With just one game remaining, Super Bowl XLV, there is no clear frontrunner in the 2011 NFL Playoffs MVP race. Since the Packers and Steelers are the last two teams standing, many NFL fans and experts are predicting that either one of the team’s QBs or a defensive player will be named Super Bowl MVP. This series includes all of the 2011 NFL Playoffs, however, and not just the February 6 showdown in Dallas.
2011 NFL Playoffs MVPs after conference championships: QBs Aaron Rodgers/Ben Roethlisberger
Neither quarterback passed for a touchdown last Sunday but both had a rushing score and both got the job done when absolutely necessary. Roethlisberger’s ability to evade pass rushers and make plays is why the Jets did not get the football back at the end of the AFC title game. The Packers are feeding off of Aaron Rodgers, who is still my pick to be named Super Bowl/Playoffs MVP. Super Bowl XLV is when Rodgers fulfills his destiny and proves the critics wrong.
2011 NFL Playoffs MVPs after conference championships: TE Heath Miller
WFAN’s Mike Francesa stole my thunder for this pick slightly on Monday but he was absolutely right about everything he said. Miller has seven catches and one touchdown in two playoff games but it’s his ability to block that has earned him a spot on this list. Miller was absolutely dominant up front in the AFC championship game, especially during the first 30 minutes of the contest.
2011 NFL Playoffs MVPs after conference championships: WR Greg Jennings
The Green Bay WR has yet to see the end zone but he is the current 2011 NFL Playoffs leader in total receptions and total receiving yards. He reeled in eight passes for 130 yards in the NFC championship game. If Rodgers has a solid but not spectacular night next Sunday, it could be Jennings that ends up winning the hardware.
2011 NFL Playoffs MVPs after conference championships: RB Rashard Mendenhall
Mendenhall earns a spot on this list not because of his impressive stats from last Sunday, but because he just could not be tackled throughout the contest. He was quite Bettis-esque against the Jets and if he rushes for 4.5 yards per carry and finds the end zone a couple of times against the Packers, Mendenhall could, after a slow start, be Playoffs MVP.
2011 NFL Playoffs MVPs after conference championships: CBs Tramon Williams and Sam Shields
The two Green Bay defensive backs are the only players in the 2011 NFL Playoffs that have multiple interceptions (Williams has three, Shields has two). Big Ben has turned the ball over in each of Pittsburgh’s two playoff games and Green Bay’s pass rush should be able to create at least a few opportunities for either Williams or Shields to make an impact in Super Bowl XLV.