Updated NFL MVP Odds After Week 15
The updated NFL MVP odds after Week 15 see some movement at the top. Last year's winner is improving his claim for a repeat.
Elsewhere, Adrian Peterson continues to dominate the running back field, but he is joined by the star of a 12-2 team. Perhaps the most significant change is the inclusion of a rookie quarterback at the expense of two others.
Here are the updated MVP odds after Week 15, beginning with the fate of the top two picks from this year's draft.
Honorable Mention: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
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Being forced to sit out Week 15 is the reason Robert Griffin III dropped from the list. However, the drop is only a temporary one.
Griffin missed the chance to pad his impressive stat line and play his part in the Washington Redskins' eighth win. That victory, led by rookie Kirk Cousins, put the Redskins closer to the playoffs.
They are in the playoff picture thanks to Griffin's superb performances.
Player with Declining Odds: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
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Trying to escape J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans defense took its toll on Andrew Luck. It also dented his MVP hopes.
Getting the Indianapolis Colts to nine wins is a commendable achievement and Luck deserves much of the credit. His 20 touchdown passes and 3,978 passing yards can't be easily dismissed from the MVP conversation.
However, 18 interceptions and a modest 75.5 passer rating are enough for the 2012 first overall pick to fall off the list.
9. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
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Russell Wilson deserves his first inclusion on this list. The third-round pick propelled a tough Seattle Seahawks team to 9-5 and enjoyed a monster game in Week 15.
Wilson accounted for four touchdowns in the Seahawks' dismantling of the Buffalo Bills. He threw his 21st touchdown pass as a rookie and ran for three more scores.
Wilson has defiantly rejected arguments about his 5'11" frame, with superb performances since Week 1. He has passed for 2,697 yards and only nine interceptions. The ex-Wisconsin star has also rushed for 402 yards.
He's a long shot, given the name reputation of other quarterbacks on this list. However, Wilson is a viable candidate for MVP consideration.
8. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals offense would be nowhere without A.J. Green. The dynamic second-year flanker expands the entire playbook for offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
His big-play threat opens up the underneath passing game for Andy Dalton and rushing lanes for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Dalton will work the underneath, but when he gets in trouble, he will go long to Green.
That's because no cornerback can compete with Green's size and long-striding speed.
He caught his 11th touchdown pass of the season in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Green's 85 receptions and 1,208 yards are key factors in the Bengals' nudge toward the playoffs.
7. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
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Arian Foster is the essential part of the Houston Texans offense. In Week 15, Foster recorded his sixth 100-yard rushing effort of the season.
He allowed the Texans to rebound from their drubbing from the New England Patriots a week earlier. His 165 yards flattened the nearest division rival, the Indianapolis Colts, and helped the Texans earn the AFC South crown.
Foster also improved his season average to 4.0 yards a carry. This has been a major point against his MVP consideration for many readers.
Being a running back and overshadowed by the brilliance of Adrian Peterson still makes Foster a long shot.
6. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
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Another week and another dominant performance from J.J. Watt. The star of the defensive end position sacked Colts quarterback Andrew Luck three times and made 10 tackles.
Watt now has 19.5 sacks for the season. Double and triple teams can't stop him. He is simply taking over games.
Defensive players don't usually scoop the MVP award. However, Watt is making it harder and harder to overlook his incredible season.
5. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
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Matt Ryan was almost flawless against the defending Super Bowl champions in Week 15. He dissected the New York Giants' secondary in spectacular fashion, with the highlight being three touchdown passes.
Ryan averaged 9.6 yards a pass, showing that his flair for the big play has returned. He missed only five of his 28 throws against Big Blue.
Were it not for the exceptional performances of others, Ryan would be higher on this list.
4. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
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It is becoming a chore coming up with new ways to praise Adrian Peterson. He is simply putting together a truly remarkable season.
His astonishing efforts continued in Week 15. Peterson destroyed the St. Louis Rams in a breathtaking 212-yard performance.
That was Peterson's second game out of three with more than 200 yards on the ground. It was also his ninth-straight game with 100 yards or more.
That's a stat that is impressive and obscene all at once. It's not as if defenses don't know how Peterson is going to attack them.
Yet no defense seems capable of stopping him. That's the greatness of the player.
Competing for an award usually dominated by quarterbacks hurts Peterson's MVP chances. As does being such a strong candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year award.
Were it not for those two factors, Peterson would be a certainty for league-wide MVP.
3. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
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Being swarmed on by the San Francisco 49ers sees Tom Brady's MVP odds slip just a little. The Niners' powerful defense sacked Brady three times and forced him into a pair of interceptions.
Despite the beating he took, Brady also managed to engineer a furious 28-point comeback. It's the true quality of Brady to take a defense's best shots and still make plays.
That's the sole reason why the New England Patriots are never out of a game. However, Week 15 was a rare occasion where Brady was outdone by his competition.
2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
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Aaron Rodgers could be the NFL's version of the Big Lebowski. No matter how many of his receivers are injured or drop passes, or how many sacks he suffers, Rodgers, like the Dude, abides.
In Week 15, he completed the Green Bay Packers' relentless pursuit of the NFC North title. Rodgers dominated the Chicago Bears' fierce defense.
Under heavy pressure, Rodgers still managed to throw for three scores. He has now thrown for 32 touchdowns this season.
That's despite missing receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson for significant time. He also has no running game to rely on and plays behind a line that has surrendered 45 sacks.
To deliver 3,588 passing yards and produce a 104.7 rating under those circumstances is a special achievement. It's one that pushes Rodgers closer to retaining the award he claimed in 2011.
1. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
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Peyton Manning reclaims top spot after a solid performance on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Manning fired his 31st touchdown pass of the season and broke the 4,000-yard mark.
This is the 12th time in his career that Manning has surpassed 4,000 yards through the air. He wasn't spectacular against the Ravens, but his performance encapsulated ruthless efficiency.
Manning didn't throw an interception and directed the Denver Broncos offense with clinical precision. That's enough to make him this week's favorite for MVP.