the league’s worst run defense.  I had doubts that Rawls would run well again.  He didn’t, and that was only the start of the Seahawks’ problems.

Penalties killed the Seahawks Saturday night.  Devin Hester had two awesome kickoff returns *Has flashback to 2005* which were both called back.  Other dumb penalties on the defensive side of the ball only helped the Falcons too.  The Seahawks’ lack of discipline could be the reason they lost this game.  If Hester sets them up well enough, that gives the struggling offense a shorter field to work with.

Defensively, Seattle’s issues were exposed.  There’s just too much to account for with this Falcons offense.  The Earl Thomas injury changed things for the Seahawks earlier in the season, and had such a big impact that it cost them in the playoffs.

Props to Atlanta though.  Their receivers made some unreal catches.  It wasn’t a total disaster for the Seahawks defensively.  Their defensive backs did an alright job, but alright isn’t good enough against this offense.

The question for the rest of this postseason, in my opinion, is: What defense is stopping Atlanta?  If Seattle couldn’t, who could?  This is why the Falcons should be Super Bowl favorites.  There’s no defense that will stop them, and only one offense that can play keep away (Pittsburgh).  Good luck everyone else!

Steelers-18 Chiefs-16

Though it was close, this game was extremely underwhelming.  At the same time, no game was gonna surpass the incredible Texans-Patriots Packers-Cowboys game.

I think we all expected more than six field goals from this Steelers’ offense.  But Kansas City’s defense played well when it mattered.

Pittsburgh’s offense works well when it has space.  When they’re not confined to the red zone, they can air it out or have Le’Veon Bell do his thing.  Kansas City’s defense was suffering in the open field, but in the red zone they made their mark.  They swarmed to the ball, mostly because they didn’t have much distance to cover.  That led to Pittsburgh’s six field goals.

Is there cause for concern with the Steelers’ offense?  Well, the fact that they didn’t score a touchdown is a little concerning, but they still got their receivers going, and Le’Veon Bell wasn’t stuffed.  Plus, they’re not gonna face a defense that tough the rest of the postseason, no matter how far they go.

This game was the Chiefs in a nutshell.  Their offense this season was totally reliant on big, crapshoot plays.  Sometimes they happened and sometimes they didn’t.  Against the Steelers, they didn’t get any.  You can’t expect to win like that when you’re pitted versus a team like Pittsburgh.

I have no idea what Travis Kelce’s rant was about.  I thought the hold on Eric Fisher on the two point conversion attempt was blatant, and the right call.  I think he was simply in shock that they lost, and let his emotions get the best of him.

Pittsburgh versus New England is going to be great next week.  As for Kansas City, they just need more playmakers offensively.  In a explosive, pass-first league, you can’t dink and dunk.  Especially in January.

Packers-34 Cowboys-31

One word for this game: Classic.

*Goes into Peter King mode* Seriously though.  Green Bay.  Dallas.  Playoff game.  Explosive offenses.  Nail-biter.  It had everything a great game has.  Everything a classic has.  This game was a treat.

Green Bay’s fast start was unbelievable to me.  I knew they were gonna be able to score, but Dallas’ defense was worse than I expected.  The 12-men on the field penalty was just the beginning.  On almost every play in the first quarter, Dallas’ defense was looking at each other or at the sideline, leading to massive confusion or a terrible timeout.  Aaron Rodgers took advantage of it, because of course he did.  More on him later.

Offensively, Dallas was even worse.  It wasn’t exactly their players though.  I thought the Cowboys’ game-plan was atrocious.  Ezekiel Elliot didn’t get the ball nearly enough Sunday, leading to Dak Prescott, who was a little off, throwing the ball too much.  He had a couple balls sail on him, and a couple passes broken up by Green Bay’s secondary (who played extremely well).

The Cowboys got completely out-coached in the first half, even though they had cut the lead to 21-13 at halftime.

Dallas had adjustments to make at halftime, and they failed to come through.  It made no sense to keep letting Dak throw the ball, and it made even less sense after he threw an interception on the first drive of the 2nd half.  By then, it really seemed over.

But the Dallas defense came up with a play that, based on how bad their performance had been in the first half, no one expected them to make.

When Aaron Rodgers threw that ball deep to Davonte Adams, I literally said “ballgame” before he caught it.  He was wide open, and looked gone as he was about to catch that ball.  But Jeff Heath came up with the biggest play of the game, coming out of nowhere to intercept the ball.  His pick completely changed the momentum of the game.

