(COVINGTON, LA) — The NFL MVP race has historically been dominated by offensive players, mostly quarterbacks and running backs. Only two defensive players have ever won the award, but Khalil Mack could make it a third this year. With the season going into its 13th week the finalists are separating themselves from the rest of the group.
In no particular order, here are my top six candidates for the MVP award through week 13:
Drew Brees– Brees might be having his best season yet at the age of 39. He has lead the Saints to a 10-2 record with the losses coming to the Buccaneers the first game of the season and to the resurgent Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Though Brees has never won this award, he might be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He has thrown for 3,262 yards with 30 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions this season. Brees has the least amount of interceptions and the best completion percentage in the league this season. If he continues at this pace he will break his own record for completion percentage in a season; he is currently at 75.5%. This season he passed Peyton Manning for the most passing yards in a career during the regular season with 73,580 and counting. Drew Brees is poised to win his first ever NFL MVP award.
Patrick Mahomes – The third leading passer in the NFL, Mahomes has led his squad to the best record in the AFC to date. He is on pace to finish just shy of Peyton Manning’s record for most passing yards and touchdowns in a single season. In only his second season in the NFL, Mahomes is my youngest candidate on this list. Having a top 5 running back, wide receiver, and tight end is helping him boost his numbers.
Jared Goff – Goff has led his team through 11 games with 3,754 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns. He has the fourth most yards in the league, and is on the second best team besides the New Orleans Saints. In only his second year in the league, Goff has brought the Rams from one of the worst teams in the league to a top two seed in the NFC.
Khalil Mack – The former Oakland Raider, now Chicago Bears star, is a force on the defensive side of the ball. Though only playing in nine games total this season, Mack has forced five fumbles this season and has a pick-six. His tackles and sacks totals may not be that impressive, but he draws much attention to him which allows other players on his team to succeed. His intangibles have him firmly on this list.
Andrew Luck – Luck may be the comeback player of the year as well as the NFL MVP. He has thrown for at least three touchdowns in eight straight games this season, which is the second best streak ever. After the Colts started 1-5, he has brought them all the way back to an above .500 record with a five game win streak. His completion percentage is better than it ever has been, and he is on track to throw more passes in a season than he ever has. Luck has been willing his team to keep the streak alive and get back into the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Philip Rivers – Rivers has led the Chargers to a 8-3 record, and the projected fifth seed in the playoffs. He is on track to have his 11th straight season of 4,000+ passing yards. In his last game, Rivers had the most completions ever in a row to start a game with 25. He has the same amount of touchdowns and interceptions as another MVP candidate, Jared Goff. If the Chargers win out they still have a chance to be the first seed in the AFC which could give Philip Rivers some of the best odds to win MVP.