The 2019 NFL regular season is now half-complete, and the MVP race is wide-open. November is here, but at least half a dozen players continue to be in contention for the league’s ultimate individual award.
Here’s how we rank the current candidates.
1. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: The NFL’s highest-rated passer has thrown 17 touchdown passes to one interception, and he’s the sole reason why a team with a so-so defense, a bad offensive line and mediocre offensive weapons is 6-2 and in Super Bowl contention. This might finally be the year in which the league’s best improviser wins MVP.
2. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: Despite a slow start in a new offense and an injury to Davante Adams, Rodgers has a 16-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the 7-1 Packers. And with a 152.0 passer rating the last two weeks, he’s got an advantage over everybody else on this list when it comes to momentum.
3. Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins: Only Cousins and Wilson have five games with passer ratings of 110 or higher this season. The 31-year-old also has the league’s highest yards-per-attempt average (9.3) and is coming off an unbelievable October. Problem is he started poorly and has plenty of support in Minnesota, which could hurt his case.
4. Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson: The third-year play-maker officially became a top-tier MVP candidate the moment he threw a touchdown pass despite being kicked in the face in a Week 8 victory over the Oakland Raiders. He needs to become more consistent, but Watson has put up some monster performances despite poor pass protection all season. If Houston can remain in contention, he’ll likely have a shot.
5. Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford: The 11th-year Lions signal-caller isn’t often mentioned as an MVP candidate, but Stafford ranks behind only Wilson with 16 touchdowns, he ranks in the top five in terms of both yards per attempt and yards per completion, he ranks second in the league in air yards per attempt, and he leads the NFC with 29 deep completions. If the Lions can get into the playoff picture and Stafford keeps rolling like this, he’ll deserve consideration. The problem is they’re just 3-3-1 right now.
6. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: A lot of us are overlooking the 2018 MVP because he hasn’t been as effective and has been less healthy than he was last year. But Mahomes is 5-1 as a starter, and he still ranks in the top three among qualifiers in terms of touchdown-to-interception ratio, yards per attempt and passer rating.
7. Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: Where would Baltimore be without Jackson? Only nine running backs have more rushing yards than him, and he’s improved immensely as a big-time passer while leading a 5-2 team that isn’t particularly talented.
8. Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey: The league leader in yards from scrimmage on a per-game basis has scored 10 touchdowns in seven outings, and he’s a huge reason the 4-3 Panthers remain in contention despite the loss of quarterback Cam Newton.
9. New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas: The Saints are 7-1 despite not having Drew Brees for five games and Alvin Kamara for two, which is remarkable. The main reason for that is Thomas, who is on pace to set a new single-season record with 146 receptions.
10. Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett: Few expected the Colts to be 5-2 after losing Andrew Luck to a sudden preseason retirement, but Brissett has been exceptionally steady in Luck’s place. The league’s ninth-highest-rated passer has 14 touchdown passes to just three picks.