With four weeks remaining in the season, the NFL MVP race looks to be a two-man battle between Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes.
Entering Week 14, Mahomes appears to have the edge on Brees, who had one of the worst games of his storied career in the New Orleans Saints' primetime loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night. Mahomes, on the other hand, is coming off a four-touchdown performance versus the lowly Oakland Raiders, extending his NFL-high passing touchdown total to 41 as he immediately stepped up for the Kansas City Chiefs in the absence of the recently-released Kareem Hunt. Mahomes is the third player in NFL history to throw 40+ TDs through 12 games, as Peyton Manning accomplished this feat twice (2004 and 2013) and Tom Brady achieved it in the New England Patriots’ perfect regular season in 2007.
Below are all the MVP candidates worth mentioning.
Watson, the second-year QB who tore his ACL last season after beginning his career in historic fashion, has led the Texans to nine consecutive victories after the team started 0-3. He has logged 21 passing touchdowns, two rushing scores and eight interceptions.
Luck, who missed the entire 2017 season, has transformed the Colts into playoff contenders after consecutive years of being bottom-feeders. Before the Colts were shut out by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Luck had a stretch of eight straight games with three or more passing scores.
Gurley is the most explosive player on the best team in the league. Gurley leads the league in rushing and has already set a Rams single-season franchise record with 15 rushing touchdowns, also a league-high.
Under center for the 11-1 Rams, Goff has 28 total touchdowns (one rushing score) against just seven interceptions with a 109.9 passer rating, the fifth-best mark in the NFL. Even with Gurley in the backfield in what is sometimes a run-first offense, Goff still ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards.
Under the tutelage of Mack, the NFC North-leading Bears feature the best defense in football. Chicago’s outside linebacker—traded by the Oakland Raiders just before the start of the NFL season—has five forced fumbles, nine sacks and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
The best player on the best team in the NFL, Donald is on pace to win Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. He leads the NFL in sacks with 16.5.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Seattle, but Wilson and the young 'Hawks (7-5) have surpassed expectations. The remarkably efficient Wilson has thrown the fourth-most passing touchdowns (29), despite ranking 24th in pass attempts in the Seahawks’ run-centric offense.
Rivers is having arguably the best season of his legendary career, making the Chargers (9-3) one of the most feared teams in the league. A 28-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio with the third-best passer rating (115.7) in the league places Rivers behind only Brees and Mahomes in the MVP race.
Brees has never won NFL MVP—an award that would further cement his loaded career résumé—but that could change with a strong finish to the 2018 season. Brees holds the NFL’s best passer rating (123.2) and best completion percentage (75.5) with 30 passing scores against just three interceptions.
Mahomes has guided to the Chiefs to the top record in the AFC. He is having one of the best seasons ever by a quarterback, currently on pace for 55 passing touchdowns, which would tie Manning's record set in 2013. Mahomes, who has two rushing scores, has accounted for 43 total touchdowns, which is more than 28 teams in the NFL have scored this season. In addition to leading the league in touchdowns, he also ranks second in passing yards and second in passer rating. Mahomes is easily the most dangerous player in football.