We asked each of our NFL tipsters the same questions to try to get their views on the upcoming NFL season.
1. Who will be this seasons MVP?
Matt Ryan ( I’m backing the Falcons to win the Superbowl so I’m picking their quarterback).
I’m going to go with Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who should once again put up big numbers. Rodgers has been in the same system for several years. It’s a pass-heavy system and Rodgers has a deep receiving corps. He can also do damage with his legs; a part of the game that Tom Brady, last year’s MVP, lacks.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots QB
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
I’m going to break away from the normal players we think of and go a little outside the box. Matt Ryan. He has plenty of tools in Atlanta, is a very mature person, and I see his maturity as a player really coming together in 2011.
2. Who will be this seasons top rookie?
Julio Jones ( this guy is amazing, I’ve seen a lot of Alabama U. games just to watch him play).
Saints’ 1st-round pick (28th overall), running back Mark Ingram out of Alabama. Ingram steps into a very potent offense in New Orleans. With Reggie Bush now in Miami, and defenses keying on Drew Brees and the passing game, I expect Ingram to have a very solid rookie season. He’ll be sharing time with Pierre Thomas, so I don’t see monster numbers for Ingram. But he should have a very productive season and have an impact that ranks at or near the top of this rookie class.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons or Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
I’m a big NCAA Football fan, and I love Daniel Thomas Miami’s RB out of Kansas State. He will replace Ronnie Brown as lead in the wild cat, a position he performed very well at in college. He has everything you look for and is very nice fit to Miami’s playbook.
3. Who will have the top quarter back rating?
Tom Brady (Patriots) this is the best team in the league, I expect him to score the most yards in the league but they won’t reach the final so he won’t be MVP.
I have to go with Tom Brady to just barely edge out Aaron Rodgers. Brady is like a surgeon in the way he dissects a defense. He makes very few mistakes, which goes a long way in having a high QB rating. He also has a top-notch slot receiver in Wes Welker. They hook up quite often on quick hitters, which helps keep the completion percentage (and QB rating) high. Brady will also throw 30+ TD passes, which is yet another factor (TD passes per pass attempt) in the QB rating calculation. Looking at QB rating takes away everything Rodgers does with his legs (rushing yards and TDs), which is why I chose Brady over the Packers QB.
Tom Brady, QB, NE Patriots
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
Passer rating is a complex formula which tends to have certain players higher then others year in year out based on skill set. Tom Brady was built for the passer rating statistic. He gets my vote again in 2011.
4. Which team will have the best power rankings going into the play-offs?
New England Patriots
I’m going to say Green Bay. Why not? They’re the defending champions and their schedule strength is average. They should be on top heading into the playoffs, and they should stay there until someone knocks them out.
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
You could pick a handful of historical powers, but what fun would that be? I expect the breakout for Matt Ryan to also lead to a break out for the Falcons.
5. Which player will have a breakout season?
Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford will need to stay healthy, which is a BIG if. But if he does stay healthy, I expect Stafford to have a big season. He has looked great in preseason action, and having Calvin Johnson to throw to is a huge plus. Also, watch out for Dallas receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant did some amazing things in his rookie season last year before getting hurt. Bryant is big, fast, and has great hands. With Miles Austin having some injury concerns at this time, Bryant has a great chance to emerge as Dallas’ #1 receiving threat. He certainly has the physical tools to be one of the best receivers in the league.
Shonn Greene, RB, NY Jets
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Dez Bryant, WR’s are notorious for increasing production dramatically in year 2. He did not finish his final season at Oklahoma State, so he came in last year behind the 8 ball, but he has all the tools you look for. Very gifted player.
6. Which running back will gain the most yards?
Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons)
Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson will be a popular choice here, and for good reason. But I’m going to go with a more unconventional answer and say Baltimore’s Ray Rice. Remember Vonta Leach? Last season, he was the blocking fullback for Houston’s Arian Foster, last year’s rushing yardage leader. This season, Leach, the best blocking fullback in the league as voted by his peers, will be blocking for Rice in Baltimore. The Ravens figure to run often, and one of the coaches is on record as saying that Rice will not come out of games until he’s ready to come out. Rice should get tons of carries and his small frame makes him hard for defenders to find sometimes.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
Adrian Peterson, his blend of power and speed puts him in a class of his own. He’s the most consistent back in the NFL and word out of Vikings camp is we will see a heavy focus on running the football. Something we already saw a heavy focus on previous years. Can he stay healthy?