Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 12/18/12

This week playoff races usually start to sort themselves out as teams are able to establish themselves late in the season. This season is a little different as this Sunday only made the playoff picture even cloudier. Dallas, Washington, Minnesota, and Seattle all helped their cause while the Giants, Steelers and Bears put themselves in very intriguing positions.   The race for MVP, like the playoff race, is a very compelling one. In past years we have seen a couple of stud players run away with the year’s biggest individual award. However, this year it has be a very interesting three-player race.  Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady all make compelling arguments for this year’s MVP award. Aaron Rodgers has perhaps snuck into the conversation but, at this point, would be a long shot.   This week Adrian Peterson ran wild for 212 yards making 2000 yards a very attainable goal. Peterson has put a team with essentially no passing game on his back and has his squad in a playoff position. Peterson not only is dragging a team that lacks an elite QB but also is doing this without the team’s second best player Percy Harvin.   Peterson’s has reclaimed his title as the league’s best running back and has only seemed stronger after missing last season. Peterson most likely is the front runner at this point for MVP. However, if the Vikings fall short of the playoffs there are many that might sway to Peyton Manning.   Peyton Manning this weekend led his team to a 9th straight victory and has his team at 2nd seed in the AFC. Denver controls its own fate in terms of the seeding. Manning clearly hasn’t lost a step despite many suggesting he would in the off season. Peyton Manning has simply been doing what Peyton Manning does this season. It would not be surprising at all if he added another MVP trophy in his trophy case this year.   Tom Brady had made up a lot of ground in recent weeks as he has been nothing short of terrific. This week the Patriots lost control over the 2nd seed however losing in an entertaining shootout against the 49ers.  While Brady’s stats are very impressive, most tend to think that Manning has him beat in the MVP race considering he is coming off a major injury and the Bronco’s could finish the higher seed.   With two weeks to go however, the MVP race is very much up for grabs.

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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