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Eagles Worth Sprinkling on in the Super Bowl MVP Market
Before we go any further, let me start by saying that the Super Bowl MVP is predominantly a quarterback award. Out of the previous 56 Super Bowls, 31 have featured MVPs that were quarterbacks. Having said that, that’s still 25 Super Bowls with an MVP that wasn’t a quarterback and when you consider the prices you can catch on some of the non-quarterbacks, it’s always worth saving some of your Super Bowl bankroll for a few sprinkles on non-quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl MVP in hopes of a big cash. Without further ado, here are three Eagles worth doing just that on:
Haason Reddick (+3500)
We’re going to go from shortest to longest odds here out of the three players we’re interested in. The only player with shorter odds than Reddick who we would consider is Devonta Smith at 25-1 who’s been hot for the Eagles of late and is someone we wrote about in last week’s actionable stats column. However, with two weeks to scheme up some more looks for AJ Brown, 25-1 isn’t appetizing enough on Smith. As for Reddick, he has been a complete game wrecker for the Eagles all season, but especially in the postseason. In two playoff games, the Temple product has 3.5 sacks, which is already a Philadelphia playoff record for a single postseason. With another 1.5 sacks in the Super Bowl, he would became the franchise leader in total playoff sacks. Granted, it’s the Super Bowl MVP and not the playoff MVP, but doing that in one postseason could certainly break a tie between Reddick and someone else on the Eagles for the award. The story thus far for Philly in the playoffs has been defense as Jonathan Gannon’s unit has compiled four takeaways and eight sacks in two games so far. This has allowed the Eagles to work with some short fields on offense and play with leads for essentially the entire duration of each of their playoff wins. It’s one thing to do this against Daniel Jones, Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson, but it’s another task altogether to pull it off against Patrick Mahomes and company. Should Philly’s defense produce a similar result, it would likely be thanks to another monster game from Reddick who has four quarterback hits in the playoffs on top of his aforementioned 3.5 sacks. Lastly, one thing I always can’t help but think about when it comes to awards that writers vote on is the career arcs of each candidate. Reddick is a feel-good story who grew up in Southern New Jersey, walked on at Temple and is now with his hometown team as one of the best free-agent signings in Eagles history. He was drafted 13th overall in 2017 by the Arizona Cardinals, one pick before Philadelphia picked in the first round. Now he’s back in Arizona with a chance to bring his career full circle. That’s a story a lot of writers might want to pen.
Brandon Graham (+8000)
Graham is another one of the Eagles defenders who had a double-digit sack total this season. Coming off a torn achilles, Graham was a notable snub from the comeback player of the year finalists, which I’m sure is something many of the Eagles writers are aware of. Additionally, had there not been so much offense the last time the Eagles won the Super Bowl five years ago, Graham would have been a good candidate for Super Bowl MVP based on his strip sack of Tom Brady that proved to be the clinching play in the victory for Philadelphia. So, if you’re a believer in make-up awards, Graham’s exclusion from the comeback player of the year finalists and pivotal play in Super Bowl LII not being rewarded with the award are things to consider. Also, the heartstrings angle is in play with Graham as well. The Michigan product is a free agent after this game and has been a Philadelphia Eagle his entire career. Graham, 34, has acknowledged that he wants to play a few more seasons but that this might be his final game in midnight green. He’s turned into a pillar of the Eagles defense ever since the team traded up for him in the first round of the 2010 draft. Philadelphia was highly criticized for the selection over Earl Thomas as safety was a position of need for the Eagles at the time as well. But, Graham has integrated himself into the community very well on top of having a very consistent career as a key contributor for the Eagles under four different coaching staffs. If this is it for Graham as an Eagle, and Gannon’s defense stifles Mahomes and company, it would be one hell of a way for No. 55 in green to go out.
Kenneth Gainwell (+15000)
This one of the longest of longshots, but we’re continuing to assume that the Eagles are going to follow a similar game script to their first two playoff wins which would open the door for a non-quarterback to win the award. As we’ve mentioned, Philadelphia’s defense has been lights out in the postseason, and that has allowed the Eagles to run the ball a lot and they haven’t asked much of Jalen Hurts. Should this happen again and Philly is very run-heavy on offense, Gainwell is the back to invest in. Through two playoff games Gainwell has accumulated a total of 26 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 35 yards in the receiving game. Gainwell had more carries than Miles Sanders in the NFC Championship game and more rushing yards than Sanders in the divisional round. Sanders is priced at 22-1 while Gainwell is listed at 150-1 at DraftKings. That by itself makes Gainwell worth a sprinkle and that’s before factoring in that the Eagles offensive line makes all of their running backs look good which suggests Gainwell at significantly longer odds is a better bet than Sanders. It will probably take multiple touchdowns for Gainwell to have a chance at the Super Bowl MVP, so if you would rather put a few bucks on Gainwell’s anytime touchdown price at +370, we wouldn’t blame you.
By Greg Frank
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