NFL MVP After 12 Games

December 4, 2008

With three-quarters of the NFL regular season completed (12 games), it is appropriate to start analyzing who are the legitimate MVP contenders. While assigning a total "value" to any player is obviously subjective, my own analysis takes into consideration at least two basic tangible factors that everyone should use: (1) Team Success; and (2) Individual Statistics. After that, one must consider the overall impact the player has had on the team success as a result of his individual accomplishments. Here are the Top 8.

8. Eli Manning, QB New York Giants (11-1)

Stats: QB Rating 91.3, 19TDs, 8INTs, 218.7 yd/game, 62% completions

Argument For: Who can deny that Manning has been a key component on the best team in football thus far? Manning is an efficient manager of the game who has improved greatly over the years.

Argument Against: The Giants are essentially a defensive-oriented running team who rely heavily on the likes of RB Brandon Jacobs and his 5.1 yds/carry to control the football. The stats are relatively pedestrian and not MVP worthy.

7. Thomas Jones, RB New York Jets (8-4)

Stats: 1088 yds rushing, 90.7, 4.8 yds/carry, 11 TDs

Argument For: Has been instrumental in Jets ball control offense. Jones has produced big runs to put away several games, most notably against the previously undefeated Titans.

Argument Against: Brett Favre is at least as important to the success of the Jets offense.

6. Clinton Portis, RB Washington Redskins (7-5)

Stats: 1228 yds rushing(2nd), 102.3 yds/game, 4.8yds/carry, 7TDs

Argument For: Has carried the load for Redskin offense while QB Jason Campbell has remained inconsistent. Impressive rushing stats and will be the key to the stretch run.

Argument Against: The Redskins are longshots to make the playoffs right now and there is still a better running back in the league.

5. Kurt Warner, QB Arizona Cardinals (7-5)

Stats: QB Rating 99.4 (3rd), 24TDs(1st), 11INTs, 311 yds/game(2nd), 68.4% completions (2nd)

Argument For: Warner has resurrected his career this year while bringing life to the Cardinals' franchise. Few would have believed the former MVP was capable of putting up such huge numbers again. Under Warner's leadership the Cardinals will easily win the NFC West.

Argument Against: The Cardinals success is largely a product of playing in the pathetic NFC West and they are 3-5 in games out of their division. Warner also benefits from throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, arguably the best receiving tandem in the NFL.

4. Brett Favre, QB New York Jets (8-4)

Stats: QB Rating 90.4. 20TDs, 14INTs(1st), 225.7 yds/game, 68.7% completions (1st)

Argument For: Favre met the hype and delivered beyond expectations. Highest completion percentage in his career and successfully adapted to the Jets short passing scheme. Provided new attitude to a previously pathetic franchise.

Argument Against: Also tied for the league lead in interceptions. Thomas Jones is almost as responsible for the Jets offensive success.

3. Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints

Stats: QB Rating 95.9, 24 TDs (1st), 14INTs (1st), 322.5 yds/game (1st), 66% comletions

Argument For: Brees is on pace to break Dan Marino's single season record for passing yards. He leads the league in touchdown passes and has an impressive completion percentage.

Argument Against: He also leads the league in interceptions and his team will most likely miss the playoffs.

2. Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings (7-5)

Stats: 1311 yards rushing, 109.3 yds/game (1st), 4.9 yds/carry, 9TDs

Argument For: Peterson is the best and most accomplished RB in the NFL this year. He has been durable, consistent, and explosive while leading the mediocre Vikings to the top of the competetive NFC North.

Argument Against: Peterson's team may still fail to make the playoffs and the Minnesota offense has struggled for long stretches.

1. Tony Romo, QB Dallas Cowboys

Stats: QB Rating 103.2 (1st), 21TDs, 8INTs, 284 yds/game (3rd), 64% completions

Argument For: The Cowboy offense looked pathetic without Romo for 3 games averaging 13.7 points and 232 yards per game. With Romo, the Cowboys average 28.7 points and 398 yards per game. Without him, the other "Pro Bowl" players on offense simply don't produce.

Argument Against: He missed 3 games this year and his team still might not make the playoffs. He hasn't appeared as mobile as last year.

Manish Pandya
Editor of The Daily Sports Herald

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