Shutdown Corner - NFL

Sunday’s five most valuable players, Week 17

See Sunday's five least valuable players here.

Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay Packers. The year 2011 was home to the best football quarterbacking human history has ever seen, so it seems fitting to end the regular season with an all-quarterback edition of the weekly MVPs. The least likely of the bunch? Green Bay backup Matt Flynn throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns. Rex Ryan is sitting around this morning hoping that Green Bay once again gets the itch to elevate a backup quarterback and dump their starting quarterback on the Jets.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints. Maybe the oddest thing about Matt Flynn's performance is that he threw for six touchdowns and still didn't have the best quarterback rating on the day. That honor went to the great Drew Brees, who just wrapped up the best statistical season a quarterback has ever had. He added five touchdowns and 389 yards to his season today ‒ making it 5,476 yards and 46 TDs on the year. And he did this with a completion percentage of 71.2. A completion percentage that high in an offense that's pretty much the opposite of dink-and-dunk? Mind-blowing.

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Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers. No team has ever been better in games that do not matter. It was vintage Rivers today: not a lot of attempts, a gigantic yards-per-attempt number, and a lot of trusting his receivers to make plays. If the NFL had punishments like college football, and the Chargers could be told that they couldn't play in the postseason no matter what they did in the regular season, I think they might go undefeated.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants. Eli threw the ball with such tremendous confidence on Sunday night. He'd lock in on his target, step into the throw and beam it to his numbers. It was impressive to watch. Of course, he had some help (see this week's LVPs). He seems to be getting even better with his escapability, too, which isn't usually something a quarterback gets better at ‒ he usually has it or he doesn't. He looked just as good with his feet as Tony Romo.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions. He came up on the losing end, but 520 yards and five touchdowns earn him a nod. Also, there's this fun fact: Both Drew Brees and Tom Brady bested Dan Marino's previous-best mark of 5,084 passing yards in a season, and Stafford came pretty damn close to it, too: 5,038 on the year. Anyone see that coming before the season? I thought the guy might have a good year, but not 5,000 yards good. If he gets another receiver and a little bit more of a running game, Stafford could be in the Brady/Brees/Rodgers club in a couple of years.

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