The best player on arguably the NFL’s best team is making a serious case for himself as Most Valuable Player despite missing the first four games of the season.
Tom Brady is the new front-runner for league MVP entering Week 15, according to a poll of ESPN.com panelists released Wednesday. The New England Patriots quarterback received seven first-place votes from the 13 panelists, moving him past Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who was the favorite in last week’s panel but received just two first-place votes this week.
Brady’s stats in the nine games he’s played certainly are MVP-worthy. The 39-year-old has thrown 22 touchdown passes and just two interceptions, easily the best ratio in the NFL, and boasts a 68.5 percent completion percentage, third-best in the league. His 113.6 passer rating is tops in the NFL, and his 320 passing yards per game trail only Drew Brees among qualified QBs.
Brady gave his candidacy a huge bump Monday night when he torched the Baltimore Ravens’ No. 1 ranked defense for 406 passing yards and three touchdowns — without tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola, no less.
The biggest knock on the Patriots QB, of course, is that he missed an entire quarter of the season. New England went 3-1 in Brady’s absence, and it’s hard to give the MVP award to a guy who didn’t play a game until Oct. 9. Carr is a worthy candidate amid an excellent season for the 10-3 Raiders, but his dismal performance against the Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday night hurt his stock.
The oddsmakers don’t have Brady or Carr as the current MVP favorite, however. That distinction belongs to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who leads the NFL in rushing and is a 5/2 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images