Dallas scored two touchdowns to tie the game with 4:12 left.  Then the real madness occurred.

The kicking display in those last four minutes was unreal.  Are we sure half the league’s kickers could hit those three, long field goals in that situation?  At the same time, those kicks were close.  Mason Crosby’s first field goal was a knuckleball, barely sneaking in there.  His second kick looked wide left for about three-quarters of it’s time in the air.

Dallas lost because of poor clock management, poor defense, and also because Aaron Rodgers is a bad man.  The spike on 1st down with 45-somwhat-seconds left was atrocious.  If you let that clock run, Dan Bailey is kicking the game-tying field goal as time expires, not with 35 seconds left.  Those 35 seconds were too much for Rodgers, and I knew it as it happened.  It just felt wrong that Rodgers wasn’t gonna get the job done, since he’s a very bad man and was going against this Dallas defense that made one good play all game.

I will give the Cowboys defense some slack though.  The throw to Jared Cook that set up the field goal was one you couldn’t defend.  The job by Rodgers to expand the play out of the pocket was magical, the throw was spectacular, and the awareness and footwork of Cook was surgical, and made Rams fans shake their head.

In all, Green Bay deserved to win the game.  Though I was stunned they did, they were more prepared, and had the better quarterback that day.

Patriots-34 Texans-16

The Patriots are much better than the Texans and that is all.

National Championship Preview

With two crappy playoff games, this National Championship Game needs to come up clutch and be special.

Things are a little different from last year’s game.  Alabama has a quarterback who is competent.  They somehow have a better defense.  Clemson is sort of the same team.  They lost some guys, but have replaced them with awesome recruiting.

So can Alabama repeat?

National Championship: #3 Clemson vs. #1 Alabama

The change at offensive coordinator for the Tide is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen, but honestly, it might be a positive.

I was befuddled by Lane Kiffin’s play-calling in the Semifinal against Washington, especially in the 1st half.  He was forcing Jalen Hurts to throw the ball, which should have been completely avoided for multiple reasons.  Kiffin also kept feeding Damien Harris, who is a great running back, but was he watching Bo Scarborough run early on?  Kiffin eventually figured it out by the 2nd half, but any run play that didn’t feature Scarborough was idiotic.  He was clearly the guy Washington couldn’t stop, and Kiffin thankfully figured it out by the end of the game.

I think that itself had more to do with Kiffin not assuming play-calling duties for this game than his next venture at FAU.  I’m sure they’re both a lot to handle, but I can’t imagine Saban wasn’t upset with Kiffin’s decisions.  They kept the Huskies in the game!

So how does Steve Sarkisian call a game that can get past this all-the-sudden-even-more-terrifying-than-before Clemson defense?

Against Ohio State, Clemson’s defense was lockdown and all over the place at the same time.  How is that?

By all over the place, they swarmed to the ball.  Ohio State was incompetent offensively.  Receivers were locked down.  Mike Weber couldn’t gain any yards.

This is not a good situation for Jalen Hurts and the Alabama offense.  He has to get rid of the ball quickly when throwing, and must hope his weapons can break some big runs after contact.  Bo Scarborough is certainly capable of that.

What really hurts the Tide is that their run game will struggle to get going.  Clemson’s defense is so well rounded, and so good everywhere.  There are no weaknesses.  The Tide have break some big runs after contact.

No weaknesses is something Alabama’s defense has been keen on all season.  But tonight, Clemson can exploit some.

There’s a chance this is the best defense college football has ever seen.  Countless names in the front seven will be drafted in the next two years.  They’re practically all stars.  There’s no other way to say it.

But if there is a weakness, its the secondary.  Though 2nd best in the country by Football Outsiders’ metrics, Clemson has enough weapons to expose the holes.  Mike Williams, Jordan Leggett, Artavis Scott, Hunter Renfrow.  The list goes on and on.  Alabama can deploy their linebackers to help in coverage, but these defensive backs are going to have a lot to handle.  If DeShaun Watson has the game he did last year, then this is Clemson’s title to lose.

What can go wrong for the Tigers?  Well, though it certainly didn’t happen in the Playoff as I expected it to, Clemson is prone to having bad games.  Games where Watson is off.  Where they don’t show up.  Where they’re unprepared.  The Tigers cannot have one of those games against Alabama, because if the style of this is old-school and gritty, Alabama has the advantage.

