Updated NFL MVP Odds After NFL Week 12
This week's NFL MVP odds list is dominated by members of the 10-1 Houston Texans. There's also a fall for two of the season's best performers, both of whom struggled in Week 12.
This week also marks the first appearance on this list for Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice. The diminutive runner is joined by a premier pass-rusher and the familiar bevy of dynamic quarterbacks.
Here are the updated MVP odds, beginning with an honourable mention for a pair of prolific receivers.
Honourable Mention: Andre Johnson and Julio Jones
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Julio Jones and Andre Johnson deserve an honourable mention for their efforts in Week 12. Jones again proved that he adds a true vertical threat to the Atlanta Falcons' dangerous pass attack.
That fact is supported by his 883 receiving yards from only 53 receptions. Jones registered six catches for 147 yards and simply dismantled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary.
Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White make the Falcons tick, but it is Jones who defenses truly fear.
The same is true for Johnson, who surpassed 1,000 receiving yards with a superb Thanksgiving showing against the Detroit Lions. The powerful wideout hauled in nine receptions for 188 yards.
The stellar veteran continues to give the Texans' efficient offense their one game-breaking element.
13. Aldon Smith, OLB/DE, San Francisco 49ers
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Aldon Smith remains the most lethal pass-rusher in the NFL. He leads the league in sacks with 16.5. Much like Johnson and Jones on offense, Smith adds a true big-play dimension to the San Francisco 49ers defense.
The rangy rush-end added 1.5 sacks to his season tally as the Niners dominated the New Orleans Saints. Smith was the focal point of a pass rush that kept Drew Brees running from the pocket all game.
Only the uphill struggle faced by defensive players seeking league-wide recognition keeps Smith's odds so low.
12. J.J. Watt, DL, Houston Texans
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J.J. Watt returns to this list after an awesome display against the Lions this past Thursday. The all-action defensive lineman was practically unblockable.
Even routine double- and triple-team efforts weren't enough to stop Watt logging three sacks. He also added two more batted passes to his growing resume.
In no time at all, Watt has become the most important member of Houston's defensive system. However, like Smith, even a defensive player this prolific will have a hard time winning MVP.
11. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
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Like Ray Rice, Reggie Wayne's first appearance on this list is frankly long overdue. The NFL's leading receiver has been magnificent this season.
Wayne's veteran savvy and natural skill set have been invaluable to the Indianapolis Colts' youthful offense. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck owes a great deal of his success to the consistently outstanding efforts from Wayne.
Week 12 saw the 34-year-old torment the Buffalo Bills in an eight-catch, 102-yard effort. That takes Wayne's season numbers to 84 receptions for 1,105 yards.
Receivers also face a battle trying to scoop this award. However, Wayne's legitimate candidacy is not only a feel-good story, it is also merited thanks to superb production.
10. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
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There are players with bigger numbers, but Ray Rice is certainly the Baltimore Ravens' most valuable player. After all, what could be more valuable than a player who gets his team 30 yards on a 4th-and-29?
Rice is the Ravens equalizer against any defensive scheme. He is an intelligent and varied runner who has so far amassed 794 rushing yards and seven scores.
He also remains a vital receiving outlet...just ask the San Diego Chargers. Rice has 404 yards from 48 catches.
For years, the Ravens have been waiting for Joe Flacco to be their franchise leader and primary weapon. Here's a useful tip: Stop waiting and just put the ball in Rice's hands.
If the Ravens do that, not only will their chances of a Super Bowl increase, but so will Rice's MVP odds.
9. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
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Arian Foster deservedly returns to this list after consistently delivering as the engine for the Texans offense. Foster rushed for 102 yards against the Lions, his second 100-yard effort in three weeks.
Complaints about his 4.0 average are not entirely unreasonable, but he is the main focus for every defense he faces. Only Foster's intelligence, instincts and deceptive acceleration allow him to still pile up the yards despite all the attention.
