NFL Betting Predictions: Worth Betting On Matt Ryan To Win NFL MVP?

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 10:00 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 10:00 PM UTC

One of the big early storylines of the NFL season has been the play of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Could he actually win his first  NFL MVP Award? Ryan is a +500 co-favorite NFL pick with Ben Roethlisberger.



Ryan Could Become First Falcons Winner

Earlier this summer I looked at Ryan's chances of winning the NFL passing yardage title and wrote: "I do think Ryan will be in the mix for the passing yards but I don't think he will win it."

Well, through five weeks Ryan does lead the league with 1,740 passing yards. That's 348.0 yards per game. If Ryan keeps that pace up and does play all 16 regular-season games, he would finish with 5,568 yards. That would not only shatter his career high but also break the NFL record of 5,477 yards by Peyton Manning in 2013 when he won a record fourth MVP Award. Ryan also leads the league in yards per attempt (10.36), rating (121.6), and is second in TD passes (12). He had a franchise-record 503-yard game two weeks ago against defending NFC champion Carolina. Ryan's top target, Julio Jones, had a 300-yard receiving game vs. the Panthers as they became the first teammates ever with 500 & 300-yard efforts in the same game. No Falcon has ever won the MVP Award, though.

Thanks in large part to Ryan, the Falcons (4-1) lead the sorry NFC South by two games. They are -300 favorites on BetOnline NFL odds to win it and +1600 to win the franchise's first Super Bowl.


Case For, Case Against Ryan

So why might Ryan win this award? He was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September and that Falcons offense looks tremendous. It leads the NFL in scoring (35.0) and yards (457.4) per game. The NFL record for yards per game is 467.1 by the 2011 New Orleans Saints.

We all knew Jones would be good after he had the second-most receptions and second-most yards in a season in NFL annals in 2015. What has really boosted the Atlanta offense is the versatility of its two running backs, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Freeman has rushed for 410 yards and two scores and caught 14 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Coleman has rushed for 160 yards and four scores and caught 17 passes for 313 yards and a TD. They create mismatches either through play-action passing or by lining up at times out wide like a receiver.

Atlanta's remaining schedule isn't too tough in terms of good defenses. This week will be a challenge in visiting Seattle, which a 6-point favorite on NFL picks. Green Bay in Week 8 is no pushover. Visiting Philly in Week 10 could see inclement weather and the Eagles have been good defensively. But Ryan could also have huge days Week 7 vs. San Diego, Week 9 at Tampa, Week 13 vs. Kansas City, Week 15 vs. San Francisco and especially Week 17 vs. New Orleans.

Why might Ryan not win it? I would favor Roethlisberger right now as his 15 TD passes to lead the league and are the most ever for a Steelers QB through the first five games of a season. I believe that Steelers offense is the best in the NFL and Big Ben will put up career numbers. The Atlanta defense also concerns me as it's allowing 28.0 points per game. The Falcons could start to falter if that doesn't improve, and the more a quarterback has to throw from behind, the more likely he takes a beating.

I also want to see Ryan continue to prove this. He was playing at a high-level  last year as the Falcons got off to 5-0 start. Ryan regressed and the Falcons lost eight of their final 11.


Free MVP Pick: Ryan doesn't win the MVP as the Falcons will tail off


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