By Grant Ramirez
Three weeks of the 2017 NFL season are in the books. Many of the games haven’t been overly exciting; however, things started to heat up in Week 3 and should only get better. There have been plenty of outstanding performances, and we now have a good enough sample size to begin the early MVP conversation.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Tom Brady played an average game in the Patriots’ Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, bringing question as to whether the seemingly ageless wonder was beginning to decline. He quickly put those doubts to rest with two phenomenal performances against the Saints and Texans. Brady torched New Orleans’ secondary in Week 2 and led a last-minute drive against Houston that included the winning touchdown throw to Brandin Cooks. Brady leads the league in passing yards with 1,092 and touchdowns with eight. In addition, he is second in the league in passer rating and yards per attempt. Tom Brady, remarkably, is as good as ever.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterbacking one of two undefeated teams left through three weeks, Alex Smith is having the best start of his career. Smith has been known to be tentative throwing the ball downfield; however, his impressive average of 9.2 yards per attempt is by far the best of his career and up 2 yards from last season. He is at the helm of a Chiefs’ offense that ranks third in the league. Smith also has a league-high passer rating of 132.7 and completion percentage of 77. It’s weird to have Smith in the MVP conversation because he has been more or less average his whole career, but you have to give him credit for his performance thus far.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith isn’t the only MVP candidate in Kansas City. Ever since fumbling his first career touch, Kareem Hunt has been on an absolute tear, putting up unreal numbers for a rookie, especially considering he was a third-round pick. Through three weeks, he has 401 rushing yards, four touchdowns and is averaging an incredible 8.5 yards per carry. Hunt doesn’t only scare defenses on the ground, he also has proven to be a viable threat in the passing game, adding 137 yards and two more touchdowns through the air. Although running backs aren’t considered to be as valuable as quarterbacks, Hunt is a major reason the Chiefs are a dangerous team.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan is off to another hot start in Atlanta, leading a top-five offense to an undefeated start despite offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving to take over the reins in San Francisco. Last year’s MVP has thrown for 867 passing yards, good for fourth among quarterbacks. Ryan also ranks third in yards per attempt, averaging 9.3 yards per throw. He does have three interceptions on the year, all thrown Sunday against the Lions; however, two of them went off his receiver’s hands before ending up in the opposing team’s arms. Ryan looks to have maintained his form from last season, putting him once again in the MVP conversation.