NFL MVP Power Rankings: J.J. Watt Passes Tom Brady, Making Case For Top Spot


J.J. Watt probably won’t win the MVP award this season, but does that really matter?

The honor likely will be given to a quarterback, likely Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, because that’s just the way things go.

But when we talk about value — how it’s defined in any context other than an award — there’s no one more valuable in the NFL than Watt. However, after a bizarre Week 15, there’s still probably a chance — albeit small — Watt can bring home the MVP.

On to the latest MVP power rankings.

1. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers (Last week: 1) — A bolder person might have bumped Rodgers from the top spot, but we’re trying to not give too much credence to one bad game. Admittedly, it was one really, really bad game. Like, the worst game of Rodgers’ entire career. In fact, his 34.3 passer rating is the lowest of his entire career. The loss also might cost the Packers dearly, as it now appears they’re going to have to win away from Lambeau Field in the playoffs if they want to reach the Super Bowl.

All of that being said, it wasn’t entirely Rodgers’ fault Sunday. The Packers dropped “seven or eight” passes, according to at least one account. None of them stung more than this Jordy Nelson gaffe that might have changed a lot of things.

Week 15 stats: 17-of-42 passing for 185 yards and no TDs with two INTs in 21-13 loss to Bills
Season stats: 10-4 record, 35 TD passes, five INTs, 8.4 yards per attempt, 64 percent completion percentage

2. J.J. Watt, defensive end, Houston Texans (Last week: 2) — In addition to his own typical dominance, Watt benefited from “meh” showings from the other candidates. The freakshow defensive end racked up two more sacks and added five tackles, and is, you know, the most dominating defensive force in football. Watt has played 92 percent of the Texans’ defensive snaps this season, which goes to show his impact on that side of the football rivals what quarterbacks are doing on offense. If Watt has two more monster games to finish the season and Rodgers doesn’t rebound in a big way, it’s going to be tough to deny Watt the award.

Week 15 stats: 2.0 sacks, five tackles
Season stats: 16.5 sacks, one INT (for TD), five fumble recoveries (one for TD), three receiving TDs

3. Tom Brady, quarterback, New England Patriots (Last week: 3) — Brady is getting more recognition for his Facebook page, his diet and his “running ability” than anything else this week. We’re still trying to figure out what that means for his MVP candidacy, though. Brady really hasn’t done anything that makes you go, “Oh, wow,” in recent weeks, but he’s been solid as a rock. He leads one of the best offenses in football, and he’s a big reason the Patriots likely will end up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That, more than anything else, gets him so high up on the list.

Week 15 stats: 17-of-42 passing for 185 yards and no TDs with two INTs in 21-13 loss to Bills
Season stats: 10-4 record, 35 TD passes, five INTs, 8.4 yards per attempt, 64 percent completion percentage

4. Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots (Last week: 6) — If Brady and Gronkowski were an MVP package, they might be the favorite to win the award. It’s really no surprise that the Patriots offense turned around Sunday when Brady started finding Gronkowski. The Patriots did a nice job of inserting play-action into the mix, and no one benefits more than Gronkowski, especially on the plays where Brady hits him down the seam on quick passes that turn into big gainers. Gronkowski just brings the Patriots offense to a new level, which is a big reason why he’s truly one of the most valuable offensive players in the league.

Week 15 stats: Three receptions for 96 yards and one TD in 41-13 win over Dolphins
Season stats: 76 receptions for 1,093 yards, 11 TDs

5. DeMarco Murray, running back, Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 5) — We’ve pretty much reached the “Who really cares, but we’ve had these guys in the rankings all year, so let’s keep them there” part of the list. Murray is having a great season, and if he has two really awesome weeks to finish the season, he just might reach 2,000 rushing yards. However, none of that really means much at all. He’s not going to break any records, and that’s what it would take for a running back to win the award. But, a running game — and a commitment to the running game — is the biggest reason the Cowboys are 10-4. In the long run, that will be better for Murray than a stupid MVP award.

Week 15 stats: 31 carries for 81 yards and two TDs in 38-27 win over Bears
Season stats: 351 carriers for 1,687 yards, 11 TDs

6. Peyton Manning, quarterback, Denver Broncos (Last week: 4) — Peyton, stop trying to block. Just don’t do it, man.


Week 15 stats: 14-of-20 passing for 233 yards for one TD and no INTs in 22-10 win over Chargers
Season stats: 11-3 record, 37 TD passes, 11 INTs, 8.0 yards per attempt, 67 percent completion percentage

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images
GIF via The Big Lead

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