Just as I thought, week 12 brought clarity to the NFL MVP race.
I predict each subsequent week will do the same.
Players like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers led their teams to big wins on the road. Peyton Manning and Michael Vick were primed for big games, but failed to impress, as they both lost on Sunday.
While this week’s rankings have the same players as last week, their order is much different.
1) Tom Brady (stock: UP, lw: #3)
- 236/356 (66.3%), 2,703 yards, 23 TD, 4 INT
- Tied with Jets, Falcons for best record in the NFL
- 2nd ranked passer (105.8)
- 16th ranked running game
- Sacked 15 times
2) Philip Rivers (stock: DOWN, lw: #1)
- 249/376 (66.2%), 3,362 yards, 23 TD, 9 INT
- 3rd ranked passer (104.9)
- 15th ranked running game
- Sacked 25 times
3) Peyton Manning (stock: DOWN, lw: #2)
- 317/486 (65.2%), 3,344 yards, 22 TD, 11 INT
- 15th ranked passer (90.8)
- 29th ranked running game
- Sacked 13 times
4) Drew Brees (stock: SAME, lw: #4)
- 313/456 (68.6%), 3,321 yards, 23 TD, 15 INT
- 12th ranked passer (92.7)
- 24th ranked running game
- Sacked 15 times
5) Michael Vick (stock: SAME, lw: #5)
- 149/235 (63.4%), 1,941 yards, 13 TD, 1 INT
- 64 carries, 419 yards, 6.5 ypc, 5 TD
- 1st ranked passer (106.0)
- 3rd ranked running game
- Sacked 22 times
Michael Vick is obviously different from the top four candidates because of his rushing ability.
The top four quarterbacks are right around 66% completion, 3,300 yards passing and all have at least 22 passing touchdowns.
What sets Brady apart from the rest is his precision/lack of interceptions thrown.
So you know, I’ve thought about other players like Arian Foster, Dwayne Bowe, Matt Ryan and Peyton Hillis. Remember, when you’re picking the best player in the league, you need to be selective.
Speaking of the best players in the league, here are the best defensive players in the NFL, according to Rob Marine.
Defensive Player of the Year – Week 13
1) James Harrison, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers (stock: UP, lw: #2)
- 75 tackles (56 solo), 10 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 2 INT, 6 ff, 1 fumble recovery
- Last game (@ Buffalo): 6 tackles (5 solo), 1 sack, 1 ff
- Next game: @ Baltimore
This is the second week in a row that Harrison has had a monster game. Harrison’s effort on the field Sunday at Buffalo helped spring him to the number one spot in the Defensive Player of the Year race. His number of tackles, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles and performance the past two weeks has pushed Harrison over Matthews.
2) Clay Matthews, OLB, Green Bay Packers (stock: DOWN, lw: #1)
- 39 tackles (36 solo), 11.5 sacks*, 3 passes defensed, 1 INT (62 return yards), 1 ff, 1 TD
- Last game (@ Atlanta): 3 tackles
- Next game: vs. San Francisco
This is the first time that Matthews has fallen out of the number one spot since the Defense Player of the Year race has started. He still leads the league in sacks, but his past two games haven’t been up to par.
Matthews is by no means out of the DPOY race, as there are five games left this season, and Green Bay needs every win they can get.
3) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions (stock: UP, lw: #4)
- 45 tackles (34 solo), 8 sacks, 2 passes defensed, 1 INT (20 return yards), 1 fumble recovery, 1TD
- Last game (vs. New England): 4 tackles (3 solo), 1 sack
- Next game: vs. Chicago
This guy is a force to be reckoned with. Suh makes the jump over Osi Umenyiora to the number three spot for his effort on Thanksgiving. Suh is also a rookie who is putting in hard work, week-in and week-out.
As the regular season comes to a close, the players who are busting their tails will get more recognition, as they should. The Defensive Player of the Year race is not over by a long shot. Suh could very well win it.
4) Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants (stock: DOWN, lw: #3)
- 35 tackles (27 solo), 8 sacks, 2 passes defensed, 7 forced fumbles*
- Last game (vs. Jacksonville): 4 tackles (3 solo)
- Next game: vs. Washington
Umenyiora is usually a beast coming off the edge for New York, but last week the Jaguars had an answer for him. He still made four tackles, three of them being solo, but did not perform up to his usual level of play.
New York is 7-4 and have a divisional game against the Redskins coming up on Sunday. Umenyiora needs to show up and play to his potential if the Giants want to win.
5) Cameron Wake, OLB, Miami Dolphins (stock: UP, lw: NR)
- 40 tackles (33 solo), 10.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles
- Last game (@ Oakland): 2 solo tackles, 1 sack
- Next game: vs. Cleveland Browns
Cameron Wake has been one of the “other players considered” since the DPOY race started. Wake jumps to the five spot this week, marking the first time he’s been in the top five all year.Wake surpasses DeAngelo Hall, whose stock has been dropping as of late.
Asante Samuel leads the league in interceptions with seven, but he hasn’t done much else. Wake has been quietly doing work all year and has been in second place behind Matthews in total sacks. Hall and Samuel haven’t done much the past few weeks so they have slipped out of the top 5, but are not totally out of the race.
Other players considered:
- Asante Samuel, CB, Philadelphia Eagles (7 INTs*)
- DeAngelo Hall, CB, Washington Redskins
- Jerod Mayo, MLB, New England Patriots (132 tackles*)
- Aqib Talib, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Shaun Phillips, OLB, San Diego Chargers
*league leading statistic
There’s a lot of good match-ups this week as football always gets exciting towards the end of the season. Let’s see which Defensive Player of the Year candidate makes his claim as the true DPOY for the 2010 season.
This week might start slow, but the final two games in week 13 are must-see TV.
Check back tomorrow for our picks of the games of the week, as well as our fantasy studs and duds.
Thanks for reading.