The 2018 NFL regular season is now in its final stretch, which means the MVP race is becoming intense. Entering Week 15, here’s a look at the remaining five candidates in the race for the most illustrious individual award in professional football.

1. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (last week: 3): An unforgettable performance featuring several signature plays in a comeback victory over the Ravens is enough for the second-year phenom to jump ahead of veterans Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, but it’s a damn close race. Mahomes is on pace to throw 53 touchdown passes for a first-place team, which could be enough to make him the youngest MVP in modern NFL history.

2. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 1): The man has still completed an insane 75.7 percent of his passes, which would shatter the record he already owns. He’s the league’s highest-rated passer and his team is a top seed, but Mahomes has made just a few more big-time plays.

3. Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers (last week: 2): The league’s third-highest-rated passer behind Brees and Mahomes has a much higher yards-per-attempt average than Brees and a much better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Mahomes. A big performance Thursday night in Kansas City would give him a shot.

4. Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald (last week: 5): A quiet outing in a loss to the Bears probably takes Donald out of it. That is unless he can muster 6.5 sacks in the final three weeks in order to set a new single-season record.

5. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (last week: 4): Not a pretty performance in that Monday night victory over the Minnesota Vikings, but at least it was a win. Wilson would need three heroic showings to close out the season and would also need help, but his sheer numbers for a team that doesn’t offer THAT much support keep him alive here.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.