The Tigers need to go deep on the Tide, and get big plays any way they can.  Running the ball, or using Watson’s leg won’t get them far.  The Bama front seven is too good and too quick.  They have to convert downfield.  Thats their formula to win, and its the only one.

I think this is gonna be an epic game, even better than last year.

Above I made the case for Clemson to win.  I battled and battled with myself over who to actually pick.  I feel good now though.

Prediction: Clemson-28 Alabama-17

Wrapping Up The NFL Regular Season

We made it through a pretty boring regular season and are now in the exciting, high-quality NFL playoffs.

So who’s ready for Connor Cook against whichever terrible Texans quarterback in the first round?!

Man, as bad as the regular season was quality-wise, you’d think the playoffs would be better.  But this Wild Card round is uggggly.

So instead of breaking down these crappy playoff games way too early, I’m gonna write about something fun: Coaching moves!

It sucks to see people get fired, but the best part of the NFL coaching frenzy is that it gives you all the room in the world to declare how right you were from the beginning!  Okay I’m getting sidetracked.

There are six jobs open: Buffalo, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

I’m gonna rank these jobs in order of attractiveness, and justify the move.

1. Denver Broncos

Right move?:  Gary Kubiak retired Sunday, so Denver had no control over his decision.  This sucks for Denver, because Kubiak can really coach.  He got Denver to the Super Bowl last year when a combination of Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning were playing quarterback.  They still have the quarterback issues, but have a great defense, which gets me into why this is the best job available.

Why its attractive: The Broncos still have an extremely talented defense and a very stable environment.  Look at these other jobs!  San Francisco is gonna be on their 3rd head coach in three years.  Buffalo is a front office mess.  San Diego could have a complete overhaul this offseason.  In Denver, you have John Elway as a boss.  What could possibly be better?  This team isn’t that far away.  The defense is still really good, and there’s good enough offensive weapons once the QB situation gets figured out.  The Broncos need someone to develop Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch.  I think Siemian can still be a franchise guy; he’s salvageable.  If he isn’t, then Lynch is a clean slate.  Josh McDaniels makes too much sense here, but I doubt given the history that a reunion is in store.

2. San Diego Chargers

Right move?: Yes.  Mike McCoy seemed to have lost most of the team, and the fanbase too.  McCoy was a great hire, but he and the team slowly got a lot worse.  The Chargers were ravaged by injuries, but with a big offseason ahead, and the sketchiness of McCoy, it made too much sense to let him go.  I think McCoy taking over an offense like Buffalo or Baltimore is likely.

Why its attractive: There’s secretly a good amount of talent here.  Though I was critical of Phillip Rivers this season, I think he has more left.  There were so many injuries he had to navigate, and they eventually caught up to him.  Melvin Gordon is a beast; if Rivers is truly in decline you can rely on him offensively.  The Chargers defense is improving too.  Joey Bosa had a great rookie year, and Melvin Ingram broke out.  There’s still things to work on, but there’s more to work with than say, San Francisco.  There’s no need to develop a QB here, so a hot offensive coordinator (Jim Bob Cooter?  Harold Goodwin?) makes sense here.

3. Los Angeles Rams

Right move?: Definitely.  Jeff Fisher was just not the right man for the job.  The offensive system was not fit for the current weapons, and the time management was not defensible anymore.

Why its attractive: Its Los Angeles.  There’s an awesome defense on one side, and an offense thats really only lacking a good quarterback (The offensive line needs help too).  Its a somewhat stable environment; not great but better than others.  The Rams need someone who can develop Jared Goff.  The perfect guy is Josh McDaniels, but getting him to leave New England might be a challenge.  If I’m Stan Kroenke, I’m throwing all the money I have at McDaniels to get him to develop Jared Goff for me.  Its gonna take a lot since Jacksonville will be in these sweepstakes too.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Right move?: Gus Bradley was not the guy to develop Blake Bortles, and seemed to have lost the locker room as well.  Time ran out on Bradley, and its running out on Bortles too.

Why its attractive: Aside from Bortles, there is a lot of talent here.  The Jaguars defense was frisky throughout year; playing really good when they had a good game and playing horrendously when they had a bad game.  But there’s talent, and thats what a coach is gonna look for.  The only question with this team is Blake Bortles.  There were flashes this year, but there were also blemishes.  I think, with the right coach, Bortles can be a competent, but not great, quarterback.  He deserves another chance with the right guy.  If I’m running Jacksonville, I’m engaging in a bidding war for Josh McDaniels, and settling for Kyle Shanahan if I lose out.

