OK, the NFL season is 53 percent complete and it’s officially no longer too early to gauge the MVP race. The home stretch, which starts every year on Thanksgiving, is just two weeks away. But about half a dozen players have already separated themselves from the pack in the MVP race.
Here’s how we break it down entering Week 10.
1. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (last week: 1st): Not only has he often carried the team with the best record in the NFL, but Wentz shines when it matters most. He’s the league’s top-rated passer on third down and in the red zone.
2. Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith (last week: 2nd): While Smith was solid in Week 9, the Chiefs lost for the third time in four games and their veteran quarterback finally threw his first interception of the season. The gap widened between him and Wentz, and it shortened between him and…
3. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (last week: 3rd): He was a lot more dominant in the first four weeks than he has been in the last four, but Brady still ranks second in football with a 106.5 passer rating and a 16-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. And his first-place team has won four in a row.
4. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 6th): The league’s third-highest-rated passer is a huge reason why the Saints are just the third team in NFL history to win six in a row after an 0-2 start. Still, he has to start hitting on more big plays.
5. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (last week: honorable mention): The second-year No. 1 overall pick had come back to earth a little after a hot start, but then he earned NFC offensive player of the week honors with the performance of his career in a blowout road victory over a New York Giants team that still has a talented defense. His numbers are close, and the Rams are 6-2.
6. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (last week: 5th): The roller-coaster ride continues for Wilson, who struggled in a home loss to a badly banged-up Washington Redskins team despite finally having help at left tackle. He was red-hot before that, but the performance cost him some luster.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell (last week: honorable mention): A defensive player won’t likely win this thing (it’s been 30 years since one has), but Campbell is on pace for 22 sacks. If he breaks Michael Strahan’s record (22.5), he could have a shot.
8. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (last week: 8th): The token running back spot will go to Le’Veon Bell if Elliott is forced to miss six games due to suspension. But for now it belongs to the guy who has carried the Cowboys on their three-game winning streak. Dating to Week 3 he’s been the most productive offensive player in football by a wide margin.
Players who could still potentially join or rejoin the conversation in the next 10 weeks: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt, Rams RB Todd Gurley, Redskins QB Kirk Cousins, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr, Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, Bell and WR Antonio Brown.