‘NFL MVP Race’ — Who Will Win: Palmer, Brady, Or Newton?

With Week 17 of the NFL season upon us, the last effort by the league’s best is on display to seal up the coveted NFL Most-Valuable Player, and by all accounts the award is down to just three players: Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer, New England’s Tom Brady, and Carolina’s Cam Newton. Each player has been having career seasons, with all their teams in playoff contention and real Super Bowl consideration, yet only one can be named the NFL’s MVP. So, who will win the NFL MVP race?

Tom Brady is the go-to answer for the NFL MVP, given his history of winning. Under his leadership, along with coach Bill Belichick, Tom Brady has led the Patriots to a 12-3 record heading into Week 17 of the NFL season. According to the Washington Post, Brady is the front-runner in what writer Mike Renner calls a two man-race between him and the Cardinals’ Palmer. According to Renner, Brady is the shoe-in favorite for the MVP because of his lack of “turnover worthy plays,” with Brady giving his team a better shot to win because of him limiting turnovers.

“The biggest reason why I believe Brady is the front runner at this point is his turnover worthy plays, or lack thereof. He has half as many as Palmer on over 75 more action plays. Turnovers don’t just waste an offensive possession, they also put your defense in unfavorable situations. The Patriots defense is 15th in yards per game allowed, yet is allowing the fourth fewest points per game in no small part because of what Brady has done protecting the ball.”

Cam Newton is one of the clear choices for the NFL MVP, thanks in large part to him leading the Carolina Panthers to the best record in the NFL (14-1) and has a chance to get the NFC’s No. 1 seed with a win today. Seattle Times writer gives the NFL MVP to Cam Newton, due largely to his prowess not just as a passer, but also a runner. Newton, who has 33 passing touchdowns to only 10 interceptions, gives opponents a hard time covering him, with his dangerous arm as well as his size and speed. Additionally, he has 8 rushing TDs this year, giving him a total of 40 TDs. It would take a catastrophic collapse on his part to lose the NFL MVP, though Carson Palmer in Arizona is certainly making a strong case out in the desert.

Carson Palmer Arizona MVP
Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals. [Image credit: Arizona Cardinals]

Palmer is seeing a resurgence this year after suffering a season-ending injury when the Cardinals were on a roll in the 2014 season. After that injury, Arizona collapsed, winning only two more games out of the remaining seven and losing to Newton’s Panthers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The significance of the Palmer injury was on full display, as his value to the team could not be overstated. Palmer, who guides the league’s No. 1 offense, has an Arizona Cardinals team record of 34 passing touchdowns to only 10 interceptions. As a starter for the Cardinals, Palmer over the last few seasons has won 24 of his last 28 starts, according to ESPN, who puts his value high above that of NFL MVP. Palmer not only shows his importance to the Cardinals in terms of wins, but he has helped refuel the resurgence of both Larry Fitzgerald, who disappeared the last few seasons, as well as running back Chris Johnson, who had 815 yards before going on injury reserve.

The league’s final week heading into the playoffs will do much to determine the votes of the NFL MVP race. Newton, thanks in large part to his team’s record, is likely the favorite, but a misstep could open the door for Palmer. Brady also can’t be counted out due in large part to guiding his team to a potential number one seed in the AFC with his offense decimated by injury.

Who do you see as the NFL’s MVP — Palmer, Newton, or Brady? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images via NFL, Arizona Cardinals]