Providence College investigates the NFL
Joseph Quirk ’23
Josh Allen will be the National Football League’s “Most Valuable Player” this season.
To win the NFL MVP title, you need to have three things: a top three seeds team, consistent MVP-level play throughout the season, and lots of luck. While it’s hard to predict luck (the main reason most MVP predictions before week 6 are usually wrong), we can certainly predict the other two things to some extent.
Heading into Week 1 this weekend, Allen will have both. Starting with the first thing needed, a top-three seeded team (or, at least, a playoff-caliber team), the Buffalo Bills should easily be one of the best teams in the AFC this season.
Although they play in a tough division, neither the New England Patriots nor the Miami Dolphins should be a problem for the Bills, as they arguably have one of the most complete rosters in the league.
The Bills’ defense is one of the best in the league, with the leadership of defensive-minded head coach Sean McDermott, an elite secondary, ball-hawking linebackers and a versatile defensive line.
On offense, they have a solid offensive line, two powerful running backs, as well as several wide qualifiers and tight ends for Allen to pitch. Not to mention the units of their best special teams.
Now, let’s move on to the second thing Allen needs: a consistent MVP-level season.
Allen has had an exceptional year, which led to him being considered for the award last season. He has all the physical tools needed to play at an MVP level: a big body to fend off opponents and keep him durable, speed to maintain fast play, and a one-arm cannon.
Last year he managed to improve on weaknesses in his passing accuracy. Add to that the arrival of star Stefon Diggs last season to make a few plays, and Allen has had his best statistical season yet.
Consider his physical abilities, good health history, annual progression, and history of accumulating huge numbers, and there’s no reason Allen can’t throw more than 4,000 yards. and 40 affected. And if the Bills play as well as everyone anticipates, it will be difficult to find another worthy recipient of the award.
There is a third aspect to winning an MVP, and that is luck. No one can predict it.
Anyone can get injured or outmaneuvered in any given season which makes the sport so exciting.
While we can’t predict how luck will treat him this season, looking on paper before kick-off indicates Josh Allen is a good, healthy bet.
Luke Sweeney ’24
The 2021 NFL season kicked off last Thursday night in exciting style with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Dallas Cowboys. Each team’s usual playmakers were in good health and made strong points on either side of the ball in a high-scoring game that played out in the dying minutes.
Dak Prescott made an impressive comeback from his injuries last season throwing 42 of 58 completed passes for 403 yards, but ended up missing out on a fourth quarter victory. Of course, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady stepped up when he needed it playing at an elite level in Game 1 of the season.
While Sunday’s Week 1 game list was full of excellent quarterback performances in the league such as Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford and Patrick Mahomes, no one watched sharper and more confident than Tom Brady on Thursday night.
It’s been said year after year, but Brady continues to show he can compete at the highest level into his forties. Due to his excellent pocket presence and quick, efficient decision making, Brady looks like the current favorite MVP after week 1.
Brady threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns against the Cowboys and has proven he hasn’t lost a single step in the offseason. The final minutes of the game were organized in a way Brady had seen thousands of times before. The Buccaneers were down one point with 1:24 remaining in the game. This achievement is basically free for Brady, and everyone knew it. He waltzed across the field like he always does and gave Tampa an easy kick to seal the win.
Dallas played an exceptional game throughout the game, and Prescott might have played an even better game than Brady, but the bottom line is no one knows how to win the way he does. In the great times when he needs to deliver results, he always does.
Brady and the Buccaneers still have room for improvement if they hope to repeat what they did last year. Brady threw two interceptions against Dallas, giving them the opportunity to win the ball game at some points. But none of that mattered after a successful practice dispelled any doubts.
As always, Brady managed to spread the ball and involve many different playmakers in the victory. He threw touchdowns at Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and twice his former patriot Rob Gronkowski.
If Brady can look this sharp for the rest of the regular season and manage to hang on when his team needs it, he will be the 2021 NFL MVP.