Halfway through the season, the MVP race is heating up. Here’s a breakdown of the candidates.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots:
Brady was already having a pretty nice season but was missing that banner weekend. Well, after absolutely shredding the Pittsburgh Steelers defense on the road, Brady now is one of the front-runners. The most impressive part is that Brady is torching defenses with rookie tight ends and possession receivers. Even though he’s nowhere near as spectacular as Michael Vick, he has the Patriots playing at a very high level without many playmakers at skill positions.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles:
Easily the biggest story of the year has been the revival of Michael Vick. Not only is Vick still running all over defenses but he has seemingly figured out how to become a pocket-passer first, which has made all the difference in the world. Vick also got his banner game as he smoked the Washington Redskins for 333 yards passing, 80 yards rushing and six combined touchdowns. More importantly, the Eagles have won all of the games that Vick has started and finished, putting them in a great spot to potentially win the NFC East.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers:
The Chargers are only 4-5, but they wouldn’t have won any without Rivers. Without many of his biggest weapons throughout the season, Rivers is still having a career year and is on pace to break the single-season record for passing yards, which is a great way to sell NFL tickets. With the Chargers now sitting just a game out of first place and Rivers playing as well as he is, he’ll definitely warrant some MVP consideration at the end of the season, particularly if the Chargers rally and make it back to the postseason.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans:
Foster is at a disadvantage because he’s not a quarterback and is on a team headed in the wrong direction, but he’s had nothing short of a breakout season. Not only is he leading the league with 920 yards rushing after nine games but he’s also added in 319 yards receiving as well. Currently, Foster is on pace for 2,203 all-purpose yards and 20 total touchdowns. The problem for Foster is that Chris Johnson put up even better numbers last year without winning the award, but Foster still deserves some consideration at this point for how well he’s played.
David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars:
In a way, Garrard is almost as unlikely as Vick to be on this list. Garrard headed into the season amidst rumors that he could be on his way out of Jacksonville and even got off to an inconsistent start. But since week three, Garrard has been one of the best signal callers in the league. Over that time span, Garrard has had a QB rating of at least 122 in four out of five games, which were all games that the Jaguars won. Through eight starts, Garrard has gotten back to limiting the mistakes, helping him get his season QB rating up to 104.9 and his completion percentage up to 69.4. As it stands, Garrard is the biggest reason that the Jags are sitting at 5-4 and in the middle of the AFC playoff hunt.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts:
An MVP list isn’t really complete until the four-time winner of the award is included. Manning isn’t having one of his best overall seasons, likely due to the plethora of wide receiver injuries he’s had to endure, but he’s still guided his Colts to a 6-3 record and will have the stats at the end of the year. Playing some indoor games late in the season while others play in winter climates also should help.
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons:
Receivers almost never win the MVP award, and White probably won’t this year either. However, White has been the most consistent receiving threat in the league all year and has been instrumental in pushing the Falcons to a 7-2 record. His quarterback, Matt Ryan, also could get some consideration if he puts up a couple big statistical weeks and the Falcons continue to win.
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