The MVP race is changing every week as certain teams make big statements. So we have a brand new top 10 for you guys. Keep in mind, this list is based on the following:

  1. How Necessary is this player to this team’s success?
  2. How good is the team?
  3. How good is the player?
  4. How productive has the player been?
  5. Have they been healthy all season/most of it?

So, because of that, here’s some honorable mentions that couldn’t quite make the list for multiple reasons.  Keep in mind, there’s about 30-50 guys I want to mention, so in the coming weeks, I’ll switch it around.

The Cincinnati Bengals – Yes, the whole team. Everyone. Everybody has been good. It’s not 1 or 2 guys, it’s not even just the offense or defense… EVERYBODY is doing their job.

The Broncos Defense – Such a good unit, unfortunately that means one significant piece can’t really win it (Von Miller had to be removed). If Von goes down, they’re fine. It Chris Harris goes down, they’re fine. They’re so good.

Cameron Jordan (Saints) – He’s been an absolute menace all year, unfortunately the team is a joke.

Allen Robinson (Jaguars) – Giving a little love to the Jaguars, Robinson has been a beast. He’s 5th in the league in receiving, 2nd in touchdowns, and 1st in plays of 20+ yards (24).

Ryan Khalil (Panthers) – A center? Really? Yes. YES Cam Newton has been phenomenal. Yes, the defense has been great. But this offensive line has really improved, and it all starts with the center, the single most under appreciated position in all of sports.

More guys will get some love next week, but here’s the actual list now.

1. Carson Palmer (Cardinals)

Palmer remains at the top. The Cardinals are solid, but he takes them to truly elite levels. He’s second in the league in passing touchdowns and passer rating (for qualified players), and he’s third in passing yards. As long as Palmer is at the helm, the Cardinals are a force to be reckoned with.

2. Cam Newton (Panthers)

He skyrockets this week after his performance. All year, the Panthers had been winning mostly because of their insane defense. Well this week, Newton stepped up, and threw for 5 touchdowns in a game where that Panthers defense gave up 38 points to Drew Brees (Who also deserves credit, he’s still incredible). I might be overreacting, but I have to give the man props.

3. Tom Brady (Patriots)

It just goes to show how important Gronkowski is to this Patriots offense… Once he comes back, they’ll be better. Brady still leads the league in touchdowns, and the Patriots are still 10-2, but a few more weeks of questionable performances could have him fall more.

4. Luke Kuechly (Panthers)

Josh Norman will have to fall off to make room for some other guys, but SOMEBODY has to represent the Panthers defense, and it happens to be Kuechly.

5. Russell Wilson (Seahawks)

Surprised to see his name up here? Don’t be. Since November, Wilson has thrown 13 TDs and only 2 interceptions. And that’s behind one of the less talented offensive lines in the league. They lost Graham AND Lynch for a while, and he’s been playing better than ever. For somebody who has always been scrutinized because “his defense does all the work”, Wilson has certainly shined these past few weeks.

6. Tyrann Mathieu (Cardinals)

The Honey Badger continues to impress. Every snap, you watch him do some incredible things. He can cover, rush the passer, and he’s a sure tackler. He continues to make plays for the Cardinals, and continues to be the leader of the defense.

7. Eric Berry (Chiefs)

What an incredible story… A year ago this guy was going to chemotherapy as he was dealing with Lymphoma… Now he’s possibly the best safety in football, and he’s the best player on a Chiefs team that emerged from 1-5 to now be 7-5… Incredible stuff. However, it’s not just the story. Berry is actually the number 1 rated safety on Pro Football Focus. He also has 2 interceptions and 8 passes defended. I wouldn’t put him here just because he has a nice story, he has truly been one of the top players in the league, and has taken this already talented Chiefs defense to another level.

8. Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)

If it wasn’t for the injury, he might be #1… Seriously, I mean look at how much better this Steelers offense is when he’s on the field. His 8.88 yards per attempt lead the league, and Antonio Brown is a significantly different player when Ben is on the field with him. He takes this Steelers offense and makes it work.

9. Eric Decker And Brandon Marshall (Jets)

The duo deserves to be here together. The Jets were a quarterback away from being a playoff contender, and these guys take Ryan Fitzpatrick and make him THAT quarterback. Marshall ranks 6th and Decker ranks 22nd in receiving yards, and the two have racked up 18 of Fitzpatrick’s 22 touchdowns this season. Very rarely do receivers matter this much to a team, but for the Jets, there is an exception.

10. Adrian Peterson (Vikings)

Peterson had to fall because of that atrocious performance against the Seahawks (18 yards on 8 carries). However, Peterson still leads the league in rushing even after that performance, and he is still the driving force of the Vikings offense, which still ranks 31st in passing. Without Peterson, the Vikings regress to a Rams-like team (not quite, but close).

Brian Sullivan

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