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Patriots QB Tom Brady has 5th best odds to win 2016 NFL MVP award; what does he have to do to win?

What has to happen for Brady to win the league’s Most Valuable Player distinction?

Despite his four game suspension, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has the fifth best odds at winning the 2016-17 NFL MVP award, per Bovada.

Brady trails a quartet of quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, and Russell Wilson. These four are generally regarded as the top four quarterbacks in the league, alongside Brady, so it’s no surprise they lead the list.

I feel bad for the likes of Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer, who have worse odds than Brady, even though they get to play four extra games.

Below is a list of the players with better than 100/1 odds at being named the league MVP. I’ve added my thoughts below.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 4/1
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 7/1
Panthers QB Cam Newton 15/2
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson 8/1
Patriots QB Tom Brady 9/1
Colts QB Andrew Luck 12/1
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer 12/1
Giants QB Eli Manning 25/1
Texans DL J.J. Watt 25/1
Saints QB Drew Brees 33/1
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson 33/1
Rams RB Todd Gurley 40/1
Cowboys QB Tony Romo 40/1
Raiders QB Derek Carr 50/1
Bengals QB Andy Dalton 50/1
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles 66/1
Steelers WR Antonio Brown 66/1
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski 66/1
Texans QB Brock Osweiler 66/1
Falcons QB Matt Ryan 66/1
Chargers QB Philip Rivers 75/1

I think it’s unfortunate that Brees is such a long shot to win MVP because he is one of the most deserving players in recent memory not to have an MVP award. In fact, if we look at the MVP share rankings, Brees trails only QB Randall Cunningham, WR Jerry Rice, and QB Jim Kelly as the MVP-less players with the most MVP votes. Brees is just a hair ahead of Watt.

I also think that Brown, Gronkowski, Ryan, and Rivers have to feel a slap in the face at being ranks alongside or lower than Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. There’s no chance that Osweiler would ever be the most valuable player on his own team. Watt is infinitely better, although “value” is subjective. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (200/1 odds) is probably going to be responsible for the majority of the Texans offensive success.

But what does Gronk have to do to win MVP? Calvin Johnson crushed the NFL record with 1,964 receiving yards in 2012 and he didn’t receive a single MVP vote. Running back Adrian Peterson was 9 yards shy of setting the rushing record and he won the MVP over Megatron (Peyton Manning received all of the non-Peterson MVP votes, even though he didn’t lead the league in a single QB category).

Gronk would probably have to collect more than 2,000 receiving yards, smash Randy Moss’s touchdown record of 23 in a single season, and have a few highlight blocks that make the Sportscenter Top 10 plays to be in consideration- and he would have to have some serious production during Brady’s suspension, because the judges would more likely vote for Brady in this circumstance.

And speaking of Brady, what would he have to do to win the MVP? His chances likely hinge on back-up Jimmy Garoppolo falling on his face in the first four weeks, right? There has to be an astounding difference in offensive performance between Garoppolo and Brady for the latter to win MVP. It would also help if the usual suspects like Rodgers, Newton, and Wilson all disappoint in their production.

I would expect Brady would have to lead the Patriots to an 11-1 record- at worst- and a first round bye. Brady would also have to lead the league in passer rating, while ranking towards the top in the raw cumulative stats like passing yards and touchdowns. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to lead in passing yards (that would be insane), but if he finishes in the top three or five in touchdowns while missing four games, then Brady might receive a vote or two.