Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Couple of SB MVP Picks and Sean Casey

First a quick story...

Prior to the Super Bowl in 2005 (Pats v. Eagles) a guy at my office, a Redskins fan wanted my input on an under the radar Super Bowl MVP for a bet he was planning on making. I told him to go with Deion Branch citing Brady's propensity to go to Branch in big games - 4 catches for 116 in the AFC Championship Game that year and 10catches for 143 and a score in the Super Bowl the year prior. Not a bad resume. As you probably know by now the Pats won that Super Bowl and Branch won the MVP. That Monday, I went immediately over to the guy to whom I made the suggestion to as kind of a "how you like me now". Of course he did not place the bet. Oh well. I still felt awesome.

And that brings me to my two sleeper MVP picks for this year. Below I have listed all of my "safe bet" MVP candidates for both teams and then I have my one sleeper for each team if they win.

Patriots Safe Bets
Tom Brady
Wes Welker
Randy Moss
Laurence Maroney

Giants Safe Bets
Eli Manning
Plaxico Burress
Brandon Jacobs
Osi Umenyora
Michael Strahan

Patriots Sleeper
Jabar Gaffney

Giants Sleeper
Ahmad Bradshaw

Why those guys? Well, Gaffney seems to be the guy who benefits most when Moss and Welker get locked down. And, when Moss gets shutdown but Welker and Stallworth are covered regular, Gaffney becomes Brady's go-to deep threat. I know that Stallworth is a big play receiver but Brady rarely throws long to him. Rather he'll throw a shorter pattern to Stallworth and let Stallworth do most of the work. That leaves Gaffney who if Moss is locked down could end up catching a couple touchdowns and maybe a deep-ball. Then you'll look at his numbers and see that he has 6 catches for 120 and a key touchdown or maybe even two and all of a sudden he's in the MVP conversation. I'm not saying he's a slam dunk, but if you want a sleeper choice, he's my guy.

As for Bradshaw, my explanation is a lot simpler. He's the Giants home run hitter in the running game and if they are to win, I'd imagine he'd bust at least one game changing big play. Mix that with Eli maybe only throwing for 180 or so and you have Ahmad Bradshaw as the key difference maker on offense for the Giants. That's gotta put him in the mix right?

And there you have it. There is absolutely no reason for me to pick the game because does anybody really care how many points I predict the Patriots to win by? It's not like I'm going to choose the Giants.

And PS....

I love the Sean Casey signing for the Sox. Anytime you can get a guy who garnered the nickname, "The Mayor" back in his Cincinatti days for being so beloved by his teammates and the fans who is actually a competent player you gotta love that move. Look, I'm not saying that Casey is going to be an All Star or an MVP candidate but he can give them a solid 350-400 ABs subbing for Youklis and Lowell (put Youk at third for that) and play good D as well. It kind of reminds me of when they brought in John Olerud a few years ago. Not a difference maker by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly a guy you can foresee as being a key role player on a World Series caliber team. He's not Nick Johnson - a name my old roommate Jay Higgins brought up to me - but he's still a great fit for the roll. And to be honest, Nick Johnson whom I borderline man-crush on BTW may almost be too good for the amount of playing time he'd receive. In that case I think Sean Casey is a perfect and a signing you would be hard pressed to critcize.

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