Peter King’s 2021 NFL season MVP and All-Pro picks

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Each year, I publish my vote for NFL awards, the ballot I send to the Associated Press. The notable vote each year, usually, is for MVP, and it is this year too. I’ll start with why I chose Aaron Rodgers over Tom Brady, Joe Burrow and Cooper Kupp. That ended up being my 1-2-3-4.

Comparing Rodgers and Brady, this year, is a little like comparing apples and pomegranates. Brady did throw for 1,201 more yards than Rodgers, yes. Brady also threw 11 more passes per game. Brady played 1.5 more games than Rodgers; that includes the Covid game Rodgers didn’t play Nov. 7 at Kansas City, plus Rodgers sitting the second half in Week 18 at Detroit.

Green Bay was 13-3 in games Rodgers started, with one clunker—an opening day debacle at New Orleans. Tampa Bay was 13-4 with Brady starting, with two clunkers—a 9-0 loss to the Saints and a 29-19 loss at Washington. Games of 100-plus passer rating: Rodgers 11 of 16, Brady 10 of 17.

The factors that weighed on my decision:

• Watching the games. The late Paul Zimmerman used to say in Hall of Fame meetings when stat after stat about a candidate was being quoted by voters, “You watched him play. Was he dominant? Was he a Hall of Famer?” (With a few other words of color mixed in.) This season, when I watched Rodgers, I thought he was an absolute virtuoso. The position couldn’t be played better. Brady was tremendous too. And Brady’s comeback at the Meadowlands to beat the Jets in the midst of the Antonio Brown melodrama was an all-time rally by the all-time greatest. I just thought Rodgers played the position at the highest level I’ve seen. Dropping the 25-yard dime to Davante Adams between four Niners in Week 3, on the way to a winning last-second field goal . . . The 59-yard bomb he dropped out of the sky perfectly to Adams at Cincinnati in that OT win . . . Play-action darts, off-schedule throws, back-foot strikes, owning Chicago, completing 75 percent with a 14-0 TD-pick ratio after Dec. 1, with one dome game and temperature/wind speeds of 37/10, 43/12, 35/10 and 11/8 in those four non-dome games, all played with a broken toe. Sublime.

• Efficiency. Rodgers in 16 games: four interceptions, zero lost fumbles. Brady in 17 games: 12 interceptions, three lost fumbles. Brady was highly efficient with the offense relying on him so heavily. Rodgers—37 touchdowns, two turnovers in his last 15 games—was historically efficient.

• The Covid lie. This bothered me a lot. Aaron Rodgers chose not to get vaccinated and ended up missing an important game when he tested positive. Moreso, he misled the public by implying he was vaxxed. A quarterback and team leader should be there every week he’s not hurt badly. Brady was there for 17 full games, and Rodgers missed one—that’s on him.

• The case for Brady. It’s a strong one. Pro Football Focus analyst Steve Palazzolo made it eloquently. When Brady made the perfect throw to Cyril Grayson to beat the Jets in the final seconds, capping a 93-yard drive with no timeouts, it was a wow moment. As Palazzolo writes, four of the Brady picks this year were either drops by his receivers or a Hail Mary, all fluky. Palazzolo makes great points.

When you cast an MVP vote, the first reaction is: What’d you have against Brady? The answer: Nothing. Sometimes the body of work just makes one guy a hair better. And that’s why I picked Rodgers in almost a photo finish over Brady.

The rest of my 2021 all-pro team and awards:

OFFENSE
WR: Cooper Kupp, Rams; Davante Adams, Packers; Deebo Samuel, 49ers
TE: Mark Andrews, Ravens
LT: Trent Williams, 49ers
LG: Joel Bitonio, Browns
C: Creed Humphrey, Chiefs
RG: Zack Martin, Cowboys
RT: Tristan Wirfs, Bucs
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Colts

DEFENSE
Edge: TJ Watt, Steelers; Maxx Crosby, Raiders
Interior: Aaron Donald, Rams; Jonathan Allen, WFT
LB: Micah Parsons, Cowboys; De’Vondre Campbell, Packers; Darius Leonard, Colts
CB: A.J. Terrell, Falcons; Jalen Ramsey, Rams
S: Kevin Byard, Titans; Adrian Phillips, Patriots

SPECIAL TEAMS
Kicker: Nick Folk, Patriots
Punter: Michael Dickson, Seahawks
Kick Returner: Braxton Berrios, Jets
Punt Returner: Devin Duvernay, Ravens
Special Teamer: Ashton Dulin, Colts
Long Snapper: Morgan Cox, Titans

AWARDS
Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
Coach: Mike Vrabel, Titans
Assistant Coach: Jeff Stoutland, OL, Eagles
Comeback Player: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals
Defensive Player: T.J. Watt, Steelers
Offensive Player: Cooper Kupp, Rams
Defensive Rookie: Micah Parsons, Cowboys
Offensive Rookie: Creed Humphrey, Chiefs

My thoughts:

• Very tough to leave Justin Jefferson off the team, but I just had to have Deebo Samuel (6.2 yards per rush, 18.2 yards per catch, 14 touchdowns, vital for a needy playoff offense) on the club.

