Thursday, December 22, 2011

Matthew Stafford should be the NFL MVP.

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford
delivers a pass during their preseason
 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at
 Ford Field, Friday August 12, 2011.
(Photo By: Vaughn Gurganian)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is not yet an elite quarterback.

He may never reach that status.

That however doesn't take away from him being the most valuable player in the league. Remember folks the vote is for most valuable, not best player. No team relies on any one guy more than the Lions rely on Stafford.

Case in point, the Lions suffered through a terrible stretch while Stafford was injured, proving his worth. Ironically since he chose to try to play through the injury he have have cost himself any real consideration for the award due to the abysmal numbers put up during that stretch.

The case for Stafford includes his numbers, which are actually pretty good. He is fifth in the league in passer rating (93.8) among QB's that have started every game so far this season. He's seventh in completion percentage, fifth in total yards (4,145), fourth in touchdowns (33) thrown--though admittedly he has the most interceptions thrown among the top five in TD's thrown as well, but most of his 14 came during that streak of games when he was injured, he had thrown just three in the first half of the season, and three more since the injury.

So he's put up these numbers, but he has a great offensive line, and a few pro-bowl running backs to help the cause right?

Umm..... No.

Stafford has been sacked 32 times this season, which is among the most in the league, so while the line is improved over years gone by, it is by no means good.

Then there is the running game, it's terrible. Jahvid Best is our for the season, Jerome Harrison has a tumor and is done for at least the season, maybe longer. Mikel Leyshore tore his achilles heal before the season even started, and present starting running back, Kevin Smith, is not only injured, but wasn't even in the league a month ago.

But the defense is what's helping them win games right? It can't be Stafford.

Wrong again, the vaunted defense that the Lions were supposed to have is giving up nearly 24 points per game, which is 10th worst in the league. Several time this year Stafford has had to lead the team to 15-20 point second half comebacks, not because the offense had played bad, but because the defense had put them in a large hole.

So how else have the Lions gotten to 10 wins?

Behind the arm of Matthew Stafford, sure he has the best wide receiver in football to throw it to, but he still has to make the throws.

I'm sure that either Aaron Rogers or Drew Brees will win the league's MVP award, but let's be honest, neither of their teams rely on them as much as the Lions do on Stafford. Sure the Packers and Saints would be worse teams without their QB's but not terrible. Without Stafford the Lions are a 3-4 win team. With him they have a chance to hit 11 wins and make the play-offs.

That's why Stafford is the MVP, without him the Lions are still five years or more away from being a good team, with him they are good now.

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