As one of the few true workhorse running backs left in the league, Foster more than merits MVP consideration.
8. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
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Just like Foster, Adrian Peterson has to overcome being the primary focus of every defense he plays. Thankfully, Peterson always seems up to that challenge.
In Week 12, he averaged six yards a carry against the Chicago Bears' stout defense. Peterson finished with 108 yards from 18 attempts.
That gives him 1,236 yards for the season, easily the league's best mark. Only his position and the challenge the Minnesota Vikings face making the playoffs keeps Peterson's odds so low.
7. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
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Drew Brees sees his odds dip after a mauling from the 49ers' dominating defense. He will remain in the MVP conversation due to his league-leading 31 touchdown passes.
However, like it or not, the MVP award is usually given to star members of winning teams. The Saints face a tall order making the playoffs after slipping to 5-6 and with a difficult remaining schedule.
Brees can certainly steer his team back into contention, but he now likely needs a herculean effort to secure MVP.
6. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
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Just what would the Washington Redskins record look like without Robert Griffin III? Even with his 22 touchdowns, they are still only 5-6.
Griffin sparked another dominant showing from an offense he has personally transformed into one of the league's best. Only Redskins fans can truly appreciate the difference in excitement whenever the offense takes the field compared to recent seasons.
That's down to Griffin, as he proved with four touchdown passes to bury the Dallas Cowboys. That marked his second straight game with four scoring throws and is enough to improve his MVP odds.
5. Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
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He has such a strong supporting cast that Matt Schaub is often overlooked in the Texans success. However, in the last two games, the 31-year-old has been anything other than just a complementary piece.
In Week 12, he followed his 527-yard effort the previous week with 315 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. That was enough to give Schaub 19 touchdown passes and 2,855 yards for the season.
Smart, efficient and a master of the play-action game, Schaub deserves greater respect for his efforts. However, he'll likely continue being labelled as just the fortunate recipient of that strong supporting cast.
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
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Aaron Rodgers' struggles in Week 12 showed what happens to a player without a credible supporting cast. No running game and a porous offensive line left Rodgers at the mercy of the New York Giants pass rush.
He was sacked five times and threw for only 219 yards. He did still manage to throw his 28th touchdown pass of the season.
That mark and his 105.6 rating are enough to keep Rodgers in prime MVP consideration. However, the Packers have to get him better help, and soon.
3. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
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Two more turnovers added to the five he committed in Week 11 leave Matt Ryan trailing in the MVP odds. He threw a pick and lost a fumble against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The growing number of errors is threatening to mar an otherwise excellent campaign. Ryan once again put up big numbers when he managed to protect the ball.
He shredded the Tampa Bay defense for 353 yards and threw his 21st touchdown pass of the season. Ryan was an impressive 26-of-32 against the Bucs, giving him a season-best 81.3 rating.
If he cuts the mistakes, the leader of the 10-1 Falcons could steal a march on those ahead of him.
2. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
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Peyton Manning stays near the top of the MVP odds list after overcoming a stubborn Kansas City Chiefs defense.
Frustrated for most of the game, Manning still threw two touchdowns, propelling the Denver Broncos to a vital road win. However, the win came at a cost, as Manning posted a meagre 59.5 completion percentage.
It was the second consecutive game in which Manning has dipped below his best against an AFC West rival. Yet that shouldn't detract too much from his 26 touchdowns and 3,260 yards.
That statistical excellence coupled with his remarkable comeback from injury makes Manning a prime candidate for MVP.
1. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
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Tom Brady delivered another performance that epitomised efficiency and dynamism all at once. He destroyed the New York Jets defense with three touchdown passes and 323 yards.
Right now, no quarterback in the league is making quicker or better decisions than Brady. He is spreading the ball around decisively and accurately.
Nobody is protecting the ball better either. Brady has thrown only three interceptions.
The New England Patriots have the NFL's best offense, and it functions thanks to Brady's intelligence and acumen. That makes him a strong favorite for MVP after 12 weeks.