Closing in on the NFL MVP Race

With only one week left in regular season play, The race is on for NFL MVP, below are five quarterbacks who have been in the conversation, and have their own means for why they should be awarded NFL MVP. As many teams in the league use this last week to battle for a Wild Card spot, these five stand out players may also have a different prize on their mind.

Option #1: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

All of the football world has had their eyes on Mahomes for MVP, an incredible feat for an athlete in his first-starting season. As each week of this season has rolled by, we’ve been waiting for this new star to reach his ceiling, and finally plateau like a human being.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

Even with the Chiefs losing two games in a row, Mahomes still performs up to his standard every game. In the Chiefs three out of four losses, Mahomes has still thrown three or more touchdowns. In the one game he threw for less than three, he threw four two. None of the recent losses can be attributed to poor throwing, he simply hasn’t played a bad game. Even in his most recent loss to the Seahawks (played in Seattle), he was able to connect three touchdowns with only a 57.5% completion rate of his passes. He’s passed over 4,800 yards this season (2nd only to Ben Roethlisberger), and leads the league with 48 touchdowns, (runner-up is Andrew Luck at 36). He’s always able to put on a good game, and quite often rack up the high-scoring games that NFL fans flock too. May I remind you of the best game of the season, and highest-scoring Monday Night Football game ever?

Option #2: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

At 39, he’s had a powerful season, completing nearly 75% of his passes. He was the pick for MVP in mid-season, but seemed to relax or lose his momentum near the end of the season. Brees had a late season slump this year which pushed him into second place for MVP. The slump stretched until Week 15, with a weak game against the Carolina Panthers. Brees constantly failed to find the end zone, threw an interception and averaged less than 6 yards per pass. Ultimately the Saints pulled out a 12-9 win, but a messy and low-scoring game never fails well for MVP candidates.

However, The Saints’ 31-28 win against the Steelers on Sunday kept Brees a high pick for MVP and awarded the Saints a home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs. Brees had a 326-yard passing yard performance, and added a cherry on top to this game with passing a two yard touchdown to Thomas with 1:25 left. Brees has thrown close to 4,000 yards this season and 32 touchdowns, with only 5 interceptions, proving some things may just get better with age.

Option #3: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

After beating the Chiefs on Sunday to secure the Seahawks a playoff spot, Wilson got added to the MVP conversation late in the season. His completion percentage was low at 62%, but threw for over 270 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson’s move into third place is due to Sunday’s face up and win against MVP ring-leader Mahomes in a must-win game. When the Seahawks needed a top quarterback and a win, he delivered against one of the best teams in the league. Wilson’s play-making hasn’t been as loud as its been in the past, but he’s stayed in the top 20 quarterbacks in the league, with an 8.1 average yard per carry, one of the highest for quarterbacks this season.

Option #4: Philip Rivers, LA Chargers

There’s no other way to say it, Rivers’ choked under pressure against the Ravens- and choked hard. The brutal loss at home brought Rivers’ down on any MVP list, and this slump comes at the worst timing for his team. This was an important win for the Chargers for their post-season fate. A win against the Ravens would have given the Chargers a #1 seed in the AFC, likely to have a first round bye and home-field advantage. The Ravens do have one of the best defenses (if not the very best) in the league right now, so that does help the Chargers case and cuts Rivers a bit of slack. However, his poor performance in an important and high-pressure game does not speak well on him. Rivers’ completed only 62.2% of his passes for just 181 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, with some luck the Chargers could still get a first-round bye and home-field advantage, but if they don’t he is the player to blame.

Option #5: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

While he was a solid and dependable quarterback for the Colts this season, it’s hard to make a case for why Luck has been enough to compete for MVP. Luck pushed the Giants out of playoff contention this Sunday. The Colts’ squeezed out a 28-27 to put Luck back on the MVP map as he completed 66% of passes, throwing 357 yards and two touchdowns. He’s shown he’s much more agile now than in past seasons, with only 17 sacks compared to his prior season with 41. He’s thrown 36 touchdowns this season, second only to Mahomes. However, he also had 10 interceptions this season which pushes him far back in the MVP race. The Colts are currently the projected 6th seed in the AFC wildcard spot.

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

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