Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers has huge implications for the AFC playoff picture, as whoever wins likely will end up with the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
But could it also decide who wins the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award?
The quest for MVP seemed like a two-player race entering Week 14, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz considered the front-runners. But after Brady put up a dud in the Pats’ loss to the Miami Dolphins and Wentz tore his ACL against the Los Angeles Rams, the race now seems wide open.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell suddenly are in the thick of the MVP conversation. And depending on how Sunday’s game at Heinz Field goes, Brady could cement his case as league MVP or surrender the reigns to Brown or Bell.
During Friday’s episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” co-host Stephen A. Smith explained why Sunday’s marquee matchup could put the finishing touches on someone’s MVP season.
Smith, for the most part, makes good points. But a 15-catch, 250-yard performance from Brown is an awfully aggressive hypothetical.
One thing we know for sure is that Sunday can’t come soon enough.