1. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +325
Previous Rank: 1
Aaron Rodgers was facing the #1 defense in the league on Saturday and it was just another game for him. Coming up against a side that ranked equal second in the league with 3.4 sacks per game, Rodgers seemed to have plenty of time in the pocket, not being sacked once and finding receivers with ease.
The soon to be MVP threw for 296 yards, the most that the Rams allowed all year, and two touchdowns on Saturday afternoon. His offensive line did an incredible job of giving him time to go through all his options and his proficient passing allowed the running game to open up, with the Packers running for 188 yards, which is over 50 more than the Rams had allowed all season.
Against the NFL’s #1 defense, the Packers just scored 32 points and had 484 total yards, 94 more than LA had allowed in any game.
They scored on each of their first five drives.
They did not turn the football over.
They did not allow a sack.
They punted twice.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 17, 2021
Not only did he beat the Rams through the air, but with just a seven point lead and under four minutes remaining in the first half, Rodgers threw up a pump fake that got Leonard Floyd to fly in the air and open up a lane for the one yard touchdown scramble run.
The big test for Rodgers will be against the side that he had his worst game of the season against. Tampa Bay restricted him to completing 45% of his passes for a total of 160 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions while sacking him four times.
If Aaron can overcome the demons left behind from this game and play like he has for the rest of the season, he will have another NFC Championship and have a chance at his second Super Bowl win.
2. Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +300
Previous Rank: 2
It was closer than they would have liked, but Kansas City got over the line against Cleveland and now hosts the AFC Championship this weekend, hosting it for an AFC record third straight season.
While he is still questionable to play this weekend due to a concussion he suffered in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Patrick Mahomes is a big reason that the Chiefs are still alive.
Mahomes opened the game going 4/4 for 41 passing yards and capped it off with a keeper play to score the first touchdown of the game. He ended the game completing 21 of 30 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs scored on all four of their opening half drives and went into the main break leading 19-3. Mahomes only lasted eight plays of the second half and was forced to watch Cleveland claw their way back from the locker room.
The fact that Cleveland got back in the game and almost won it is an indication of how important Mahomes is to the Chiefs and if he is able to play, he will take Kansas City a very long way for years to come. Given how Buffalo shut down Baltimore on the weekend, the Chiefs need Mahomes more than ever this weekend.
3. Tom Brady, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +625
Previous Rank: 6
Tom Brady continues to defy the laws of father time and has turned back the clock on what is now a six game winning streak for the Buccaneers.
Things didn’t look good early in the first quarter, with Tampa Bay going three and out on their first two drives but they managed to stay in the game. Thanks to their pesky defense, Brady was given the ball at just the three yard line and made the Saints pay for their sloppy play, connecting with Mike Evans for the opening touchdown of the game.
Tom Brady tried to high-five the ref 😅 pic.twitter.com/RDgqfndeZN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 18, 2021
Scores were tied at halftime but the Saints scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. The Bucs took over from there, scoring 17 straight points to close out the game, winning by 10. Brady threw for his second touchdown of the game before a classic quarterback sneak late in the fourth quarter to put the margin out of reach.
He ended the game with 199 yards and two touchdowns through the air plus another along the ground to get into his 14th conference championship game, and ninth in the last 10 years.
He has met Aaron Rodgers three times previously, winning two of those including earlier this season but the pair are yet to meet in the postseason. Can Brady guarantee his GOAT status this weekend?
4. Josh Allen, quarterback, Buffalo Bills
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +475
Previous Rank: 4
A tough one for Allen as he didn’t play like we are used to seeing over the last two months but he still did enough to get his team over the line and into their first AFC Championship game since 1994.
The first half was surprising with just three punts, one missed field goal and one field goal to go into halftime tied 3-3. Allen turned things around on the opening drive of the second half, throwing for 46 yards including the three yard touchdown pass to his trusty first option receiver, Stefon Diggs.
All ended the game completing just 62% of his passes for 206 yards, one touchdown but didn’t throw any picks and that helped Buffalo stay in the game and eventually win it.
The Bills have played Kansas City once this season, losing 17-26 and Allen completing just 52% of his passes. Buffalo has gone 11-1 since then and the combination of Allen’s passing and running game has been the driving force behind it, and he will need to be at the top of his game this weekend for them to have any chance.
5. Davante Adams, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +1500
Previous Rank: 9
The best receiver in the game vs the best cornerback in the game and Davante Adams came out on top. This was the biggest one on one matchup of the entire weekend, but Adams’ footwork, route running and composure won out.
