1.) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
Stats: 22 TDs, 12 INTs, 3225 Yds, 88.8 Rating
Team Record: 9-4, 2nd place AFC South
Last week: 3 TDs in a win over CIN
Remaining Games: DET, @Jax, TEN
Manning had a great day on Sunday against the hapless Bengals. He has had 2+ touchdowns and no picks in four of his last six outings, all victories. Look for more of the same this Sunday against Detroit.
2.) Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals
Stats: 25 TDs, 12 INTs, 4020 Yds, 99.1 Rating
Team Record: 8-5, NFC West Champions
Last week: 1 TD, 1 INT in a win over STL
Remaining Games: MIN, @Pats, SEA
Warner had his fourth below average game in a row, despite clinching the NFC West. In the past four weeks he has thrown 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. I still think he'll get his share of votes because he has good stats and a good storyline.
3.) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Stats: 1413 Yds, 9 TDs, 19 Rec, 109 Yds
Team Record: 8-5, 1st place NFC North
Last Week: 23 carries, 102 Yds, 0 TDs in a win at Det
Remaining Games: @Ari, ATL, NYG
Peterson is the first running back to make my list. Yes, I have a quarterback bias, sue me. AP would be my choice for offensive player of the year. He has a tough finishing schedule and the Vikings will need to secure the division title to cement his case for MVP.
4.) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Stats: 26 TDs, 14 INTs, 4100 Yds, 96.2 Rating
Team Record: 7-6, 4th place NFC South
Last week: 2 TDs in a win over ATL
Remaining Games: @Chi, @Det, CAR
Drew Brees is on very thin ice. His stats are great, but his team trails 6 different teams in the wild card race. They have to win out and get help. Luckily they still play two of the teams in front of them. I don't think much of his chances, but you never know. Brees finished second with 4 votes for the 2006 MVP, losing to LT in a rout.
5.) Eli Manning, New York Giants
Stats: 20 TDs, 8 INTs, 2624 Yds, 91.3 Rating
Team Record: 11-1, 1st place NFC East
Last week: 1 TD in a loss to PHI
Remaining Games: @Dal, CAR, @Min
Eli's chances obviously took a big hit when his stud receiver shot himself in the leg. I still have him ranked because the unexpected injury could afford Eli the opportunity to play hero. He didn't fare very well in his first attempt throwing for only 123 yards in a loss to the Eagles.
Others in the conversation: Matt Ryan (needs stats and wins), Tony Romo (needs wins), Brett Favre (needs stats and wins), Clinton Portis (needs stats and wins)
Projected Voting: Peyton Manning - 14 votes. Kurt Warner - 14 votes. Drew Brees - 9 votes. Adrian Peterson - 9 votes. Eli Manning - 3 votes. Brett Favre - 1 vote.
Another tie? It is very possible. I took a look back at some of the closer races of this decade (2002, 2003, 2005) and one thing stands out. The winning margins are extremely small. Think Florida in 2000. There are only 50 voters so several players have won with fewer than 20 votes. A close comparison can be made to 2002 when Rich Gannon (19 votes) won over Brett Favre (15 votes) and Steve McNair (11 votes).
Links: Bucky Brooks pulls his head out and includes Peyton in his latest MVP ranking. Bob Glauber of Newsday, an actual MVP voter, chimes in with this junk-punch to the Manning-for-MVP campaign. Dan Parr of PFW has Manning at five moving him up four spots in two weeks.
Derek Schultz of XL 950 offers this: "With Portis falling off and the Redskins
falling out of the playoff race, I think it's become a two-horse race between Peyton and Kurt Warner. Their numbers are very similar and both the Colts and Cards would be nowhere without them. People may want to write-off Warner, but with as bad as Arizona has
been for years, it's pretty amazing what he's done this year.
In my opinion, the only other guys that can still put themselves in the conversation are Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees. Brees would need to make a miracle run at the Wild Card at this point, so APete would have a better chance to do it. I think poor performances by Romo, Eli, and Favre (over the past two weeks), plus the fact that Matt Ryan is the no-brainer ROY have narrowed the list. I know that guys like James Harrison, Albert Haynesworth, Justin Tuck, and even Ed Reed have been awesome, but can you really distinguish those guys individually? I think the Steelers, Titans, Giants, and Ravens would still be top 10-15 defenses without those guys. Where would the Colts offense (which has been so-so statistically) be without Peyton? I think Manning can really distance himself with good outings against the Lions and lifeless Jaguars. " Well said, Derek. Be sure to check out "Tuesdays with Jeff Saturday" from 12 - 1 on XL 950. Good show.