Peyton Manning: NFL Studs Who Will Rival Veteran QB for MVP Award

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after the Broncos scored a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Whether you like it or not, Peyton Manning is the hands-down favorite to win the NFL MVP in 2012.

Manning's comeback from multiple neck operations to lead a Denver Broncos team to an AFC West title and a current win streak of eight in a row is undoubtedly impressive.

So are his statistics, as Manning is closing in on 4,000 yards (3,812 to lead the NFL), has tossed 30 TDs to 10 interceptions and boasts a 68.3 completion percentage that ranks second in the NFL (first if you exclude Alex Smith, who hasn't played every game this season).

Manning has surely been the most valuable player to any team in the NFL. Look no further than what he's done for wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and and Eric Decker, who have combined for 138 receptions, 1,987 yards and 16 TDs.

You already know who's getting my vote for MVP, but here are three guys who will give Manning some trouble in the race for the NFL's most prestigious award.



Aaron Rodgers

Injuries have riddled the Green Bay Packers this season and their wins haven't been dominating and over-powering like NFL fans have become accustomed to seeing, but you've got to give Aaron Rodgers some credit.

After a 1-2 start and questions swirling around Green Bay, Rodgers has his Packers tied atop the NFC North with the Chicago Bears due to excellent QB play.

Rodgers ranks first among all QBs in passer rating (105.0) and has thrown for 29 TDs, eight interceptions and more than 3,100 yards.

Aided by a non-existent running game, Rodgers has led the Packers in big wins over Chicago, Houston, Detroit and Minnesota and has turned Randall Cobb into a legitimate threat at the wideout position.

If Rodgers leads the Pack to another division title, his chances of winning the MVP award will increase immensely.


Adrian Peterson

You can't say enough about what Adrian Peterson has done after returning from a torn ACL last year. 

The man isn't human.

Peterson and Manning will be going head-to-head for Comeback Player of the Year, and given AP's incredible season, he'll be in the MVP running as well.

Sporting an NFL-leading 1,446 rushing yards, the bionic running back has scored eight touchdowns, averaged more than 120 YPG, sported a 6.2 YPC mark and has broke off 17 rushes of 20 yards or more.

Minnesota still technically has a shot to make the playoffs—though its chances aren't good—and they have Peterson to thank for it.


Tom Brady

In my mind, Tom Brady is the likeliest candidate to rival Manning for a shot at yet another MVP award.

Not only are his 3,537 yards impressive, but his 25 touchdowns to four interceptions ratio is the best in the NFL, and it comes with a 102.6 QB rating.

At 9-3, Brady and his New England Patriots have already clinched the AFC West division and will be forever attached to Mark Sanchez's butt fumble.

All jokes aside, Brady's performance between Week 7 and Week 12 especially stands out as MVP-like, as he threw 14 TDs and zero interceptions during that span.

With only four weeks remaining in the season, I think these last four games for Manning and Brady will determine who's anointed 2012's NFL MVP.



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