5. Buffalo Bills

Right move?: Already covered it.

Why its attractive: A good defense and LeSean McCoy are reasons why someone would take this job.  But it sounds like Tyrod Taylor won’t be back. There’s clearly a lack of thought when it comes to your bosses.  And you’re living in Buffalo.  Buffalo is not a fun place to live.  Anthony Lynn sounds likely to be promoted.  Good luck Anthony!

6. San Francisco 49ers

Right move?: Speaking of good luck with coaches.  If you’re going to San Francisco you might as well just sign a one year contract.  I thought Chip Kelly got screwed.  Trent Baalke definitely needed to go, and I understand that if you’re gonna get rid of the GM then the head coach usually goes too.  But Chip only got one year.  Are you trying to scare other head coaches?  The 49ers’ problems start at the top with CEO Jed York, and Monday’s press conference only proves that further.  He, and this franchise, is delusional.  And no matter how bad Baalke and Kelly were, the problems within the 49ers start with York.  And they will always be there as long as he is there.

Why its attractive: Um, its the Bay Area?

This MVP race is out of it’s mind.  There’s no No.1, and you can make the case for eight guys.  Lets run through each guy’s case.

Candidates (No particular order):

  • Tom Brady
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Matt Ryan
  • Matthew Stafford
  • Derek Carr
  • Ezekiel Elliot
  • Dak Prescott
  • David Johnson

Tom Brady

He missed four games, but only threw two picks in the 12 he played.  The stats aren’t huge due to the suspension, and that hurts his case greatly.  But with the injuries the Patriots dealt with this year, no other quarterback could get the Patriots to a 14-2 record like Brady did.  Thats the affect he has.

Aaron Rodgers

Finished 4th in passing yards and 1st in touchdowns, but had a rough start to the year (even though it wasn’t his fault).  He’s also playing like a mad man right now, making incredible throws during this four game win streak.  However, Green Bay only finished 10-6, so that could hurt him.  And, his receivers and defense has improved greatly over the four game win streak.  If the past five weeks or so was the sample size for MVP, Rodgers would win it.

Matt Ryan

Probably the front-runner right now.  He’s thrown for the 2nd most yards, 2nd most touchdowns, and has the highest passer rating.  He’s just killing defenses, and I have no idea how any defense in the NFC is going to stop him this postseason.  That alone is probably enough.  However, Ryan has a ton weapons to help him out.  If there’s one hole in his case, its that.

Matthew Stafford

This is probably surprising to you.  I think Stafford is being overlooked just a little.  The stats aren’t great, but Stafford’s made some incredible throws this year, and has led eight game winning drives this season.  He also has a good helping of weapons, weapons that offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has used masterfully this season.

Derek Carr

The current state of the Raiders should boost Derek Carr’s case greatly.  Carr is the single reason the Raiders have been as good as they have this season.  Oakland’s defense has been sketchy, and they’ve battled a nonexistent run game all year.  Now, 3rd stringer Connor Cook is gonna be starting a playoff game, a week after stinking it up against Denver.  Oakland has lost their star, hopes and confidence.  That alone is the case for Carr, and its pretty strong.

Ezekiel Elliot/Dak Prescott

These two kinda go hand-in-hand.  These two are electrifying rookies who have both contributed massively to their team.  But who’s produced more value?

Take Zeke away from the Cowboys.  They can use the duo of Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, and Dak Prescott can still sling it around to Dez Byrant and Jason Witten.  What you lose is that flash.  That sudden explosiveness.  That reliable running back in Zeke.  He can give you practically everything you need, minus catching passes out of the backfield.

However, he does that all behind the best offensive line in the league.  That leaves a big dent in his candidacy.  Zeke’s awesome, but he’s not doing it alone.

Dak is a tough sell too.  You can make the case that Tony Romo could do the same thing that Dak is.  Based on what we saw in a brief stint Sunday, that appears to be the case.  But Dak’s more reliable and is hot right now, so he gets the job.  Remove Dak though, and the Cowboys are just as good, but more susceptible.

David Johnson

Johnson won’t beat out the quarterbacks, but he has the best non-quarterback case.  He’s putting up practically the same numbers as Zeke, but is doing it behind a much worse offensive line, an offensive line that has struggled to protect Carson Palmer all year.  Johnson also comes out of the backfield and catches passes, unlike Zeke.  Johnson’s not as popular or flashy as Zeke, but he’s just as good, and more worthy.