25. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous Rank: N/A
Maurice Jones-Drew appears to be in game shape and ready to dominate the NFL. His 177-yard performance against the Indianapolis Colts was very impressive. The one thing that keeps him in the MVP race is the fact he's guaranteed touches. Nobody on the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense will take the ball out of Jones-Drew's hands
24. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Previous Rank: No. 24
Tony Romo had another lackluster performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of weapons on offense, but the unit doesn't seem to be on the same page. It's up to Romo to right the ship.
23. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Previous Rank: No. 18
The fact that the New York Giants had to play on Thursday night really hurt Hakeem Nicks. He's still dealing with some soreness in his foot, and that limited amount of rest forced him to miss the game. Lets see if he can get back on track next week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
22. Tim Jennings, Chicago Bears
Previous Rank: No. 25
Tim Jennings continues to play at a very high level. He intercepted his fourth pass of the season against the St. Louis Rams. As I mentioned last week, Jennings isn't only creating turnovers, but he's doing a great job in coverage as well. It's also important to note that Jennings is an excellent tackler and isn't afraid to come up and make a play against the run.
21. Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals
Previous Rank: No. 20
The Arizona Cardinals and Calais Campbell put a ton of hits on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Campbell failed to register a sack, but generated more than enough pressure to hurry some of Vick's throws.
20. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Previous Rank: No. 19
Matthew Stafford is putting up excellent numbers, but his team isn't winning football games. The MVP typically comes from a team playing at a very high level, or someone that is grossly outperforming the competition. It's also important to keep an eye on Stafford's injury.
19. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins
Previous Rank: No. 23
Reggie Bush's hopes to win the rushing title took a major hit when he was forced out of the game with a knee injury. The thought is the injury is nothing serious, but Bush could still miss a few games. Because of the presence of several other talented running backs, this injury really hurts Bush's MVP chances.
18. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Previous Rank: No. 5
Alex Smith makes the biggest drop in my rankings—falling from No. 5. The biggest concern with Smith is that he'll never consistently put up the numbers needed to remain in the race. This weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, he had 35 pass attempts and just barely topped the 200-yard mark.
17. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Previous Rank: N/A
Jamaal Charles may currently lead the NFL in rushing, but it takes more than one excellent game to jump into the top 10 on this list. Charles needs to show that he can continue to produce at a high level and that he's fully recovered from his injury.
16. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Previous Rank: No. 11
It's taking Peyton Manning some time to work his way back into form. This is due to missing an entire season, dealing with lingering effects from the operations and working with a completely new wide-receiver group. These issues will put Manning behind the rest of the competition. He'll still have a productive season, but just not enough to be a real contender for the MVP award.
15. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Previous Rank: No. 16
It's tough to give the MVP award to a player on a team with several surprising stars. Eli Manning just keeps making those around him better. The fact that Ramses Barden put up such impressive numbers has to shed new light on Cruz's production. This might be more about Manning than the talent in the wide-receiver corps.
14. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Previous Rank: No. 12
Roddy White drops a little because he was only able to register 55 receiving yards on Sunday. However, his production at the end of the year should put him in the top 10. White is a very consistent player, topping the 1,000-yard mark in each of the last five seasons.
13. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Previous Rank: No. 13
The New York Giants didn't need Eli Manning to throw for over 500 yards to defeat the Carolina Panthers. However, it was nice to see Manning take care of the football and avoid throwing more interceptions.
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Previous Rank: No. 22
Ben Roethlisberger showed this past weekend that he's capable of putting up the numbers needed to get into the MVP race. However, the issue is he put up those numbers in a loss. The Pittsburgh Steelers need to establish a rushing attack if they want to win football games. This will take opportunities away from Roethlisberger.
11. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Previous Rank: No. 14
LeSean McCoy's worst enemy is head coach Andy Reid. At times, it seems that Reid forgets that he has one of the best running backs in the league. McCoy is talented enough to win the MVP award; he just needs the touches.