Week 16's NFL MVP odds list is dominated by rookie quarterbacks. Three make the list after each boosted their respective chances of upsetting the established order and scooping the award.
The first-year passers are joined by a quartet of experienced signal-callers who continue to dominate the league. The names are familiar, but the order has changed after mixed fortunes in Week 16.
There is also another worthy contender from the defensive side of the ball. This versatile playmaker is one of three second-year defensive studs who still have a shot at the league-wide award.
The NFL's most dominant running back still ranks high on the list, although his odds dip slightly after what was, by his standards, a relatively quiet week.
Here are the updated MVP odds for Week 16, beginning with honourable mentions for a pair of prolific runners.
Alfred Morris deserves more recognition than he is likely to get when it comes time to hand out awards. He will be overshadowed in the rookie honours by his own quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
He is also the longest of long shots for league-wide MVP. However, that hardly seems fair, given the superb season Morris has enjoyed for the Washington Redskins.
He has rushed for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns. Morris has already set one Redskins rookie record and is in sight of two others. That's what you call valuable.
Speaking of value, few players offer more to their team than Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle Seahawks' workhorse is averaging five yards a carry and has amassed 1,490 yards.
Lynch has battered his way to 11 touchdowns and kept defenses honest. His bruising brand of power running offers invaluable assistance to rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
A quiet week for Aldon Smith doesn't detract too much from his otherwise outstanding season. It does, however, dent his MVP odds.
Smith was held without a sack against the Seahawks and notched only one solo tackle. In truth, finding a member of the 49ers who didn't disappoint in Seattle would be a next-to-impossible task.
However, Smith's 19.5 sacks and four forced fumbles on the season are enough to keep him on the fringes of the MVP conversation.
A.J. Green dominated the NFL's toughest defense in Week 16. He caught 10 passes for 116 yards against a unit that ranks first in total yards and pass defense.
Those numbers give Green 95 catches for 1,324 yards and 11 touchdowns. The tall, fleet-footed, second-year flanker is a matchup nightmare for any defensive scheme.
He continues to be the only offensive outlet of note for the Cincinnati Bengals. Green's season of superb displays has this young team playoff-bound.
He will still likely be overshadowed by more award-friendly positions. However, there is no doubt the Bengals own the best young wide receiver in football.
The most complete defensive playmaker in the game was again dominant in Week 16. Von Miller savaged the Cleveland Browns offense, recording 1.5 sacks and making five tackles.
Miller's skill has the Denver Broncos defense playing to the level of their Peyton Manning-led offense. He has been strong in every facet of the game.
Miller is credited with 65 tackles, helping prove his worth against the run. As a pass-rusher, not many can rival Miller's combination of off-the-snap quickness and deceptive, brute-force power.
Those attributes have helped him collect 17.5 sacks after 15 games. He's forced six fumbles, showcasing a knack for the big play. Just for good measure, Miller even has an interception.
Smith is a better pure pass-rusher, and J.J. Watt can do more along the line of scrimmage. However, Miller offers more versatility and playmaking prowess. He is a dream player for any defensive scheme.
If he didn't play with Manning and if defensive players received more consideration, Miller's odds would be higher.
Rounding out the trio of sophomore defensive stalwarts is rampaging defensive lineman J.J. Watt. The Houston Texans may have faltered in recent weeks, but Watt never disappoints.
Against the Minnesota Vikings, Watt was in on three tackles. He also registered a sack and forced a fumble.
He now has 20.5 sacks, putting Michael Strahan's single-season mark still within his grasp. Watt simply can't be blocked by conventional means.
Double and even triple teams aren't working, making Watt the most common cause of headaches among offensive coordinators.
The Texans' recent mini-slump and his position will limit Watt's odds for MVP. However, there is no more deserving defensive candidate.
The Indianapolis Colts have experienced a remarkable turnaround since finishing 2-14 last season, as they have reeled off 10 wins and sealed a return to the playoffs.
A lion's share of the credit belongs to 2012's first overall pick, Andrew Luck. The rookie quarterback has directed a young offense and made every member of it better.
He has thrown for 4,183 yards and accounted for 26 touchdowns. In Week 16, Luck threw his 21st scoring pass of the season.
He also went turnover-free for the second game in a row. That shows a greater degree of efficiency from a player whose 18 interceptions are the only stain on his excellent debut season.
Those 18 picks and his 75.6 passer rating will undermine Luck's MVP chances. However, it's unlikely to be too long before he does collect this award.
Speaking of remarkable turnarounds, only the most optimistic Washington Redskins fan could have predicted a playoff berth in Robert Griffin III's first season.
