The 2018 NFL regular season is now entering the home stretch, which means it’s no longer too early to gauge the MVP race with a straight face. Entering Week 13, here’s a look at the top eight candidates in the race for the most illustrious individual award in professional football.

1. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 1): The league’s highest-rated passer just keeps humming along for the best team in football. Brees is putting together one of the best statistical seasons in league history.

2. Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers (last week: 6): Coming off the best performance of his career, Rivers is now the league’s third-highest-rated passer for a team that is emerging as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

3. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (last week: 2): It was Goff, not Todd Gurley, who led the way for the Rams offense in an historic victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s posted passer ratings above 110 in five consecutive games for the 10-1 Rams, who were off in Week 12.

4. Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald (last week: 3): But that win probably doesn’t happen if not for Donald, who was dominant up front and now has 14.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He could still make a run at the single-season sack record of 22.5.

5. Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (last week: 4): The league’s leading rusher and touchdown leader wasn’t a big factor against the Chiefs, which could hurt his case as well as those of Goff and Donald. Brees has a serious edge right now, and Rivers leapfrogged all three superstar Rams during the bye week.

6. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (last week: 5): A five-turnover performance against the Rams before the bye week put the second-year first-round pick in a tough spot. He’s had a hell of a season but is losing momentum in this race. He now has 12 turnovers in 11 games. Brees has two.

7. Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (last week: 7): Luck and Mahomes are the only quarterbacks in the NFL with more than 30 touchdown passes, and the top-10 passer has his team on a hell of a roll.

8. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (last week: 9): The 29-year-old has a 118.5 passer rating and an 20-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio dating back to Week 3, and the Seahawks are 6-3 in those games.

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.