Looking at the production of all these guys,
Matt Ryan is at the top. He is playing at an MVP level and his 2016 performance showed he still has so much more left in the tank. He has a running game, receivers who can make unbelievable plays and an improving defense, all of which will help him reach the pinnacle of the sport. After losing a tough one in February, Ryan, coach Dan Quinn and the rest of the
Falcons will be committed to putting themselves in position to win a championship for the next few seasons.
Even though the
Falcons fell just short of
Super Bowl glory this past season, for me, the best answer here is
Philip Rivers. He had the
Chargers in playoff contention (loosely) at the start of December last season despite his team suffering
an apocalyptic level of serious injuries to top players. With those playmakers returning to health, Rivers will be suiting up in 2017 with one of the best offenses of his career and a defense on the cusp of being a truly dominant unit, thanks to the influx of new talent like
Joey Bosa and
Casey Hayward. If everything breaks right for this unit a year after everything went wrong, the
Chargers' return to Los Angeles could be magical.
Matt Ryan will be the trendy choice, since he was less than a quarter away from hoisting a Lombardi Trophy last season. But let's not count out
Carson Palmer (and Larry Fitzgerald) as his career winds down. The
Cardinals are blessed with a truly singular offensive force in
David Johnson, and despite defensive losses in free agency, Arizona still has playmakers in
Tyrann Mathieu and
Patrick Peterson. Let's all believe that last year was a hiccup and not the beginning of the end. In the former scenario, this team is ripe to again compete for a championship.
Matt Ryan came so close last season. As the reigning league MVP, Ryan is going to rally his team and come back even stronger. Of these four players, Ryan has the best team around him, and that gives him the best shot to win the big game.
Matt Ryan wouldn't even be on this list if the
Falcons had been able to hold on to a 25-point lead in
Super Bowl LI. Instead, the
Patriots pulled off a miraculous comeback, and he's still attached to an unfortunate group that includes
Alex Smith and
Philip Rivers. There's little doubt Ryan has the best chance of that bunch to win a title. The
Falcons are young, talented and destined to only improve under head coach Dan Quinn. Last season ended bitterly for Ryan. Turning 32 next month, he's still young enough to hoist a Lombardi Trophy someday.
Which NFL player is most like Sergio Garcia? Someone who's talented, embattled and has folded when it matters the most? Well, the guy who best fits that description is
Tony Romo. I mean, seriously -- I bet CBS kicked themselves on Sunday for not having Romo on the Masters telecast. And it should be noted, Sergio still kind of fell apart. If Justin Rose doesn't miss that putt, then Sergio would have missed his, and we'd all have had a good laugh. On second thought, maybe the answer is Peyton Manning, with Rose's missed putt playing the role of Dom Rhodes, and Rose's shank on the 18th in the playoff being Rex "Baby Hands" Grossman.
But I fear I've ventured far off the point. Give me
Carson Palmer. The
Cardinals are still a very talented team, having fallen one win short of reaching
Super Bowl 50. The Birds are certainly not as bad as they were in 2016. The NFC West gives them two games each against the
Rams. So they will very much be in the playoff hunt again. And the
Cardinals could be the most talented team in the NFC if they nail the 2017