Is it still too early to gauge the NFL MVP race? Pre-Halloween is probably pushing it, but we’ve been on this since Week 1 so it’s starting to feel like the freakin’ home stretch as mid-season approaches.
Here are the top eight candidates that have emerged as we approach the seventh Sunday of the 2017 season.
1. Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith (last week: 1st): The NFL’s highest-rated passer has got a better record, a higher completion percentage and a stronger touchdown-to-interception ratio than Tom Brady. He suddenly knows how to throw bombs, and yet he somehow has yet to throw a single interception.
2. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (last week: 2nd): He’d be the clear-cut leader if Smith weren’t putting together a masterpiece out of nowhere. Despite a bad defense and limited support on offense, Brady has carried the Pats to a 4-2 start.
3. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (last week: 4th): The Vegas favorite to win this thing (for some reason), Wentz has become legit in his second season. He’s money on third down and he’s got a 13-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the first-place Eagles.
#DrewBrees with touchdown pass #475 joins #PeytonManning, #BrettFavre as the only 3 QBs in #NFL history with 475+ in their careers. pic.twitter.com/YXenXJ69iC
— Ryan Michael ? (@theryanmichael) October 15, 2017
4. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (last week: 6th): The 38-year-old has rallied the 3-2 Saints back from an 0-2 start with all of those wins coming against quality opponents. They put up 52 on the Detroit Lions Sunday.
5. Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (last week: 7th): The rookie sensation has absolutely lit up opposing defenses in four straight games. He’s thrown a league-high 15 touchdown passes and he leads all quarterbacks with 202 rushing yards.
6. Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (last week: 5th): His Panthers are 4-2 but coming off a dud at home. He and the team just haven’t been consistent enough, and it’s a problem that 21 qualified quarterbacks have higher passer ratings.
ANTONIO BROWN!!!! pic.twitter.com/fBW8ZaWHBU
— In The Stands (@inthestandspc) October 15, 2017
7. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown (last week: unranked): This is a longshot, but it’s worth noting that Brown is on pace to catch 128 passes for 1,867 yards this season. That would be the fifth-highest reception total and the third-highest receiving yardage total in NFL history.
8. Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence (last week: unranked): He’s still on pace to break the single-season sack record with 27. So long as that’s the case he’ll be an MVP candidate.