As the surprise and excitement of the first couple of weeks are starting to wear off, it’s becoming a little clearer who the really good teams are and who could have a serious impact in the MVP race.
Of course, right now there’s one clear guy at the top and a huge gap until the next guy. Will Peyton Manning ever calm down a bit and let some other people catch up? Who knows, but he’s on a legendary pace at this point in the season. Here’s me gushing over Peyton Manning and the rest of the Week 4 NFL MVP Power Rankings.
1. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos. Last Week-1
Peyton Manning is out for vengeance after last years playoff loss much like Tom Brady was in 2007. You’re going to see a lot of those comparisons if Manning stays anywhere close to the pace he’s on, but it’s not enough for this Broncos team to just beat you; they are going to beat you by a lot. They haven’t scored less than 35 in any game this year and have only scored less than 40 once in 4 weeks.
Over those 4 weeks, Manning is completing an absurd 75% of those passes for 1,470 yards, 16 TD’s and 0 INTs, which are all league highs. It’s only Week 4 so talks of this team or Manning having an All Time season are a bit premature, but so far they are having a historic first 4 weeks. Manning could very well be on his way to an NFL record 5th MVP title, which is a record he already holds.
2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints. Last Week-2
Most people assumed that the Saints would be better with Sean Payton back on the sidelines this year, but did they think the Saints would be 4-0? After the way that defense played last year, it’s doubtful. The defense is much improved as is their leader, Drew Brees, who is only second in the league to Manning in yards and has also thrown 10 TD’s. He tossed 4 in their win over the 3-0 Dolphins on Monday night and when Brees gets in a groove, like it seems like he is right now, he’s one of the most dangerous QB’s in the league. It only helps that he’s led the team to a 4-0 record so far as they’ve taken a commanding division lead.
3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers. Last Week-3
Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in Week 3, but nobody behind him played well enough to jump ahead just yet. The Packers are sitting at 1-2 and are going to need some great play from Rodgers in the next two weeks against the Lions and Ravens in order to turn things around.
4. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles. Last Week-4
LeSean McCoy didn’t have a great week 4, but then again he didn’t really have much of a chance to run the ball with the Eagles down big against the Broncos. Even though he only rushed for 73 yards against Denver, McCoy still holds the league lead with 468 yards. While he sat still at #4 on the list this week, the Eagles will have to improve if McCoy is going to be a serious MVP contender. They have a chance to get a big win this week against the 0-4 Giants, who are giving up 122.5 rushing yards per game.
5. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions. Last Week-8
If you look at my preseason rankings-or anybody’s for that matter-I doubt you would see some of the names on this list like Matthew Stafford or the next guy, Phillip Rivers. Stafford is playing well for a 3-1 Lions team though, including a great game against a previously solid Chicago Bears defense. Reggie Bush has been a great addition for the Lions offense, but Stafford has been the driving point so far. He’ll have to prove himself against another division rival in Week 5, as the Lions travel to Green Bay.
6. Phillip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers. Last Week-6
The Chargers are 2-2 (and could have been even better) thanks to the play of Phillip Rivers, whose 73.9 completion percentage is only second to Manning’s 75%. For a couple of years, while his 2004 draft counterparts Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning were winning Super Bowls, Rivers was seen as the disappointment of that class as he declined. So far this year though, he’s played the best out of those three while they are both leading 0-4 teams. Rivers resurgence has been incredible to watch and even though he’s playing in the same division as the Broncos, it’ll be interesting to see if he can lead them back to the playoffs.
7. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons. Last Week-5
Matt Ryan is playing well, and his WR Julio Jones leads the league in receiving yards. So why is it that Ryan has dropped down to #7 on this list? It has to do with the fact that they have been incredibly disappointing to this point with a 1-3 record for a team that many thought would be a Super Bowl contender. The Falcons have been within a touchdown in every game they’ve played so far this year, but in the end “Matty Ice” hasn’t been able to get them the win in the end. Ryan got his new contract and is playing well, but the Falcons haven’t seen success on the field from it.
8. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings. Last Week-9
With motivation from his own daughter, Adrian Peterson took control of the offense in London and was able to get them their first victory of the year over another winless team in the Steelers. With Matt Cassel at QB and playing against a bad Steelers team, Peterson was finally able to have a breakout game after getting off to a slow start. It’s always going to depend on what kind of support he gets from the rest of his offense, but maybe this is the game to finally get Peterson going again.
9. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints. Last Week-Unranked
A TE in the MVP race? It may seem ridiculous, but Jimmy Graham is dominating opponents in a way we haven’t seen since him and Rob Gronkowski took the league by storm just a couple years ago. Now it would be hard for him to ever actually win the award because he is a TE and his QB is playing great too, but Graham is second in the NFL in receiving yards with 458 yards and leads the league with his 6 receiving TD’s. Brees loves to go to Graham and with the amount that the Saints throw the ball, count on Graham to keep putting up great stats.
10. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots. Last Week-Unranked
Tom Brady isn’t an unfamiliar name in the MVP race, but this is his first appearance on these rankings since he was placed at #5 in the preseason edition. Brady hasn’t been playing bad, but he hasn’t been up to the level that we’ve come used to seeing and that’s partially due to his group of inexperienced WR’s. Still, Brady has this offense playing well enough to be 4-0 at this point in the year with a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of, which is where you have to give him a load of credit.
These players dropped out of the rankings this week: Doug Martin(7), Russell Wilson(10)
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