The NFL season is almost at its halfway point, so now is the time to start talking about the race for the league’s Most Valuable Player award. There are many things to take into account when deciding who gets the vote, such as leadership, statistics, clutch factor, versatility and making teammates better. Here are the MVP power rankings entering Week 8.
1. Eli Manning (NYG) – Denying Eli Manning on his status as an elite quarterback is no longer a valid argument. Eli is now the most clutch quarterback in the league, and fans now almost expect him to lead huge comebacks on a weekly basis. Eli has progressed slowly, but steadily, as a quarterback over the years and still has his reckless gunslinger moments, but he is now playing on a level that is MVP worthy. The Giants are a pushover without Eli Manning and his league-leading 2,109 passing yards.
2. Peyton Manning (DEN) – Peyton Manning has come back from neck surgery and started right where he left off in 2010. Peyton has played his sharpest in the second half of games, throwing for 11 touchdowns with no turnovers and a 124.0 quarterback rating. Peyton’s Broncos are only 3-3, but they have faced the hard portion of their schedule already, so their record will improve. Eli better watch out for his older brother in the rearview mirror.
3. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – Aaron Rodgers is simply having another excellent season everyone has come to expect from him. His pinpoint accuracy and rocket arm have helped him rack up 19 touchdowns passes this season despite his team’s rough start. Ever since the Green Bay Packers were robbed of a win by the replacement referees in Week 3, he has been on point. His performance in Week 6 against the Houston Texans was probably the best game a quarterback has played this season.
4. J.J. Watt (HOU) – J.J. Watt has been the only player able to dominate games from the defensive side of the ball this season. He has recorded 9.5 sacks this year and has tipped 10 passes at the line, earning him the nickname “J.J. Swat.” Many of those tipped balls have helped other Houston players get interceptions. It would take a special season for a defensive player to win MVP, but barring injury Watt should at least earn Defensive Player of the Year.
5. Matt Ryan (ATL) – Anyone who has seen Ryan play this season knows that he has taken his game to a new level, and it shows in his team’s 6-0 record. Ryan has led his team to some close victories against some bad teams, but Atlanta will face tougher opponents in the second half of the season. If Ryan keeps racking up wins, he will be in the MVP conversation at season’s end.
Honorable Mentions: Percy Harvin, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, AJ Green, Frank Gore