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Who will be the Super Bowl LI MVP?

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Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, or a surprise player?

Atlanta Falcons Media Availability Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

We have so many questions to consider as the Super Bowl looms—holy god, it’s tomorrow!—and we’ll spend some time discussing the biggest ones later today. This one’s a little smaller, but it’s still fun to think about.

That question: Who will be the Super Bowl MVP?

Let’s assume the Falcons are going to win this game, as many of us are. If that’s the case, the likeliest MVP winners are Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman, not necessarily in that order. Ryan’s the odds-on favorite because of his excellence all season and the fact that quarterbacks tend to win the award if they deliver a good game, but Julio is always a threat to go for 200-plus, and Freeman is the workhorse back who could be integral to the outcome in a game where both teams will want to establish the run.

There is the possibility that both of these offenses are stymied and a defensive player carries the day, or someone like Vic Beasley, Dwight Freeney, or a member of this gifted young secondary has such a monster game that they wind up snagging the award. Given the offense’s aptitude, though, it doesn’t seem particularly likely that will be the case.

So my pick, as uncreative as it may seem, is Matt Ryan. He’s salted away the doubts that plagued him throughout the season and through the Falcons’ playoff run, playing at an exceptionally high level against wildly differing levels of competition, and presiding over an offense that was incredibly effective during those stretches where Julio Jones wasn’t a particularly big factor. Even against a tough Patriots matchup, I expect him to have a terrific game, and assuming we’ve got a Falcons win on our hand, that’ll be enough to pull down more hardware.

If your answer is Tom Brady, by the way, you should probably leave this blog. I’m sorry, but them’s the breaks.