We’ve finally hit the mid-way point in the NFL season. The trading block is open, teams are separating from each other, and above all the MVP race is officially on. Often known as an award just handed to the quarterback of the team with the best record, this year there are some running backs sprinkled in among the signal callers. And with no clear cut favorite, this race might not be won until week seventeen.
1) Russell Wilson
Wilson has had one of the most efficient seasons in recent memory on a team with no great offensive playmaker. At just short of 2,000 passing yards, the Seahawk also has 15 touchdowns to just one interception. Past that, he has Seattle right in the thick of the NFC Playoff race. The loss to Baltimore hurt him a tad, but with the best passer rating in the entire league, he still deserves the top spot for now.
2) Christian McCaffrey
Without McCaffrey, the Carolina Panthers wouldn’t have over two wins. Not only is he ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns, but the young stud also does it in the flat, as he’s on pace for over 600 receiving yards and four to five touchdowns in that category. He may need to up the ante even more to hold back certain QBs, but for now, this sticks.
3) Aaron Rodgers
Last Sunday, Rodgers passed for over 400 yards, had five touchdowns through the air, and one on the ground. He also has the injury riddled packers at the top of the NFC North, which is currently good for home field advantage if the playoffs started today.
4) Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes’ injury could cost him in the MVP race, but how could you keep the young gun off this list? Even with his missed time, he still leads the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns, with just one pick to his name. Also helping Mahomes’ case is his return to practice on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if he’ll take the field in Week 8, but his return to the practice field is a step in the right direction and bodes well for his chances at getting back into the MVP race.
5) Dalvin Cook
Another RB you ask? For certain. Cook leads the league in rushing yards with 725 and has scored eight times on the ground. He’s a big part of Minnesota’s offense, and if they end up with an 11-5 record or better, Cook will be the main reason.
6) Lamar Jackson
Jackson’s hype had slowed down a bit, and then the Seattle game happened. While his passing stats won’t blow anyone away, his running ability will, and has often times to opposing defenders. If he can keep Baltimore in playoff contention, his name will be a staple on this list.
7) Deshaun Watson
Watson hasn’t had that one game this season that often defines an MVP, but his stats are very good. His five picks aren’t helping the case, but he’s doing what he has to as the leader of a Texans team that is right on the playoff line.
8) Ezekiel Elliott
Don’t worry, Zeke is the last back on my list. He’s only rushed for 602 yards to this point, which is good for fifth, but he’s scored six times in the rushing attack and is the sole reason the Cowboys are even in the playoff picture. The more Dallas feeds him, the better off his MVP odds become.
9) Tom Brady
Brady almost old enough to collect a pension, yet he still plays the game better than any other quarterback, especially in the two-minute drill. He actually ranks seventh in passing yards and has 11 touchdowns to just four interceptions, but it’s how he’s doing it and with the receiving core that he has – or lack thereof – which is what puts him on here.
10) Michael Thomas
I’m a firm believer that receivers can have their names in the MVP talk. Thomas has made Teddy Bridgewater’s job a heck of a lot easier in Drew Brees’ absence. He also has 101 more yards through the air than the next guy and has three TD receptions. However, when Brees comes back, it could hurt Thomas’ case.
Mat Mlodzinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @Mlodzinski_15.