NFL action has been going on for three weeks now, with the fourth week set to kick off. And while the first three weeks have been full of strange decision making and poor play, there have also been a number of players who have set themselves apart with inspired play on the field. But, among those game changing players, who has been the best among them?
When it comes to elite NFL quarterbacks, they just don’t get much better than Tom Brady, who has proven that by playing at a high level through three games this season. In wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, and Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady has thrown for an NFL-best 1,112 yards and 9 touchdowns, with no interceptions to this point in the season.
Of course, Brady has had the added motivation of wanting to get revenge on anyone and everyone associated with the NFL after he was suspended for four games for his role in the Patriots’ ball deflation scandal. While that suspension was taken away by a third party judge, Brady has been looking to take his frustrations out on the league, which he has done perfectly so far.
For the Minnesota Vikings, there isn’t a more important player to their success than running back Adrian Peterson, who has shown why he is just so valuable to his team through three games. In his first games since returning from a well deserved suspension for atrocities committed against his child, Peterson has rushed for 291 yards on 49 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per rush, and 2 touchdowns to help the Vikings to a 2-1 start.
But beyond the big numbers that Peterson is putting up, his presence helps make things easier on young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who continues to develop in the Vikings’ offense. With Peterson in the backfield, teams have to commit more players into the box, which allows for more deep passing lanes for Bridgewater to work with. Sure, Peterson’s statistical output has been nice, but his value has extended beyond the box score, which is ideal.
Presumably, you go to work every day and rely on a team around you to accomplish things. Now, imagine if that team was destroyed by injuries and you were left to work with last minute replacements while hoping that everything worked out the same as it did before. That’s what Aaron Rodgers has had to deal with this season, and he has owned every bit of the challenge he’s been faced with.
Rodgers lost star receiver Jordy Nelson in the preseason, and has dealt with injuries to running back Eddie Lacy as well. Even still, Rodgers has thrown for 771 yards, and a league leading 10 touchdowns with no interceptions. Five of those touchdowns came in a blowout win over the Kansas City Chiefs, who managed to lock down all-time great quarterback Peyton Manning the week before.
All three of these players will be in MVP discussions well into the season if they can continue to play the way they have in these first three weeks.
By: Jason M. Sanin