We haven't even concluded week 10's action in the 2016 NFL season, but it is already evidently clear that the race for this year's MVP award will only be contested between two people.
For starters, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the favorite to win the award after coming back from a four-game suspension at the age of 39 to show he isn't slowing down yet, and also guiding his team to a 7-1 record before their bye this week.
While Brady takes some deserved time off, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan demonstrated in this week's Thursday night game why he could beat the four-time Super Bowl winner past the post for the 2016 NFL MVP award.
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In a resounding 43-28 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ryan completed 25 of his 34 passing attempts for 344 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions, connecting with seven different receivers along the way.
His ability to spread the ball around to other players than wide receiver Julio Jones has meant the Falcons haven't fallen into the trap like they did this time last year after a strong start. That's happened large part to the better personnel he has been surrounded with this year.
If Ryan is able to keep this kind of performance consistent for the rest of the season, it will be difficult for the league to present the MVP award to a player who missed four games. He now has 23 passing touchdowns - two more than what he had in 2015 alone - and 2,980 passing yards meaning he could definitely join the 5,000-yard club if he keeps up this pace.
The Falcons have been waiting patiently for their first rounder to blossom into the quarterback they expected him to be, and they might finally be receiving that this season. Perhaps they can now go one further than what they accomplished in the 2014 season and reach the Super Bowl.
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