Photo Credit: Heavy (featured image), ESPN (team logos)
5. Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions (4-3)
- Statistics: 164/241 (68.1% completion percentage), 1,914 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 21 rush attempts, 126 rushing yards
- Analysis: Matthew Stafford has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks through the first seven weeks of this season. He is making accurate throws and has not been turning the ball over nearly as much as he has done in the past. He is also leading a Lions team that has a winning record despite losing future Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson to retirement. What Stafford has been able to do in this new-look Lions offense statistically is amazing, and it shows that he belongs in the running to win this season’s NFL MVP award.
4. Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints (2-4)
- Statistics: 187/273 (68.5% completion percentage), 2,101 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 8 rush attempts, 10 rushing yards
- Analysis: Brees would be a lot higher on this list, possibly even #1, if his value to his team actually helped them win more games. He is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever take a snap in the NFL, and his numbers this year further help that argument. However, he cannot be much higher right now until his team starts winning more games and his value to the Saints really starts to show. The Saints’ extremely poor defense allows opposing offenses to score quicker, giving Brees more time with the ball, which in turn inflates his passing statistics. Still, his efficiency and effectiveness when the ball is in his hands are, without a doubt, among the best the NFL has ever seen. Brees may very well walk away with this season’s NFL MVP award if the Saints’ defense steps up and his team can prove his true value by winning more games as a result of his outstanding production.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
- Statistics: 137 rush attempts, 703 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, 11 receptions, 98 receiving yards
- Analysis: This would have seemed crazy to start off the season. Now, it doesn’t. Ezekiel Elliott is the best running back in the NFL already. Not only that, but the Cowboys are actually winning games without their usual starting quarterback Tony Romo, and quarterback Dak Prescott has only accounted for ten total touchdowns through six games. Ezekiel Elliott is carrying the load for this team, and he is doing so effectively, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He has also emerged as a pretty decent pass-catching running back as well. Right now, he is certainly one of the five most valuable players in the NFL, and down the stretch he will be a key player to watch for to have a chance at winning this season’s NFL MVP award.
2. Matt Ryan, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
- Statistics: 165/244 (67.6% completion percentage), 2,348 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 19 rush attempts, 60 rushing yards
- Analysis: Matt Ryan is playing some of the best football of his life right now. He is on pace to become just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,500 or more yards in five or more consecutive seasons. He looks like he is back to his 2012 form when he had a career high season, converted on many of the Falcons’ clutch opportunities, and led the team to the NFC championship game with an NFC-best 13-3 record. Leading his team atop the NFC South and leading the highest scoring offense in the NFL (32.7 points per game), it’s time to recognize the fact that Matt Ryan is among the current favorites for the NFL MVP award this season, and he may very well stay towards the top of this list.
1. Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots (6-1)
- Statistics: 76/101 (75.2% completion percentage), 1,004 passing yards, 8 passing touchdowns, 9 rush attempts, 29 rushing yards
- Analysis: Assuming he has not yet cheated this season, Tom Brady has been dominant in his first three games back from his suspension to show that he is really back, and he is not rusty. Sure, he has only played in three games so far while many players have played in six or seven, but if he puts up solid numbers all season long like he has done so far and gets this Patriots team yet another first round bye in the postseason, there is no doubt that he will be one of the league’s top players with a legitimate shot at winning the NFL MVP award yet again. The reason he is atop this list is because he has shown that value already since returning from his suspension.