At the moment, it’s very difficult seeing anyone but Peyton Manning, due to his incredible start to the season, winning the NFL MVP. However, there’s still an outside chance for quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers to turn the tide, while Reggie Bush and even Justin Houston should be taken into consideration for the award.
Manning, a four-time MVP winner, has thrown for 1470 yards (367.5 per game) and 16 touchdowns so far, without a single interception. He is completing 75% of his passes, also an NFL best so far, while his team, the Denver Broncos, are undefeated at 4-0, not winning a single game by less than 16 points.
So right now it seems like a lost cause, but things do happen, and it’s hard to believe Manning and the Broncos will carry on at this insane pace. If one of the other five candidates picks up his game, we might have a closer race on our hands.
Tom Brady (Patriots)
Brady hasn’t had the best of starts to the season (58.9% ratio, 1014 yards, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions), but he has some excuses, like not having decent receivers to throw to. Maybe because of that, he makes such a compelling case. Brady is someone voters love, and he has rebounded with an impressive 316 yards, no interceptions performance in the win against the Falcons. A bit more of that, not to mention the Patriots going 4-0 so far, and it won’t be surprising to see him mentioned in the MVP race, even with inferior numbers.
Drew Brees (Saints)
Few NFL quarterbacks can keep up with what Manning is doing right now, but Brees isn’t that far away, and that’s without actually throwing to wide receivers, focusing most of his energy on turning Jimmy Graham into the best tight end in the NFL. He has thrown for 1434 yards (second to Manning only) with a passer rating of 103.8, fifth in the NFL. If his defense can keep whatever they’re doing at the same level for the rest of the season, it will be foolish to keep Brees out of the discussion.
Reggie Bush (Lions)
Might turn out to be the free agency signing of the season, even though he’s not going to be someone who runs for 2000 yards. Bush is much more of a Marshall Faulk, so far being the main reason the Detroit Lions have looked so good at 3-1, leading the NFC North. He is fourth in the NFL among running backs in receptions, but he has played in only three games, and is averaging 59.7 receiving yards per game, second among running backs. He rushed for 139 yards in the win over the Bears last Sunday, and if he keeps this 150 yards from scrimmage pace up without getting injured, he’ll be a first-team All-Pro and maybe even more at the end of the season.
Justin Houston (Chiefs)
The last time a defensive player won the MVP award was 1986, so Houston isn’t exactly likely to be rewarded at the end of the season. But the Chiefs have been the best defense in the NFL so far when it comes to rushing passes, getting a lot of help from Tamba Hali. He is tied with Robert Mathis for the lead in sacks with 7.5 so far this season, but no one has harassed quarterbacks with hits and hurries more than Houston so far this season.
Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
Yes, he has problems in the clutch, but that’s not all on him. But Rodgers is third in the league with 352 yards per game so far this season, with a passer rating that’s better than Drew Brees. The team is filled with injuries, hurting Rodgers, who has the weakest offensive line out of all the elite quarterbacks. And still he gets things done almost all the time, rarely making mistakes. Getting over that loss against Cincinnati might be what picks up his season again, and once again being referred to as the best quarterback in the league.