Andrew Luck, in his third season, will earn the MVP award over the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and DeMarco Murray.
False: The Colts call way too many passing plays and have inflated Luck’s stats. Just look at the attempts Manning and Brady have, even Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, to post similar or better numbers. I’m a fan of Luck and believe he will have a Hall of Fame career, however, he has a lot more growing to do. He has tossed 9 interceptions, tied with Kirk Cousins. Blake Bortles has thrown the most with 13, Nick Foles and Geno Smith have 10. Foles is out for the season and might have been benched down the road, something that happened to Smith and Cousins. Bortles is a rookie. For how big of an arm Luck has, combined with his mobility, he plays from behind a lot and still has Matthew Stafford-like setbacks. So no, I don’t think he wins MVP in 2014.
Adrian Peterson will give the 4-5 Vikings a boost to the playoffs, who are currently behind the 6-2 Lions, 5-3 Packers, and in the wildcard race.
False: The sudden situation that sidelined one of the best running backs of all-time is nearing a conclusion. Word is, A.P. is hopeful to lace up after the bye for week 11. Coming into the season, I actually had the Vikings in the wildcard hunt. They are still alive as far as the division is concerned, I just don’t think they leap frog anybody. I do believe his impact will boost the team morale, and allow Teddy Bridgewater to grow into the role with Cordarrelle Patterson. Peterson will deflect their attention and simmer youth expectations a little bit. The defense is stout as o late, better than the stats show, but losing a star back has that type of effect. They will be competing with the Eagles, Cowboys, Seahawks, Packers, and 49ers. Even the Bears and Panthers expect to turn things around. Most of those teams have more talent and cohesiveness right now.
Mark Sanchez will lead the 6-3 Eagles to the playoffs, who currently lead the Cowboys in the NFC East by a half game.
True: The Sanchize nickname is already resurfacing. This does seem like the perfect location for him. Last week he came in and took advantage of backup corners, as the starters went down to injury. Sanchez led the offense to 24 points after sitting the first quarter. Of his two picks, one was a bad decision while the other should have been caught by rookie receiver Josh Huff. Once upon a time, Sanchez was with the Jets, who appeared in a couple AFC Championship games. He did play well in the 4-minute and 2-minute drills, which equates to a routine drive under head coach Chip Kelly. They lost RG Todd Herremans for the season, but replacement Matt Tobin had been filling in all season for LG Evan Mathis. The trenches are finally healed, something Nick Foles didn’t have up front, and LeSean McCoy has produced like it’s 2013 lately. On a 1-year deal, Sanchez can earn himself a starting gig next season if he takes advantage of his favorable situation. I think Philly reaches the postseason.
Ryan Mallett injects new life into the 4-5 Texans to make a playoff push, who trail the 6-3 Colts and are in the wildcard hunt.
False: A first time starter that was acquired after the season started, there is a reason they stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick until the bye week. Houston is only a couple games behind the Colts despite their struggles. No other AFC team is running away with a wildcard spot at this point in time. Mallett’s upside, you would think, would be higher than Fitzpatrick had to offer. The veteran simply turned the ball over too much. All of these things point the arrow up for improvement, especially with the former Tom Brady understudy. The ground game is great and they do have a very good receiver tandem, but every young QB goes through growing pains. Mallett gets to audition on the final year of his contract, but is a little behind the 8-ball as defenses are rounding into mid-season form. They should hang around the playoff picture with a slate of struggling defenses the rest of the way. I just don’t see them earning more victories than the Steelers, Ravens, Chiefs, Chargers, and Dolphins, or the Colts for that matter.