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#pounditTuesday, December 1, 2020

10 players who could capture Super Bowl LIII MVP honors

Tom Brady

The big question on everyone’s mind is who will win Super Bowl LIII. There’s more than just the big prize at stake on Sunday in Atlanta, however. There are a lot of lesser prizes to claim, and not the least of them is Super Bowl MVP honors.

The joy of Super Bowl MVP is that anyone can win it. Sure, that sounds obvious on the surface, but any one player can have a big game out of nowhere, and that’s all it takes to put yourself in the conversation. Any player could jump up and surprise us and claim honors on Sunday, but some options are more obvious than others. Here are ten who would seem to stand a pretty good chance of claiming the award.

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

If the Patriots win, it’s pretty easy to envision Brady claiming the Super Bowl MVP. The quarterback tends to play his best in big games, and this certainly counts as the biggest. The Rams can be vulnerable to the pass, and with two weeks of gameplanning, it’s pretty safe to say that Brady will be prepared for whatever Los Angeles throws at him. If he has a big game, it’s easy to see the MVP voters defaulting to him.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams

Cooks is the Rams’ big play wide receiver, the man Jared Goff counts on when he needs a big chunk of yardage. That puts Cooks in position to put up some big numbers. He had five 100-yard receiving games in the regular season, and he put up 107 yards on the New Orleans Saints during the playoffs. He hasn’t put up huge touchdown totals, but if he has a big yardage game and finds the end zone once or twice, hardware could come his way.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

Edelman is Tom Brady’s favorite target, and that makes him a threat to win MVP. After all, he has a history of making big catches in Super Bowls, and the Patriots quarterback will definitely be looking his way against the Rams. Edelman may have a harder time winning the honors, because a big day for Edelman probably means a big day for Brady and voters may ultimately default to the quarterback in that situation. The wide receiver is still a threat to put up a huge line, though, and should not be ignored.

Aaron Donald, DT, Rams

Donald has the potential to make a big play every time he steps on the field. This is a guy who collected 20.5 sacks in 16 games during the regular season. Donald’s job will be to do what others have not this postseason: pressure Tom Brady, rattle him, hit him, and sack him. If Donald is living in the backfield and giving Brady constant problems, people will take notice. He could be viewed as the most significant factor if the Patriots’ offense puts up a flat performance in a loss.

Trey Flowers, DE, Patriots

Flowers probably counts as a bit of a dark horse when it comes to MVP consideration, but he’s just the sort of Patriot defender who could cause trouble. His numbers aren’t amazing, but he did have 7.5 regular season sacks and three forced fumbles. New England’s defensive line play will be key, and if Flowers can get to Jared Goff, he could cause havoc. If he can make a big play, he could be a surprise contender for MVP honors.

Jared Goff, QB, Rams

If the Rams win, it could certainly be Goff’s doing, though he’s gone a bit more in the direction of game management during the playoffs. Quarterbacks are popular MVP candidates, though, so he’s going to be on the radar. Goff had a pair of 400-yard games during the regular season. If he can get into a rhythm, throw a few touchdowns, and start picking apart the New England secondary, he could prove key to victory and an intriguing choice for Super Bowl MVP honors.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

After a season in which he has so often been a seeming non-facor, it would really be something if Gronk managed to pull out an MVP award in what may end up being his final NFL game. You certainly shouldn’t put it past him. While he’s struggled at times this season, Gronkowski is still a matchup nightmare, especially if the Patriots deploy him against defensive backs. If Brady starts to find him with regularity and he becomes a frequent target while making a big play or two, it could very well be his night.

Todd Gurley, RB, Rams

Gurley is a bit of a wild card for the Rams at this point. He was a non-factor in the NFC Championship, and while the Rams won’t say as much, there is a lot of chatter that his knee may still be bothering him. Still, the Rams sound eager to involve him, and this is an explosive player who’s a year removed from Offensive Player of the Year honors. It would be absurd to think he can’t put it together for a game on both the rushing and receiving front to make some big plays, post some big numbers, and claim MVP honors.

Sony Michel, RB, Patriots

Michel has really grown in stature during the playoffs and he’s had a great postseason so far. The rookie running back has five rushing touchdowns in two games, going for 100 yards both times. He’s done it quietly, but he’s already putting up MVP-caliber numbers in the playoffs. Michel will probably get a lot of action against a Ram defense that has shown vulnerability against the run this season. If he can make the most of it, he could put up some big numbers and garner some MVP votes.

Aqib Talib, DB, Rams

There are a number of players in the Rams’ secondary capable of making big plays, but Talib has the talent and the veteran experience to put his stamp on the Super Bowl. Sometimes, the biggest play in a game like this is a momentum-changing pick six, and Talib is certainly capable of doing that. He’ll have a big job squaring up against Tom Brady, and the former Patriot is still seeking his first career playoff interception. He’d love nothing more than to get it here.

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