Make no mistake, the NFL MVP award is Peyton Manning’s to lose.
Manning has the Broncos at a perfect 6-0 and has been nearly perfect himself, throwing 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s on pace to throw for over 5,800 yards and nearly 60 touchdown, both of which would shatter NFL records. Will he get to those levels? Likely not. But no one in the league is more valuable than Denver’s No. 18.
Let’s take a look at our current rankings for the top 10 NFL MVP candidates as we head into Week 7 of the season.
1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
He is so far ahead of the rest of the field it’s almost a done deal after six weeks of football.
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
That offensive revolution that Chip Kelly was supposed to usher in to the NFL might not have proven overly successful in the wins column just yet, as the Eagles are just 3-3, but LeSean McCoy is certainly benefiting from the attack. McCoy leads the league with 630 yards and is on pace for nearly 1,700 rushing yards – and is on pace for over 600 receiving yards to boot. If Philadelphia starts winning and McCoy keeps up his numbers, he’ll be a serious candidate in the MVP race.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers; 4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady could overtake Manning simply by proving their value to their teams. Rodgers will be without the dynamic playmaking skills of Randall Cobb for the majority of the season, and Tom Brady has the Patriots at 5-1 with rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins playing key roles. Both players have been named MVP before and if their teams keep winning, they could certainly be named MVP again.
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Whereas Brady and Rodgers could win the award based off of wins, Drew Brees could win the award based off of eye-popping stats. Brees is on pace for his fourth 5,000-yard season of his career and could easily hit 40 touchdown passes for the third consecutive season. If Manning’s stats drop off, Brees could be the statistical leader, which doesn’t go unnoticed by MVP voters.
6. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
A defensive player hasn’t won the MVP award since Lawrence Taylor in 1986, and it would take a truly special season for another one to do so. Justin Houston is on pace for a special season, with 9.5 sacks through six games, and is the leader of a Kansas City defense that has allowed just 10.8 points per game. If Houston can not only break, but shatter Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 sacks, he could get some serious MVP consideration.
7. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
There’s more than one undefeated team in the AFC West, and the production of Jamaal Charles is a big reason why. It would take a special season for a running back to win the MVP, much like Shaun Alexander’s 27-touchdown 2005 season, LaDanian Tomlinson scoring 31 touchdowns a year later and Adrian Peterson topping the 2,000 yard mark last season. There’s a good bet that Charles could break 2,000 yards combined rushing and receiving, and if the Chiefs keep winning, MVP voters will certainly take that into consideration.
8. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
He’s only in his second year, but Andrew Luck has certainly proven that he’s already a top-flight quarterback, especially during crunch time. His stats aren’t MVP-caliber yet, but if he continues to beat the likes of Seattle and San Francisco and some other top-tier NFL teams he could work his way higher on this list.
9. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
J.J. Watt is perhaps having the most dominant year among defensive players, but he’s still off his 20.5 sack pace from a season ago. He’s established himself as perhaps the best defensive player in the league, but that alone won’t vault him to the top of the list.
10. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (tie)
Much like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are in the same category, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo are in the same boat in the MVP race. Both are extremely capable quarterbacks who have a penchant for making mistakes and throwing costly interceptions. If one or both of these guys can turn the corner and lead their respective team on a run, legitimate MVP chatter will come their way.