However, the dual-threat rookie is only one more win away from achieving that. The transformation of Washington's offense with Griffin at the helm has perhaps been more amazing than its improved record.
Griffin returned from injury in Week 16 to help carry the Redskins to 9-6. He won his fourth divisional game out of five by tossing two touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Griffin now has 20 touchdown passes compared with only five interceptions. He also has six rushing touchdowns and 752 yards on the ground.
Griffin has received solid support from an able supporting cast. Even the Redskins defense has helped out in the last four games.
However, Griffin is still the driving force for his team. He will likely be showered with the main rookie awards.
Even if that rules him out of NFL MVP consideration, Griffin will be in the conversation for years to come.
It still defies belief that Russell Wilson lasted until the third round of the 2012 draft. Even dating back to his days at North Carolina State, it was obvious Wilson was an accurate passer and could threaten as a runner.
Well, the Seattle Seahawks are certainly beneficiaries of the rest of the league's reluctance to take a gamble. That's because as well as Lynch and the defense has played, it is Wilson who has inspired the Seahawks to NFC West title contention.
The 5'10" rookie quarterback continues to make a mockery of those who only trust the prototype measurements for his position. Destroying the San Francisco 49ers' vaunted defense in Week 16 moves Wilson ahead of Luck and Griffin on this list.
It's a justifiable move after the ex-Wisconsin star threw four touchdown passes to bury the Niners. Wilson now has 25 touchdown passes this season and has also rushed for four scores.
Accounting for 29 touchdowns and taking the Seahawks to 10-5 has to give Wilson serious MVP momentum. If the Seahawks can swipe the division crown from San Francisco, Wilson's odds will be even better.
A quiet week slightly slows down Adrian Peterson's MVP momentum. He was held to 86 yards on 25 carries by the Texans in Houston.
That meant Peterson only averaged 3.4 yards a carry, his lowest mark of the season. Of course, he still has 1,898 yards, a 6.0 season average and 11 touchdowns, but these are weekly rankings.
More significantly, the Vikings proved they could win a clutch game on the road, without Peterson needing to run for 150-plus yards.
That's not to say Minnesota's game plan wasn't helped by the attention the Texans paid to Peterson. However, even a slight drop, no matter how understandable, could be critical in the race for a quarterback-dominated award.
Tom Brady endured another tough game in Week 16. One week after being stymied for long periods by the 49ers, Brady struggled to get going against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He threw two early and costly interceptions that helped stake the Jaguars into a surprising early lead. That gives Brady, previously a model of efficiency this season, four interceptions in his last two games.
However, despite his problems, Brady, in typical fashion, eventually rallied the New England Patriots to victory. Few quarterbacks have mastered the art of relentless execution quite like Brady.
He can still take what a defense gives him and rebound to make plays. However, there is little room for error in this MVP race.
Brady's odds take a dip thanks to the stellar performances from his main rivals.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are gaining serious momentum, and that should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFC.
Rodgers was at his dominant best in Week 16, inspiring the Packers to 55 points. He accounted for four touchdowns, throwing for three and running in another. His 35 touchdown passes are second best in the league.
Rodgers also boasts the NFL's finest quarterback rating at 106.2. He has thrown for 3,930 yards, with only eight interceptions.
Unlike Brady, Rodgers hasn't been able to rely on a potent running game. Unlike Manning, he hasn't been supported by a dominating defense.
Yet 2011's MVP continues to excel every week. Were it not for the superb recent performances of the next player on this list, Rodgers' odds would be even higher.
Matt Ryan has thrown seven touchdowns and only 15 incompletions from 60 attempts in his last two games. That's enough to put him back at the forefront of the MVP rankings.
As dynamic as he has been, Ryan has also been efficient. He hasn't suffered a turnover in Weeks 15 and 16. Efficient dynamism is Ryan at his best.
Against the Detroit Lions, his four touchdown passes sealed home-field advantage for the Atlanta Falcons. His 31 touchdown passes, 4,481 yards and 100.2 rating could still allow Ryan to swoop in for MVP.
Of course, anyone named MVP would have to do a lot to make a better case for the award than Peyton Manning. Out for a year, Manning's 2012 performances make it seem as though he was never away.
Week 16 was just another dominant outing from the four-time MVP winner. He dismantled the Cleveland Browns with 339 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Thirty-four touchdowns and 4,355 yards are excellent numbers. However, what's most impressive is how Manning has effortlessly returned to his imperious best.
In doing so, he has transformed the Denver Broncos offense from the run-heavy unit it was a year ago. If he gets home-field advantage, Manning can lift the Broncos to the Super Bowl.
Thanks for reading, and happy holidays.