MVP talk after just four games? It’s never too early to start gauging the NFL MVP race, so we’re doing exactly that despite the fact the 2018 regular season is only 25 percent complete.
Some of the names listed here might look silly in the weeks to come. But here are the top 10 candidates that have emerged after Week 4.
1. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (last week: 1): You had us at that left-handed pass. The fourth-quarter comeback and the 304 passing yards in an another turnover-free game? That’s just gravy.
2. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (last week: 5): He’s rising quickly. The third-year No. 1 overall pick now leads the NFL with a 127.3 passer rating and a 10.5 yards-per-attempt average. Like Mahomes, his team is 4-0.
Two quarterbacks have passer ratings above 120. Two teams have 4-0 records. It's no coincidence that those two quarterbacks play for those two teams.
— Brad Gagnon (@Brad_Gagnon) October 2, 2018
3. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 2): The league’s third-highest-rated passer has completed an NFL-best 75.8 percent of his passes and is yet to turn the ball over for a Saints team that has won three straight.
4. Chicago Bears OLB Khalil Mack (last week: 6): Five sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown. And his Bears are in first place in the tough NFC North. Mack is sending a message to Jon Gruden and anyone else who doubted him. Could he become the first defensive player to win MVP since Lawrence Taylor did it in 1986?
5. Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (last week: 7): Rather quietly, the 2015 MVP has completed an uncharacteristic 67.4 percent of his passes. He’s thrown just one interception and has a passer rating just short of 100 for a team that is tied for first place in the loss column coming off a bye.
6. Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (last week: 4): That loss to the Patriots was ugly, but it wasn’t really on Tannehill. The 30-year-old former top-10 pick still has a 106.1 passer rating for a 3-1 team.
7. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (last week: NR): Where would the Cowboys be without this year’s rushing yardage leader (by a wide margin)? Elliott is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and 106.5 yards per game.
8. Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith (last week: 8): He outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a victory over the Packers, and he’s once again got a triple-digit passer rating for a team that is tied for first place. Smith is just so steady.
9. New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara (last week: NR): No way Kamara wins this with Brees throwing to him, but he has to make the list because he’s leading the NFL with 611 scrimmage yards. What a weapon.
10. Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence (last week: NR): Dude gets a shoutout for being on pace for 22 sacks, but he hasn’t done much else.