Mike Sando's MVP Watch
It's that much of a runaway heading into Week 14.
The New England Patriots' incomparable quarterback will not be taking a knee on the season, of course. He kept throwing deep into a 45-3 victory over the New York Jets on Monday night. The Patriots emphasized putting together a full 60-minute performance. If they take the same approach to the regular season, Brady stands as the clear MVP favorite.
Rank 'Em: NFL MVP Candidates
Can anyone challenge Tom Brady in the MVP race? Rank the candidates
The Patriots have 48 touchdowns, 10 more than any other team in the league. They have 35 more points than any other team in the league. Brady has thrown 17 TD passes since his last interception against Baltimore 52 days ago.
Working in Brady's favor: The field of MVP challengers has issues. Let's sort through them while noting that four-time MVP Peyton Manning, once a fixture on this list, has in the past 10 days doubled Brady's season total for interceptions.
1. TOM BRADYQuarterback | New England Patriots ... Next Game: 12/12 at CHI ... Last Week: 1
Brady needs two TD passes for the second-highest single-season total of his career. He won't approach the NFL-record 50 TDs he tossed in 2007, but he could beat his career mark for fewest INTs in a full season (defined as starting more than one game).
Week 13 vs. NYJ
2. MICHAEL VICKQuarterback | Philadelphia Eagles ... Next Game: 12/12 at DAL ... Last Week: 4
Vick ranks second to Brady in passer rating. His 15-2 ratio of TDs to INTs might seem unfathomable most seasons. Not this year. Brady has practically doubled those totals.
Week 13 vs. HOU
The Chargers will need to finish strong for Rivers to seriously factor into the conversation. Getting blown out at home by the Raiders hurt Rivers' candidacy. He's leading the league in YPA, ranks tied for third in TD passes and has generally done a good job limiting turnovers. Give Rivers credit for overcoming injury issues at the skill positions.
Week 13 vs. OAK
4. MATT RYANQuarterback | Atlanta Falcons ... Next Game: 12/12 at CAR ... Last Week: 3
The raw passing stats for Ryan aren't quite as impressive as those for some other candidates, but his strong play in the clutch and the Falcons' double-digit victory total keep Ryan in the conversation. Thirteen players have higher ratings after Ryan tossed two INTs against the Bucs, matching his previous total since Week 5.
Week 13 at TB
MJD ranks second to the Texans' Arian Foster in rushing yardage. Unlike Foster, Jones-Drew plays for a surging team with a winning record. He has five consecutive 100-yard rushing games and his team is 4-1 during that stretch. On the downside, Jones-Drew has only four rushing TDs. The last two running backs to win MVP honors -- Shaun Alexander in 2005 and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 -- combined for 55 rushing TDs. Their teams combined for a 27-4 record.
Week 13 at TEN
6. DREW BREESQuarterback | New Orleans Saints ... Next Game: 12/12 vs. STL ... Last Week: 5
The Saints have scored at least 30 points in their past four games after reaching that total only once in their first eight games. Brees keeps throwing INTs, however. He has at least one in eight consecutive games. Only Brett Favre and Eli Manning have thrown more picks than Brees this season.
Week 13 at CIN
Like Brees, Rodgers is playing for the second-place team in his division. He had a five-game stretch with at least one pick. Rodgers has 11 TDs and no INTs in his past four games, however, and the Packers have a 5-1 record since losing three of four. Rodgers has a chance to move up the list if the Packers stay hot. He arguably should rank higher anyway.
Week 13 vs. SF
8. MATT CASSELQuarterback | Kansas City Chiefs ... Next Game: 12/12 at SD ... Last Week: 7
A so-so individual performance during a 10-6 victory over Denver ended a streak of three games in which he combined for 10 TDs and no INTs. Cassel has 60 TD passes and 31 INTs in 43 NFL games since replacing an injured Brady with New England during the 2008 season.
Week 13 vs. DEN
9. DWAYNE BOWEWide Receiver | Kansas City Chiefs ... Next Game: 12/12 at SD ... Last Week: 9
A league-high 14 TD receptions give Bowe priority over other top receivers this season, but the Packers' Greg Jennings could be gaining. Jennings has 11 TD receptions while averaging 16.6 yards per reception. Bowe and Jennings each have five TD receptions in his past three games. Roddy White's production, meanwhile, has leveled off some.
Week 13 vs. DEN
10. JAY CUTLERQuarterback | Chicago Bears ... Next Game: 12/12 vs. NE ... Last Week: NR
The Bears should have someone on this list after charging out to a division-leading 9-3 record following five consecutive victories. Cutler ranks behind Chad Henne in passing yards, so let's not get too excited, but five TDs and no INTs in consecutive victories -- one against Vick's Eagles -- put Cutler on the radar.
Week 13 at DET