• I don’t recall the last time I felt this good about a pair of tackles—Trent Williams and Tristan Wirfs—as I did this year.

• Never thought I’d leave off Trevon Diggs at corner, but the combination of the excellent year by A.J. Terrell for Atlanta and Diggs giving up an NFL-high 1,016 yards in coverage (Terrell allowed 200 yards) clinched it for me.

• Justin Tucker and Daniel Carlson are both deserving at kicker, to be sure. But Folk was 29 of 29 on kicks inside 50 yards—Tucker was 29 of 31, Carlson 34 of 36 on such kicks—and I can’t forget the 34- and 41-yarders he made with the wind gusting up to 40 mph in Buffalo last month.

• Mike Vrabel over Matt LaFleur was not an easy call, but Vrabel survived with an NFL-high 91 players in uniform, and Derrick Henry missing nine games, and earned home-field in the AFC. That’s quite an accomplishment.

• Jeff Stoutland, the Eagles offensive line coach, helped the Philly offense take a hard pivot to a run-dominant game plan when the Eagles were struggling in midseason; the Eagles led the league in rushing over the last 10 weeks. It took Stoutland’s great performance to surpass the terrific job Dan Quinn did as the Dallas defensive coordinator.

• T.J. Watt (21.5 sacks in 15 games) and Maxx Crosby (NFL-best 101 pressures, per PFF) edged Myles Garrett, but I don’t feel good about leaving off Garrett and his 78 pressures.

• I realize a center for offensive rookie feels odd, especially after Ja’Marr Chase was second in football with an 18.0 yards-per-catch average. But I thought Chiefs center Creed Humphrey—the highest-rated center in football overall, and best run-blocker, per PFF—deserved it.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Lamar Jackson continues to exceed expectations while betting on himself this season

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson took the ultimate chance and is betting on himself this NFL season. After failing to reach an agreement with the Ravens on a long-term extension, the Pompano Beach, Florida native, who went 32nd overall in the 2018 draft, is currently playing on the $23 million 5th-year option of his rookie contract.

Jackson reportedly turned down a 5-year offer worth roughly $250 million, with $133 million guaranteed — something many were not surprised by because Deshaun Jackson’s contract, signed this summer, changed the goalposts for QB contracts, especially for a dual-threat player like Lamar Jackson who runs the ball as well as he throws the ball. This week, Jackson will face a major early season test as the 2-2 Ravens host Joe Burrow and the 2-2 Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

RELATED: Lamar Jackson on his contract situation: Respectfully, I’m done talking about it

Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability

The 2019 NFL MVP already has 13 total touchdowns this season, including 11 pass touchdowns, and currently leads the Ravens with 316 rush yards — the most of any quarterback in the NFL this season. He also ranks in the league’s top 10 in rushing yards, for all players (ranked 9th entering Week 5). Additionally, Jackson was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in September for the second time in his career.

Powered in part by Jackson, the Ravens offense ranked first in rush yards per game in 2019 (206) and 2020 (191.9) and was third in 2021 (145.8). In 2022, the team ranks 8th entering Week 5 (142).

What will happen with Lamar Jackson’s contract at the end of the season?

Lamar Jackson is currently set to become a free agent after the season, however, he could be franchised tagged by the Ravens.

Does Lamar Jackson have an agent?

Lamar Jackson has represented himself during negotiations while leaning on the help of his mother, Felicia Jones, and the NFLPA (which reportedly advised him that he was justified to demand a fully guaranteed deal).

What other notable contracts were recently signed by NFL quarterbacks?

  • Russell Wilson: 5 years, $245 million ($124M fully guaranteed) – August 2022
  • Kyler Murray: 5 years, $230.5 million ($103.3M fully guaranteed) – July 2022
  • Deshaun Watson: 5 years, $230 million (fully guaranteed) – March 2022
  • Josh Allen: 6 years, $258 million ($100M fully guaranteed) – August 2021
  • Patrick Mahomes: 10 years, $450 million ($63.1M fully guaranteed) – July 2020

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals head to M&T Bank Stadium to take on Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens this week on Sunday Night Football. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. See below for additional information on how to watch Sunday night’s Bengals vs Ravens matchup.

RELATED: How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: TV, live stream info, game preview


How to watch the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens:

  • Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
  • When: Sunday, October 9
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

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The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week it’s Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals vs Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. with Football Night in America. Kickoff time is at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 4: Hurts At Home In Philly, Players And Parents On Football Safety, And The Case For Aaron Donald

Every Sunday Night Football game this season will be available on both NBC and Peacock. See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Bengals vs Ravens game 

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 5 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!