THE 2016 NFL season has been one full of interesting storylines. The inconsistencies of teams mean that we are scheduled for one of the most exciting playoffs in recent memory, with a large amount of uncertainty surrounding the end of year awards too. While the triumphant return of Tom Brady and Dallas rookie duo Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are gathering all the MVP momentum, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan should be the man who is labelled the Most Valuable Player this year.
OFFENSIVE highlights are what dominate Twitter feeds during Sunday and gets fans attention. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are a constant source of such plays, which is a large reason they sit atop the NFC South and are due to make a return to the playoffs this year. Their offense has been spearhead by Ryan, the 9th year QB who leads the league in quarterback rating at a staggering 114.8. If Ryan keeps this lofty passer rating it will be the 3rd highest rating in the past 12 years and don’t think for a minute that he and the Falcons have faced defensive scrubs this year. According to Football Outsiders, Atlanta have faced the toughest schedule of DVOA this year, and yet they are on the verge of being one of the most dominant offenses in the history of the league. Ryan’s 9.3 yards per attempt rank inside the top 15 yards per attempt for a single season in history, and of those 15 players he is the only one to maintain that average in the 21st century.
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RYAN has been somewhat boosted by having good receivers to throw to with Julio Jones the main target of the talented group. But he has made big plays to help the Falcons pull out close wins (Week 2 @Raiders, Week 8 vs. Green Bay) and be sitting at an impressive 9-5 record.He has helped the Falcons pile 83 points on the board in the past fortnight, and while it only came against weak opponents, he managed to do so without his main target in Julio Jones. A 32-7, touchdown-interception ratio has helped boost him up the MVP rankings, with the +25 difference the best in the league. His dominant play and mind boggling stats help leave Atlanta in good stead heading into this weekends matchup with Carolina. It is a position that many thought Ryan wouldn’t find himself, in a new offense, coming off his worst touchdown-interception ratio since his rookie year.
EZEKIEL Elliott will probably claim the leagues ultimate personal honour largely based on the fact that the award is narrative driven. This means that the story behind a players MVP push often outweighs the results and in a year where there is seemingly no clear-cut quarterback favourite Zeke has timed his run to perfection (pun intended). Matt Ryan however should be the MVP after leading the Falcons back to the playoffs. His poise under center has been invaluable and makes them a dangerous team to face in the playoffs. Facing the Panthers and Saints in the next two weeks should mean they finish with an 11-5 record, and Ryan has the chance to further boost his already impressive numbers to build more MVP credibility.
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