Photo Credit: USA Today (featured image), ESPN (team logos)
5. Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints (4-4)
- Statistics: 242/347 (69.7% completion percentage), 2,689 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 11 rush attempts, 9 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, which they have actually been doing as of late, winning four of their last five contests. Brees is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever take a snap in the NFL, and his numbers this year further help that argument. However, 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 and becoming a true contender as a result of his outstanding production.
4. Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions (5-4)
- Statistics: 214/318 (67.3% completion percentage), 2,373 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 21 rush attempts, 126 rushing yards
- Analysis: Matthew Stafford has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks through the first nine 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, especially given the fact that each of the Lions’ five victories so far this season have come on game-winning drives led by Stafford in the fourth quarter or overtime, solidifying him as a clutch performer with extraordinary value.
3. Derek Carr, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders (7-2)
- Statistics: 234/354 (66.1% completion percentage), 2,505 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 22 rush attempts, 64 rushing yards
- Analysis: In just his three NFL seasons, Derek Carr has taken this Oakland Raiders team from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. His quarterbacking over the first three seasons of his young career has made this Raiders team a contender to win their division and get to the postseason. This season, his quarterbacking has been some of the best the NFL has seen. Carr is emerging as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, and he appears to have an extremely bright future, especially since he has been able to form one of the NFL’s most lethal quarterback to wide receiver connections with second year star Amari Cooper. If Carr can keep this up and even improve, which he should be able to do given that he is only 25 years old, he will be a contender to become one of the youngest NFL MVP award winners in NFL history once this season is over.
2. Matt Ryan, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons (6-3)
- Statistics: 218/313 (69.6% completion percentage), 2,980 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 23 rush attempts, 69 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 (33.9 points per game), 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 (7-1)
- Statistics: 98/134 (73.1% completion percentage), 1,319 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, 10 rush attempts, 44 rushing yards
- Analysis: Assuming he has not yet cheated this season, Tom Brady has been dominant in his first four games back from his suspension to show that he is really back, and he is not rusty. Sure, he has only played in four games so far while many players have played in eight or nine, 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.