With Jalen Ramsey keeping some of the best receivers across the league quiet throughout the season, many thought he would be able to do the same on Saturday, but Adams was targeted 10 times by Rodgers, ending with nine receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Davante Adams’ releases and route running >>>> pic.twitter.com/sv1fnHpZ1V
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 16, 2021
When Green Bay met Tampa Bay in week six, Adams had just six receptions from 10 targets for 61 yards and no touchdowns. That was just one of three games all season that Adams was held without a touchdown and he will be wanting to turn that around in the Conference Championship on Sunday.
6. Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +1800
Previous Rank: 10
The best tight end in the game furthered his claim over that title with another stellar performance on Sunday afternoon.
After finishing the regular season with the second most receiving yards and equal fifth most receiving touchdowns, Kelce put on another masterclass against the Browns and helped his team get over the line. The big man was the only Chiefs player to finish with a receiving touchdown while having the most targets of the game and equal most of the entire weekend.
His final stats were 11 targets, eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. In the Chiefs’ game with Buffalo earlier in the season, just five receptions and only 65 yards but had two touchdowns and was the difference maker.
7. Stefon Diggs, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +2000
Previous Rank: Unranked
Stefon Diggs has been balling out in the Bills’ first two playoff games and is a massive reason why they are in the AFC Championship game and also why Josh Allen has been playing so well this season.
On Saturday, Diggs received the first touchdown of the game to break a 3-3 tie, and that ended up being the only offensive touchdown scored. He ended the game with 106 yards from eight receptions whilst being targeted the equal most times of the entire weekend.
Stefon Diggs leads the league in “plays where the guy covering him isn’t even on the screen by the time he catches the ball.” Davante Adams is a close second.
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) January 17, 2021
Over the last six weeks, Diggs has averaged 122 receiving yards and a touchdown per game but was kept to just 46 yards against the Chiefs in week six. He had a touchdown in that game and will need to be at his best on Sunday, especially given how Buffalo’s running game has played lately.
8. Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +1600
Previous Rank: Unranked
The third straight receiving option from Sunday’s AFC Championship game and third Chiefs’ player to make the list, but Tyreek Hill is certainly no afterthought.
After averaging under 65 receiving yards and having just two total touchdowns over his last four games of the season, the fastest receiver in the game reminded us how important and dynamic he is.
The ‘Cheetah’ exploded for 110 receiving yards including two receptions of 20+ yards and Cleveland had no answer for him. With the Chiefs up by just five points and over a minute left, it was 4th&1 with backup QB Chad Henne in the game. Rather than punt or try for a QB sneak, the Chiefs turned to Hill to get them the first down and that is exactly what he did.
9. Leonard Fournette, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +6600
Previous Rank: Unranked
A surprise entrant to the Super Bowl MVP Power Rankings, but without Leonard Fournette, the Buccaneers wouldn’t be playing this Sunday.
— Tompa Brady (@Tommy6Rings) January 18, 2021
After having just one game of over 100 total yards during the regular season, Fournette has had back to back games eclipsing that level in the Bucs’ first two postseason games. On Sunday night, Fournette stepped up on the ground and through the air for Tampa Bay, especially after Antonio Brown went down with an injury.
The former number four pick led the Buccaneers in carries (17), rushing yards (63), receptions (5) and finished with 107 total yards plus a touchdown. Brown’s status for Sunday’s game is still up in the air, but Fournette’s ability to get yards and touchdowns on the ground or through the air will be a massive factor in whether Tampa Bay can overcome the Packers.
10. Tyrann Mathieu, safety, Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LV MVP Odds: +4000
Previous Rank: Unranked
The Honey Badger makes his way onto this Power Rankings on the back of a very impressive performance during the Divisional Round.
After averaging just over three solo tackles and four total tackles per game during the regular season, Mathieu ended Sunday with five solo tackles and seven total tackles, including one tackle for loss.
He is a very big reason that the Chiefs kept a Cleveland side, who averaged over 25 points per game during the regular season and scored 48 the week before, to just 17 points on Sunday.
Heading into the game Baker Mayfield had thrown just one pick in his last 10 games, but Mathieu managed to get an interception on just the third play of the second half and made his presence felt all night.
There were queries over Kansas City’s defense, specifically their secondary, and with Mathieu playing like that to lead the way, it open things up even more for the Chiefs moving forward.
*Odds correct at time of writing.
Are you interested in finding out more on the latest season of the NFL? Then make sure you visit our NFL hub page, we’ve got all the details you need!
Image by: Carl Jason Oredina