Mike Sando's MVP Watch
He's close to overtaking Peyton Manning for the top spot, even. Only a bye week can stop Rivers in Week 10.
Rank 'Em: NFL MVP Candidates
Peyton Manning tops ESPN.com's MVP rankings. What about yours?
The stats favor Rivers to this point. His 19 touchdown passes and eight interceptions put him on pace for 34 and 14, respectively. Manning hasn't made as many big plays, but he's still on pace for 32 TDs and eight INTs.
Both quarterbacks have overcome significant personnel losses around them. Manning has been winning for years despite suspect special teams. Rivers would have a few more victories this season if his special teams weren't historically bad.
This MVP race will be fun to watch as long as both quarterbacks' teams win enough games.
Reggie Wayne has been the only constant for Manning this season. Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown have missed games. Manning still nearly willed the Colts to victory at Philadelphia.
Week 9 at PHI
Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards, yards per attempt and TD passes. He ranks third in passer rating behind Michael Vick, who could earn a spot on this list with additional playing time, and Vince Young.
Week 9 at HOU
3. DREW BREESQuarterback | New Orleans Saints ... Next Game: 11/21 vs. SEA ... Last Week: 3
A bye week followed by a home game against Seattle puts Brees in a favorable position. He has six TDs and six INTs in his past three games, but Brees still ranks second in TD passes with 18.
Week 9 at CAR
4. JOE FLACCOQuarterback | Baltimore Ravens ... Next Game: 11/11 at ATL ... Last Week: 9
The Ravens' third-year QB has seven TDs without an INT in his past three games. He last threw a pick in Week 4. He's thrown one INT since Week 2. Baltimore is winning and Flacco has posted triple-digit passer ratings three games in a row.
Week 9 vs. MIA
5. TOM BRADYQuarterback | New England Patriots ... Next Game: 11/14 at PIT ... Last Week: 2
Brady will have a hard time staying on this list if his stats continue to fall off following the Randy Moss trade. Brady still has a 95.7 rating for a 6-2 team.
Week 9 at CLE
Matthews leads the NFL in sacks with 10.5 while playing for a defense that has allowed seven points in its past two games. Green Bay has held six opponents below 21 points this season.
Week 9 vs. DAL
7. ELI MANNINGQuarterback | New York Giants ... Next Game: 11/14 vs. DAL ... Last Week: NR
The Giants QB trails only Rivers and Brees in TD passes this season. Five consecutive Giants victories and three consecutive games with a rating in triple digits push Manning into the MVP conversation.
Week 9 at SEA
8. ARIAN FOSTERRunning Back | Houston Texans ... Next Game: 11/14 at JAC ... Last Week: 4
Three losses in four games have knocked down Foster's stock some even though he leads the NFL in rushing and has fumbled only once all season. Foster is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He has nine rushing TDs.
Week 9 vs. SD
McFadden cracks the list for the first time this season after helping the Raiders score impressive victories over two current AFC West rivals (Denver, Kansas City) and one former one (Seattle). He leads the NFL in rushing yards per game.
Week 9 vs. KC
10. MATT RYANQuarterback | Atlanta Falcons ... Next Game: 11/11 vs. BAL ... Last Week: 8
Ryan has eight TD passes with two INTs over the Falcons' past four games. Leading the Falcons past Flacco and the Ravens would look good on his MVP résumé.
Week 9 vs. TB