MVP rankings: Who's leading race for top honor in Week 14?


Now that we've hit the stretch run for the 2016 NFL season, Gregg Rosenthal will handicap the MVP race each Friday until the end of the regular season.



Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Holding the Patriots' 3-1 record without Brady against him is preposterous. The team has averaged nine more points per game since Brady returned. He's playing at a higher level than any quarterback, showing improved feet at age 39. He will have to earn every last MVP vote over the next two weeks without Gronk against the best two defenses in football: Baltimore and Denver.



Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

It's not all about the Cowboys' offensive line. Defenders routinely take terrible angles when trying to tackle Elliott because they can't believe how fast he gets to the edge. Making Elliott the first rookie MVP since Jim Brown would be a reward for the entire Cowboys running attack, which is just fine. Quarterbacks don't win MVPs without the help of their teammates, too.



Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

A few late-game mistakes will make it tough for Ryan to convince voters, but he makes monstrous numbers look so easy. No quarterback throws for more yards per attempt or yards per completion. If the Falcons had a passable defense, the team could be 10-2 and this ranking wouldn't sound odd at all.



Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

If you want to know where the Colts would be without Luck, just re-watch the team's loss with Scott Tolzien at quarterback (or don't if you have a family and just trust us). Luck is putting it all together this year, mixing his "wow" throws with smarter decisions and far fewer mistakes. Overcoming his brutal offensive line, not to mention the Colts' defense, is the stuff of MVPs.



David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

This is where the whole MVP discussion gets complicated. There's a strong argument that Johnson does his job better than any other offensive player in the league. No one else can slalom down the field and play in the slot better than some wide receivers. He's gained 102 more yards from scrimmage than Elliott. The Cardinals' lackluster season will crush him, but it's not his fault the team's passing game collapsed.



Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Stafford is having a career year because of his feet and because of his head. He has more responsibility in the Lions' offense than ever and he shows off an uncanny mastery in late-game situations. His ability to evade pass rushers has made his season even more special.



Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

It's harder to make a case for Carr as the MVP when Alex Smith has outplayed him twice this season. Carr has created some incredible moments this season, but he has also benefited from fantastic protection, play-calling and playmaking around him more than the other quarterbacks on this list.



Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

It's been a hard-luck year for the Saints, but anyone watching Brees every week knows he's distributing the ball like Chris Paul in an all-star game. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning had great years at age 37, so Brees' late-career dominance is just continuing a trend for future Hall of Famers.



Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

This was an underrated season for Wilson even before he started running the ball well again. He's helped to overcome a poor offensive line and an erratic running game with his best play from the pocket of his career. This is a pass-first Seahawks offense now, something we thought we might never see.



Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos

It's uncanny how often Miller punctuates or clinches a victory with a huge fourth-quarter play. His consistent pressure and underrated play in the running game in the three quarters before that is worth mention.



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