The start of the regular season is quickly approaching, and all week the Around The NFL team will be giving its predictions on the league's major awards.
Chris Wesseling's pick: Andrew Luck
Aaron Rodgers has been the most valuable football player in the world since the 2010 playoffs. Is this the year he's dethroned? Luck was on pace to break Peyton Manning's single-season records for touchdowns and passing yards at midseason last year, only to watch Trent Richardson and an injury-ravaged Reggie Wayne sabotage his offense down the stretch. With the additions of Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and rookie speedster Phillip Dorsett, Luck will oversee the NFL's most explosive offense in 2015.
Gregg Rosenthal's pick: Aaron Rodgers
Yes, this is a boring pick. I also decided not to pick J.J. Watt as my Defensive Player of the Year prediction before last season because that felt too boring. Rodgers occupies a similar space to Watt on offense. He's the best player squarely in the middle of his prime, and should be considered the favorite to win the MVP every year until proven otherwise. The loss of Jordy Nelson may paradoxically help Rogers' case. Voters love stories of players overcoming their surroundings, and Rogers' ability to light up this scoreboard this year without his top receiver will show his greatness anew. Even without Nelson, we'd argue that Rodgers' weapons are better than ever before because of his excellent offensive line and running game. This is a Packers team set to lead the league in scoring, with or without Nelson.
Marc Sessler's pick: Andrew Luck
Luck has all the physical traits you want in a pro passer. He's massive, mobile, seemingly impervious to punishment and lauded by his teachers and teammates as incredibly smart. He's also the type of player who makes those around him better. We don't often see quarterbacks develop at this rate, but Luck isn't even near his peak.
Dan Hanzus' pick: Ben Roethlisberger
This is a long time coming for Big Ben, who has quietly added "Statistical Monster" to an already impressive Hall of Fame resume. The 12th-year quarterback will lead an offense capable of putting up 500 points this season. Le'Veon Bell is the best young running back in football and a terror as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Pittsburgh is loaded at wide receiver, too, with All-Pro Antonio Brown (destined for another 110-plus catch season) complemented by two dangerous young playmakers in Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant. There are obstacles -- Maurkice Pouncey's leg injury and early-season suspensions for Bryant and Bell -- but I think Roethlisberger will carry the load ... and earn hardware in the process.
Kevin Patra's pick: Andrew Luck
Overwhelmingly the NFL MVP goes to a quarterback on a playoff team with gaudy numbers. Luck is set to emphatically check the boxes in all three categories. With T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in his arsenal, Luck should lead or be near the top in every passing statistic this season. While Aaron Rodgers remains the best player in football, Luck is set up to post massive numbers -- plus voters get bored of naming the same guy MVP. Luck has improved each season, is ready to leap into the statical stratosphere and cement himself as a top-three quarterback.
Conor Orr's pick: Andrew Luck
Managing expectations is not easy, especially when your team is picked as a preseason favorite to make the Super Bowl, but Luck does so in incredible fashion. Buoyed by a breakthrough year from offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Luck leads the league in touchdown passes with his new high-octane offense.