Talk of Fame Network
Quarterback, running back or cornerback. Take your pick.
As the NFL steams toward the season’s midway point – 14 teams have already played their eighth game, and the other 18 teams get there this weekend – it’s time to establish a pecking order for the NFL MVP award. So your humble hosts at The Talk of Fame Network have come up with five deserving candidates, and we’re going to ask you to vote on them in this week’s poll.
We’re offering up three quarterbacks, a running back and a cornerback. Some have very familiar names. Others don’t. So take your pick from quarterbacks Tom Brady, Andy Dalton and Aaron Rodgers, running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Josh Norman. Here’s why we chose them as our mid-season MVP finalists:
(Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots)
Tom Brady, QB, New England. The annual MVP candidate. Brady has won two of these awards already and you can argue he probably should have had about three more. He leads the NFL in passing (again) for the 7-0 Patriots with a 115.8 efficiency rating. Brady has completed 68.9 percent for 2,410 yards with 20 touchdowns and only one interception in his 289 attempts. He passed for 466 yards in a game against Buffalo in the second week of the season and has topped 300 yards in four of the five games since then.
(Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals)
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati. Dalton has been giving his doubters something to ponder this season. He’s been the driving force in a 7-0 start by the Bengals, ranking fourth in the NFL in passing efficiency with a 107.6 rating. He’s completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,386 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also strung together three consecutive 300-yard games against Baltimore, Kansas City and Seattle to propel the Bengals to the top of the AFC North. His average of 8.62 yards per pass is among the best in the league, better than both Brady (8.34) and Rodgers (7.39).
(Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons)
Devonta Freeman, HB, Atlanta. This is the surprise candidate. Freeman opened the season on the bench behind rookie third-round draft pick Tevin Coleman. But when Coleman suffered a rib injury in the second game against the Giants, Freeman capitalized on his opportunity. Six starts later, Freeman leads the NFL in rushing (709 yards), touchdowns (10) and yards from scrimmage (1,062). He has four 100-yard games for the 6-2 Falcons. He also leads the NFL with 57 first downs and ranks 17th with 40 receptions for 353 yards and a TD. And this guy was sitting on the Atlanta bench?
(Photo courtesy Melissa Melvin-Rodrigeuz/Carolina Panthers)
Josh Norman, CB, Carolina. The 7-0 Panthers aren’t going to blow anyone away on offense. They rank 19th in yards and 29th in passing. But Carolina will blow foes away on defense. The Panthers rank 10th in the NFL, seventh in pass defense and seventh in points allowed -- and Norman has been a key element in that dominance. He has intercepted an NFL-runnerup four passes and run back two of them for scores. He returned a Blake Bortles interception 30 yards for a touchdown against the Jaguars and a Jameis Winston interception 46 yards for a TD against the Buccaneers. Norman leads the NFL with his 16 passes broken up and has also forced one fumble and recovered another.
(Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay. The other annual candidate. Rodgers was the NFL MVP last season and twice in the last four years. He ranks second in the NFL in passing behind Brady this season with a 110.9 efficiency rating despite losing his best receiver (Jordy Nelson) in the preseason with a knee injury. Rodgers has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,568 yards with 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions for the 6-1 Packers. Rodgers didn’t throw an interception in his first four games of the season and his best game was a 333-yard, five-TD performance against Kansas City.
Now it’s your turn to choose. Vote now: