My list of the top five NFL MVP candidates hasn’t changed much this week, but there was one player who moved up in the rankings. Who is it? Who did he overtake? The race for the NFL MVP award remains a tight one. I don’t feel like there’s one guy who’s miles ahead of another. So let’s see who I’ve got on the top five list after Week 7.
1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
No surprise from me at the top of the NFL MVP candidate rankings. Patrick Mahomes continues to lead the best team in the AFC, having the Chiefs now at 6-1. Mahomes continues to light up pretty much every statistical category. He leads the NFL in TD passes (22), is second in passing yards (2,223) and is fifth in QB rating.
Probably the only knock you could have against Mahomes right now, is the fact that he’s thrown at least one INT in three straight games. Still, he’s throwing TD passes all over the place. Even though he’s my number one guy right now, his fellow NFL MVP candidates are close to taking the top spot. Mahomes is number one right now, but he’s not running away with it.
2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees continues to make NFL history this season. Last week against the Ravens, Brees became only the fourth QB ever to throw 500 TD passes. Brees joined Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre as the only QBs to do so. I just wanted to point that out because it’s an incredible achievement, but it won’t have an impact on his status as an NFL MVP candidate this season.
What does have an impact on his status as an NFL MVP candidate this season, is his stats, and more importantly, winning. Brees leads the team with the third best record in the NFL, one of only two teams with one loss. You can easily make the case that the Saints are 5-1 because of Drew Brees.
Brees isn’t putting up huge passing yards or TDs, as he ranks 13th in passing yards and 9th in TD passes. Remember he had a bye week though, so his numbers will go up when other QBs have their bye. Although Brees doesn’t have the big yards and TD numbers right now, he still leads the NFL in completion percentage (77.3%) and QB rating (121.6).
Let me point out that 77.3% completions is absolutely insane! That completion percentage is 5.6% better than the next guy. Brees is a top NFL MVP candidate all the way.
3. QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady makes another climb on my NFL MVP candidate list this week, moving from fourth to third. Guess where Brady has his team in playoff position right now? You guessed it, they’d have a first-round bye if the playoffs started right now. His team is still behind the Chiefs, but there’s still a lot of season left to be played. Don’t expect Brady and the Patriots to be moving out of one of those first-round bye spots.
Like Brees, Brady doesn’t have the big numbers like many other QBs do right now. His highest ranking among completion percentage, QB rating, passing yards and TD passes is fourth (16 TD passes). As long as the Patriots are winning and are one of the best teams in the NFL, it doesn’t really matter what Brady’s numbers look like.
4. RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
I moved Gurley down this week because of the way these QBs are playing. It’s more likely a QB will win the NFL MVP award, while Gurley will win OPOY, but Gurley can’t be ignored in the MVP conversation. He remains the leader in rushing yards this season with 686. He’s also crushing everyone in TD runs with 11, which is four more than the next guy.
Here’s what I found most impressive about Gurley this week. Through seven games this season, Gurley has 686 rushing yards and 11 TD runs with an average of 4.8 yards per carry. He also has 25 receptions for 270 yards and 3 receiving TDs. If you double those numbers, Gurley would be at 1,372 rushing yards and 22 TDs. His receiving numbers would be 50 receptions for 540 yards and 6 TDs.
Here’s what Gurley did last year when he was second in MVP voting: 1,305 rushing yards and 13 TDs with 64 receptions for 788 yards and 6 TDs. The numbers bolded above would be Gurley’s numbers through 14 games this year if he keeps pace, meaning he would surpass his rushing yards and crush his TDs, while coming very close to his receiving numbers with two games left to play! His numbers are better than what he had in the year he was second in MVP voting!
5. QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers continues to be as solid as can be, which continues to keep him as one of my top NFL MVP candidates. This past week against the Titans, Rivers completed 73.1% of his passes for 306 yards and 2 TDs. His QB rating was 137.7.
Rivers’ QB rating remains second, behind only fellow NFL MVP candidate, Drew Brees. His 17 TD passes is third in the NFL, behind Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck. Andrew Luck is no threat to win MVP this year, so his real competition in the TD department is Mahomes.
I almost forgot to mention probably the most important thing. Rivers has his team at 5-2. The Chargers are right there with the Chiefs and Patriots for one of the top spots in the AFC playoff picture.
Is your NFL MVP not on my list? Comment below who you think should be on the list, who they should replace and where they should be ranked!