2013 NFL Power Rankings: Top 5 MVP Candidates after Week 14: The 2013 NFL regular season is entering its home stretch, and with just three weeks remaining, the playoff picture is starting to take shape and few teams have already wrapped up spots in the postseason. In addition to the title contenders becoming a bit more clear, the top contenders for the MVP Award are also starting to separate themselves from the pack. Along the way, injuries to the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson have trimmed to list of candidates, and at this point, it is hard to imagine the eventual winner not being on the list of five players I have included below. With that in mind, here is a closer look at how I expect the MVP voting to end up if the season ended today.
1. Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Denver Broncos
The Broncos have the best record in the AFC, the highest-scoring offense in the NFL and the best passing attack in the NFL, and Manning’s play is the main reason why. His 114.5 QB rating is the second best in the league, and his 4,522 yards and 45 touchdowns are both the best in the NFL, and his 45 scores are 12 more than the next closest player and leave him within six of setting a new single-season record with three games to play. Manning’s numbers are overwhelming, and Denver is one of the best teams in the NFL. Unless he struggles down the stretch and the Broncos drop a few games, Manning is likely going to win another MVP Award.
2. Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots
Although he is only sixth in passing yards and tied for ninth in touchdowns, Brady’s impact reaches far beyond his statistics. New England has suffered a myriad of injuries on both sides of the ball, but the Patriots are still 10-3 and in control of the AFC East. Not to mention the fact that he has outdueled Peyton Manning and Drew Brees despite his injury-riddled offensive arsenal. New England has been a patchwork unit all year, but with Brady under center, they have remained one of the best teams in the NFL.
3. Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks
After an excellent rookie year, Wilson has been even better in his follow-up campaign. His 106.5 QB rating rankings fifth in the league, and he has thrown 23 touchdowns and 2,871 yards and run for almost 500 yards. More importantly, the Seahawks have the best record in the NFC at 11-2 to go along with the top-scoring offense in the conference. Wilson has been hurting opposing defenses with both his arm and his legs, and his steady play has the Seahawks cruising to the top seed in the NFC.
4. Nick Foles, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
He didn’t open the year as the starter, but in eight games as Foles as the starter, the Eagles have gone 7-1 and climbed back into playoff contention. In the process, he has thrown 20 touchdowns and just one interception, amassing a league-leading 120.0 QB rating. Foles has flourished in Chip Kelly’s offensive system, and his quick, decisive decision making has saved the Eagles’ season.
5. Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
In terms of statistics, Johnson leads all receivers with 12 touchdowns this season and ranks second with more than 1,300 receiving yards. While the gaudy numbers are nice, Johnson’s true value shown when he hasn’t been able to contribute. Detroit managed just nine points in a loss to Green Bay when Johnson was sidelined, and the Lions’ offense again struggled to score last weekend when a blizzard in Philadelphia rendered passing next to impossible. Detroit is clinging to the top spot in the NFC North, and Johnson is by far the most important offensive weapon for a team that has to score a lot of points to win games.
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