Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun (featured image), ESPN (team logos)
5. Matt Ryan, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons (7-5)
- Statistics: 284/414 (68.6% completion percentage), 3,813 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 30 rush attempts, 107 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 (32.2 points per game), Matt Ryan is among the current favorites for the NFL MVP award this season, and he may very well stay on this list if he keeps it up.
4. Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions (8-4)
- Statistics: 291/433 (67.2% completion percentage), 3,224 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 30 rush attempts, 178 rushing yards
- Analysis: Matthew Stafford has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL through the first 12 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 and is leading the NFC North Division despite losing future Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson to retirement. What Stafford has been able to do for the Lions has been amazing, and it shows that he belongs in the running to win this season’s NFL MVP award, especially given the fact that all but one of the Lions’ eight victories so far this season have come in the fourth quarter or overtime after Stafford led the team on a scoring drive, solidifying him as a clutch performer with extraordinary value.
3. Derek Carr, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders (10-2)
- Statistics: 300/458 (65.5% completion percentage), 3,375 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 30 rush attempts, 53 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. Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys (11-1)
- Statistics: 243/358 (67.9% completion percentage), 2,974 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 47 rush attempts, 217 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns
- Analysis: Dak Prescott has emerged as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL, and his statistics are getting better and better each week as he develops into an even better overall quarterback. Through 12 games in his rookie season, Prescott’s total touchdown to interception ratio is 12 to 1, which leads the NFL among players who have played in as many games. He is becoming much more productive and directly responsible for the Cowboys’ scoring than he was up until a few weeks ago, and having such great statistics to back up his great play and leading the team with the best record in the NFL makes him a solid MVP award candidate at this point in the season.
1. Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots (10-2)
- Statistics: 208/302 (68.9% completion percentage), 2,470 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 25 rush attempts, 60 rushing yards
- Analysis: In his eight games back from suspension, Tom Brady has been dominant in pretty much every game and has shown that he is really back, and he is not rusty. Sure, he has only played in seven games so far while many players have played in 12, 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 at the top of this list is because he has shown that value already since returning from his suspension