Who's MVP of the NFC South?

December, 22, 2010
12/22/10
1:45
PM ET
Colleague Mike Sando has posted his weekly MVP Watch and it includes three guys from the NFC South. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Michael Turner and New Orleans’ Drew Brees are on the list.

But they’re all in the bottom half of the top 10. Let’s face it, the MVP isn’t coming from the NFC South. It’s going to be either Tom Brady or Michael Vick. Both are having great seasons and both are in big media markets.

So let’s just narrow things down to our own little world. Who’s the MVP of the NFC South? There was a time early in the season when I thought Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White was running away with that honor, but he’s cooled off a bit lately.

With 106 catches for 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns, I think White at least remains in the conversation and he certainly could jump back to the lead with a strong final two games.

I’ll choose an NFC South MVP after the regular season is over and I think the race is so close right now that what happens in Monday night’s game between the Falcons and Saints could decide things. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Like I said, it’s too early to call this tight race. But, if I had to turn in a ballot right now, here’s how I’d rank the only guys I see as worthy candidates.

1. Turner. Yeah, I’m not going with a quarterback at the moment, although that definitely could change. If you look at what Turner has done in games the Falcons have won, I think the stats show his true value to the team. All 11 of his touchdowns have come in wins. Ryan and White are great in their own right, but I don’t think they’d be in this argument if Turner wasn’t doing his job.

2. Ryan. Before you start screaming, New Orleans fans, let me say that I’m going with Ryan over Brees by only the slightest of margins. Brees has more yards and more touchdowns, but those 19 interceptions are just a few too many. Ryan plays in a more deliberate offense and that keeps his numbers from going off the charts. But I like the fact he has 10 fewer interceptions than Brees. One other stat that comes to mind here -- the Falcons have lost twice, while the Saints have lost four games.

3. Brees. Like I said, this is all still up for grabs. If the Saints win Monday night and Brees has a big game, he probably jumps straight to No. 1.

4. White. He was phenomenal early, but White hasn’t had a 100-yard receiving game since Week 10 against Baltimore.

5. Josh Freeman. You could even make a case for the Tampa Bay quarterback as No. 1. It would depend largely on how you define MVP, but you could definitely make the case that if Freeman wasn’t around, the Bucs might be 0-14, instead of 8-6. Take Brees, Turner, Ryan or White off their teams and the Saints and Falcons still would be competitive. But there will be plenty of time in the future to talk about Freeman as the NFC South’s MVP or maybe even the NFL’s MVP. It’s not quite that time yet.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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