Tebow ranks 31st out of 35 qualifying players in Total QBR, the ESPN stat measuring how quarterbacks affect win probability across a wide array of categories. Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats, a founding father of such metrics, recently tried hard to find additional ways to appreciate Tebow's contributions, but it was an uphill fight.
"The best case you can make for Tebow is that, in his wins, he's usually helped his team slightly more than he has hurt it," Burke concluded.
Tebow has never appeared on our weekly MVP Watch list.
But with four consecutive victories and a 5-1 starting record, Tebow must be doing something right in the context of what his team needs from him. And so I wondered what it would take for Tebow to become a viable third-tier MVP candidate -- someone worthy of consideration after the rock-solid candidates topping the list each week.
If Tebow were to continue on his current course and the Broncos were to win the remainder of their games to finish 11-5, would that be enough?
Quarterback | Green Bay Packers ... Next Game: 12/4 at NYG ... Last Poll: 1
Another week, another NFL passer rating above 110. Rodgers actually ranks behind Drew Brees and Tom Brady in expected points added through the passing game, but he outpaces both in contributions through rushing and opponent penalties. It's news whenever Rodgers throws an interception. He has one in his last five games. Rodgers plays his final five games outdoors in cold-weather cities, but he can produce across all climes, it appears.
Quarterback | New Orleans Saints ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. DET ... Last Poll: 2
What a spectacular performance against the New York Giants. The sensational passing has been there all season. The juke Brees used to free himself for that scrambling touchdown offset any style points lost through Brees' comical attempt at dunking the ball over the crossbar during his vertically challenged celebration. Brees is warming up and still has four indoor games remaining.
Quarterback | New England Patriots ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. IND ... Last Poll: 4
Brady appears to be on cruise control in recent weeks. He has eight touchdowns with no interceptions over the Patriots' past three games, a strong rebound from his two-pick performance in defeat to the Giants. Brady has become more active as a runner in recent weeks, too. He has 21 carries for 75 yards on the season. He had 74 yards rushing over his previous two seasons combined. This is as productive as Brady has been as a runner since before his knee injury in 2008.
Quarterback | Dallas Cowboys ... Next Game: 12/4 at ARI ... Last Poll: 6
Romo and the Cowboys eked out another victory despite an off game against Miami on Thanksgiving. Romo suffered a turnover for the first time since Week 8. He has won four consecutive starts and has generally shined, tossing 10 touchdowns against two interceptions during that time. Romo still has not fumbled since Week 3 and he has not lost one since the season opener, his only lost fumble since suffering 16 of them from 2006-09.
Quarterback | Pittsburgh Steelers ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. CIN ... Last Poll: 3
There was nothing spectacular about Roethlisberger or the Steelers during their 13-9 victory over Kansas City. Like Romo, Roethlisberger remains in the top five based on his overall body of work for the season, and based on the fact that no others are forcing their way into the MVP conversation. The top three players on the list have separated themselves. Romo and Roethlisberger are interchangeable on the next tier. Everyone else is filler.
Running Back | Houston Texans ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. ATL ... Last Poll: 5
The Texans won another game, their fifth victory in a row, but Foster had only 89 total yards. He scored a touchdown for a fifth consecutive game. Houston's defense obviously deserves significant credit for the team's success this season. So does Foster. He has 1,274 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns. He has four 100-yard rushing games and three 100-yard receiving games.
Running Back | Chicago Bears ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. KC ... Last Poll: 8
The Bears lost at Oakland and the Raiders largely kept Forte in check. This was Forte's third game in a row with no more than 64 yards rushing. And if Chicago falls from contention without quarterback Jay Cutler, Forte will have a hard time holding a spot on the list, even though few other challengers are emerging. A big game from Forte at home against Kansas City in Week 13 would help his cause.
Wide Receiver | New England Patriots ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. IND ... Last Poll: NR
Welker is coming off his second 100-yard receiving game since Week 5 and his first game with a scoring reception since Week 6. The overall numbers and team success are there. Welker already has 82 catches for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns. He has been more productive lately than the other receiver to appear on the MVP Watch recently. Detroit's Calvin Johnson caught four passes for 49 yards last week. He has one touchdown since Week 8.
Quarterback | New York Giants ... Next Game: 12/4 vs. GB ... Last Poll: 10
The Giants are floundering despite continued contributions from their best player. Manning put together a streak of 20 consecutive completed passes against the Saints. He did his part in keeping the Giants as competitive as they could be under the circumstances. It's looking like this could be Manning's last week on the MVP Watch list for a while unless the Giants upset the Packers. Winning records are generally a prerequisite this late in a season.
Quarterback | Baltimore Ravens ... Next Game: 12/4 at CLE ... Last Poll: NR
Flacco and the Ravens have not always been reliable this season. Baltimore's quarterback was outstanding during the team's Thanksgiving night victory over previously 9-1 San Francisco, however. Flacco completed 7 of 10 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown on third down alone against the 49ers. That included three third-down conversions of 6 yards or longer on the winning drive, according to ESPN Stats & Information.