Last week, five quarterbacks — each playing for first-place teams — could make a case for NFL MVP, even if the Eagles’ Carson Wentz was the front-runner. But after Week 11, the field has tightened up as a few candidates didn’t play well and cost their teams. Could this now be a two-man race?
With six weeks remaining in the 2017 NFL season, here’s how we view the MVP race.
1. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (last week: 1st): It’s starting to look like Tom Brady could leapfrog Wentz in the coming weeks, but I don’t think it’s fair to remove him from this spot after a turnover-free performance in a blowout primetime victory over a desperate division rival on the road.
2. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (last week: 3rd): But they’re neck-and-neck, considering that Brady leads the league in practically every statistical category for the top Super Bowl contender in the opposite conference.
3. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 5th): Here’s your ultimate dark horse. Brees hasn’t always had to be at his best for the 8-2 Saints, but he carried them when it mattered most at the end of that thrilling Week 11 victory over Washington. The NFL’s third-highest-rated passer leads the league with a completion percentage of 71.6.
4. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (last week: 6th): Yes, the Seahawks lost to Atlanta on Monday night, but did you see that magic over and over again from Wilson? The league’s best improviser is single-handedly keeping the Seahawks alive. They nearly beat a superior Falcons team in Week 11, but without Wilson they would have been blown out.
5. Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (last week: 7th): The numbers don’t do justice to Stafford’s season. He’s led a league-high three game-winning drives and he has a 124.7 passer rating during Detroit’s current three-game winning streak.
6. Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith (last week: 2nd): He’s plummeting. The Chiefs have stopped hitting on big plays and have thus lost four of five after a 5-0 start. Smith’s a big part of that, of course. His numbers have been pedestrian since the middle of October.
7. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff (last week: 4th): He’s had his moments, but the second-year No. 1 overall pick just hasn’t been consistent enough. After two huge weeks moved him into the top five, a dud on the road against a tough Vikings defense dropped him back.
8. Minnesota Vikings QB Case Keenum (last week: unranked): Keenum is a longshot, but the 8-2 Vikes would have several fewer wins without him at the helm. Dude’s been sacked just once since Week 4.