MVP talk after just seven or eight 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 47 percent complete.
Here are the top 10 candidates who have emerged through eight weeks.
1. Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (last week: 4): The superstar 24-year-old leads the league in rushing yards, yards from scrimmage, and touchdowns. In fact, he has a five-score lead over the next-best touchdown scorer and is on pace to register a record 30 of ’em. He’s the centerpiece of the league’s only 8-0 team, which gives him a small edge in a close race.
2. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (last week: 2): The 23-year-old has now put together six huge performances in an eight-game span, and the 7-1 Chiefs have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. This is a neck-and-neck race, and Mahomes would probably win it if the season ended today (which would be weird).
3. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 1): The league’s highest-rated passer (excluding Ryan Fitzpatrick) has a 14-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the 6-1 Saints.
4. Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers (last week: 3): The AFC’s highest-rated passer is putting together a career year for the 5-2 Bolts. He’s got a 119.7 passer rating during the team’s current four-game winning streak.
5. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (last week: NR): The Seahawks have quietly won four of five, and their quarterback has a 127.2 passer rating during that span. He could emerge as a serious candidate during the second half of the season.
6. Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (last week: NR): A five-touchdown performance in an impressive win over Miami has Watson in the picture. The Texans have won five in a row, and he’s got a triple-digit passer rating during that stretch.
7. Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (last week: 7): He’s on pace to catch an NFL-record 148 passes for a league-high 1,850 yards and 12 touchdowns. Gotta include him.
8. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (last week: 5): Gurley’s getting all the attention, but Goff has a 117.7 rating in his last two games for a team that is unbeaten.
9. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (last week: 6): His numbers aren’t as pretty as usual, but he’s playing on one freakin’ leg and carrying that mediocre team. Week 6 marked his second ridiculous fourth-quarter comeback of the season, and we can’t exclude him based on a bye and a lost opportunity Sunday in L.A.
10. Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald (last week: NR): The Rams offense is getting all of the headlines, but Donald is on pace to record 20 sacks. He’s the lead candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award.