Peyton Manning Has Massive Lead in Quest to Win 5th MVP

Richard LangfordCorrespondent INovember 6, 2013

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 27:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos changes the play during a game against the Washington Redskins at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 27, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Peyton Manning is having a season for the ages, and as things stand at the halfway point, no other player can lay claim to being this season's MVP.

Manning, who last won the MVP award in 2009 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, is already the only player to win that award four times, and unless his production suffers a healthy drop-off, he is going to win a fifth.  

There is far more that goes into selecting an MVP than stats. However, when the stats are as overwhelmingly dominant as Manning's, it is almost impossible to look in any other direction: 

Manning also leads the league in QBR and passer rating.

His 119.4 quarterback rating is higher than any he's posted for a season other than his remarkable 2004. In that season he threw 49 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and his rating was only slightly higher than it is now at 121.1. That mark is the highest rating for a season in NFL history. 

There's more. Manning is on pace to set the single-season record in passing yards and touchdowns...by a lot. 

Drew Brees holds the record for passing yards on the strength of the 5,476 he threw for in his epic 2011 season. Manning is on pace to throw for 5,838 yards.

As for touchdowns, he is set to rip the record back that Tom Brady stole from him when he threw for 50 in 2007. Manning is on pace to throw for 58.  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Denver Broncos defeated the
Elsa/Getty Images

The slacker doesn't lead the lead in completion percentage, however: 

Before we start bashing Manning for his inefficiency in this area, it is worth noting that Drew Brees set the single-season record for completion percentage back in 2011 at 71.23.

The presentation of all of these stats is not to suggest that Manning only has individual numbers to help him claim another MVP. That is far from the case.

The Broncos are 7-1 and only the Kansas City Chiefs have a better record. Manning's leadership ability has also never been questioned. He works hard and inspires his teammates to try to be perfect.

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Bronco directs wide receiver Eric Decker #87 of the Denver Broncos against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 13, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Obviously, there is a lot of football to be played and projections are no guarantee on final numbers. Manning and the Broncos also don't face the easiest of schedules when it comes to the pass defenses they face: 

Denver Broncos Remaining 2013 Schedule
WeekOpponentPass Def. RankingYards Allowed Per Pass Rank
10at San Diego Chargers2731
11Kansas City Chiefs33
12at New England Patriots138
13at Kansas City Chiefs33
14Tennessee Titans714
15San Diego Chargers2731
16at Houston Texans15
17at Oakland Raiders2527
Source: TeamRankings.com

Still, Manning has built up a nice cushion in this race. 

The way I see things, quarterbacks Drew Brees and Andrew Luck along with running back Jamaal Charles are his most serious competitors for this award. 

Brees has led the Saints to a 6-2 record and in most seasons, his 21 touchdowns and 2,672 passing yards at the midway point would have him in the lead for this award. This year, he's not all that close to the top. 

In Indianapolis, Luck has the Colts at 6-2 and the second-year quarterback is making big plays at the right time. However, his 1,845 passing yards and 13 touchdowns leave him miles behind the man he replaced. 

As for Jamaal Charles, I think he has the best shot at overtaking Manning. Not only does his team have a better record, but the Chiefs and Broncos will play twice. If the Chiefs win both while Charles shines and Manning struggles, he would be tough to overlook. 

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 3: Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

As it is now, his 725 rushing yards, 389 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns in nine games is impressive, but not enough to beat out Manning. 

In fact, in 2009 Manning, won the MVP the year Chris Johnson set the NFL record from yards from scrimmage. Johnson received a total of zero votes for MVP that season. 

At 37, Manning is turning in what could very well wind up being the best season of his career. While there is a still a lot of football left to be played before we start debating that, there is no debating Manning is hands down the MVP of the first half of the season. 

 

Records via NFL.com