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Mike Sando's MVP Watch

12/5/2012
USA Today Sports Images, Getty Images

Waves are still rippling through the NFC West blog from our Tuesday discussion comparing Russell Wilson to Andrew Luck against seven common opponents.

The touchdown-to-interception ratios in those games jumped off the page: 16-1 for Wilson, 13-12 for Luck.

Wilson shares four common opponents with Robert Griffin III, the other top rookie quarterback this season. Griffin has fared better statistically against St. Louis, Minnesota, Carolina and Dallas than Wilson did against those teams. The difference was 80.3 to 55.7 in Total QBR and 97.1 to 88.3 in NFL passer rating. However, Wilson came away with a 3-1 record in those games, compared to 2-2 for Griffin. Each played two of the four on the road.

Perhaps by now you know where this is headed. I've listed all three rookies on the MVP Watch list for the way they have played in making their teams relevant. All three carried their teams to impressive victories in Week 13. They're not among the MVP Watch leaders, but they deserve secondary consideration for their importance to their teams.

Luck and Griffin have appeared here previously. Both arrived as highly drafted franchise saviors. They've been asked to carry their teams from the beginning. And they've done it with relatively little support from their defenses. They are redefining expectations for rookie quarterbacks. Wilson is shattering all reasonable expectations for a third-round draft choice.

Here are a couple of ways Luck, Griffin and Wilson are performing counter to expectations:

  • Luck: Luck hasn't put up the flashy traditional passing stats, but he ranks sixth in QBR for several reasons. Even though Wilson and especially Griffin are better known for their mobility, Luck actually leads all NFL quarterbacks in expected points added through scrambles and designed rushes. He has 22 total touchdowns. Of course, he also ranks tied for second in pass attempts, one measure of how much Indianapolis relies upon him.

  • Griffin: Griffin leads the NFL in completion percentage, passer rating and yards per attempt on throws traveling 10-plus yards past the line of scrimmage. Doug Clawson of ESPN Stats & Information has done some charting off the All-22 video to identify one variable linked to Griffin's success on these throws. Kevin Seifert and I will discuss Clawson's work during our "Inside Slant" podcast later Wednesday.

  • Wilson: Those watching from afar might think Wilson has done much of his damage from outside the pocket, where his lack of height would not be a limiting factor. Wilson actually has a much higher QBR score (77.4 to 60.8) and a slightly higher passer rating (95.2 to 95.1) when throwing from inside the pocket than from outside it. He has completed 154 of 238 passes with 14 touchdowns and seven picks from inside the pocket. He has completed 47 of 79 passes with five touchdowns and one pick from outside the pocket. Wilson has also had only five passes batted all season, below the 6.9 average for qualifying quarterbacks and well below league leaders Brandon Weeden (15), Luck (15) and Andy Dalton (14).

With that, let's move on to the full MVP Watch list. We've got fresh faces in the bottom three spots. That meant there wasn't room this week for Arian Foster or Marshawn Lynch. Both obviously continue to play vital roles for their teams. We'll see them on the list again in the future, most likely.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this item.