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MVP Super Bowl 51 Predictions
Best MVP Bets for Super Bowl LI
By Bob Duff
After the game, it's the biggest question of the day - who will be the MVP of Super Bowl LI?
In all likelihood, one of the game's two quarterbacks - Tom Brady of the New England Patriots or Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons - will carry off the Pete Rozelle Trophy as Super Bowl MVP. In the 50 previous Super Bowls, the MVP has been a QB a total of 27 times.
Brady and Joe Montana, the only three-time winners, are quarterbacks. So are all the two-time Super Bowl MVPs - Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Eli Manning.
A caveat, though - lately, quarterbacks are taking a back seat in the voting. Last year, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was MVP, just the sixth defensive player to be Super Bowl MVP but the second time in three years the award went to a player on the defensive side of the ball. The only player from a losing team to earn Super Bowl MVP honors was a defensive player, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V.
Then again, five of the last seven and seven of the last nine Super Bowl MVPs were quarterbacks.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (+160)
If the Patriots win the game and Brady is a big reason why, how can they not give him the MVP award? Two years ago while winning his third MVP award, he was sensational, completing 37-of-50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots downed the Seattle Seahawks 28-24. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was defensive coordinator of that Seattle team, so Brady should have a very good handle on what looks the Falcons defense will show him.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (+275)
This is a fabulous price for a guy who is enjoying an MVP season and has been absolutely on fire in recent games. Ryan has thrown 18 TD passes and no interceptions over his last six games. Ryan's QB rating this season was 117.3 and was intercepted just seven times. If the Falcons win, the man known as Matty Ice figures to have his fingerprints all over it.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (+750)
Someone will be on the end of all those Ryan aerials and if Jones takes a few of them to the house, he could be an sleeper MVP choice. Arguably the best wide receiver in the game today, Jones was second in the NFL this season with 1,409 receiving yards. He caught nine passes for 180 yards and two TDs in the NFC Championship against Green Bay.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (+1200)
The man who has replaced Wes Welker as Brady's go-to guy, Edelman figures to see a lot of the football. He was fourth in the NFL this season with 98 catches but just three went for touchdowns. Still, the last receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP was Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (+2500)
Another dangerous Atlanta weapon, the elusive Freeman danced for 125 yards in the divisional playoff win over Seattle and added a TD and 84 yards of total offense in the NFC Championship. If he gets loose, he can be a game changer but a running back hasn't been Super Bowl MVP since Denver's Terrell Davis in Super Bowl XXXII.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots (+2500)
In the divisional playoffs against Houston, Lewis established an NFL postseason first, scoring on a run, a pass reception and a kick return in the same game. If he emulates that in Super Bowl LI, he could join Green Bay's Desmond Howard (Super Bowl XXXI) as the only special teams Super Bowl MVP. And imagine a guy who used to play for the Cleveland Browns being Super Bowl MVP.
Vic Beasley, LB, Atlanta Falcons (+3300)
This game figures to be a shootout, so the likelihood of a defender being MVP are extremely slim. But Beasley is a playmaker who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks.
Pick: Tom Brady (+160)
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