NFL MVP 2014-15: Projecting Top 5 Favorites to Win Next Year's Coveted Award
Unsurprisingly, Peyton Manning has just been named the Most Valuable Player for the 2013 NFL campaign, per CBS Sports' Will Brinson. He was the favorite to lock it up since his seven-touchdown explosion in Week 1, and he followed through with arguably the best statistical outing in league history.
However, it’s now time to think about next year and the odds for other candidates to win—even if it’s close to impossible to picture anyone overtaking him at this juncture.
While the sportsbook won’t offer official odds for some time, it’s still a worthwhile endeavor to start planning for next year and consider who might be in the running if Manning is not shattering records.
Let’s take a look at some odds for 2014 and who might have a chance at dethroning the Denver Broncos signal-caller from his perch. Remember, the writer sets these odds and no book is currently offering to take action on the 2014 NFL MVP award.
Odds for Top Candidates
New England Patriots
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints
San Franciso 49ers
Note: Odds were set by the writer.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: 1-2
Manning went bonkers this season, setting records at almost every turn. The superstar signal-caller passed for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns while helping his historic offense breach the 600-point barrier for the first time in NFL history.
It’ll be surprising if the future Hall of Famer isn’t slotted in as a heavy favorite to repeat, especially if his Denver Broncos have a decent offseason and reload with talent to make another Super Bowl run.
While he will turn 38 years old before the 2014 campaign begins, it’s clear that this ageless wonder will still be at the top of his game. He had put up big numbers before, but he just uncorked his best statistical outing and could potentially build on that this coming fall.
There has been plenty of talk about his legacy in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, but it seems that this superstar is still putting the finishing touches on a stellar career.
If Manning wins a sixth MVP award, he will double the mark of his closest competitors—Brett Favre and Johnny Unitas, who have three each. Should he win a Super Bowl this year and potentially next year, it would cement his status as the greatest to ever live.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: 5-1
Tom Brady guided his rag-tag group of New England Patriots all the way to the AFC Championship Game, which was a major success considering he lost his five best receiving options from the prior season.
He deserved a bit of MVP consideration this season, as no run-of-the-mill quarterback could have done what he did with the 2013 New England offense.
While he didn't put up his best stats—racking up just 4,343 yards and 25 touchdowns—he did make a number of big plays when they counted most.
ESPN conducted a poll of players to determine who they would prefer to have under center with two minutes on the clock and the Super Bowl on the line. Brady ran away with a victory—40 percent of the voters chose the Pats quarterback:
Teammate Michael Hoomanawanui told Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston:
It just comes from his experience, 14 years, that control he has over pretty much anyone in the huddle. He just takes over. Obviously, the fact he's done it time and time before helps out a lot, too. That's pretty much the way he goes out and plays each and every snap.
While that might not be consolation for missing out on an MVP award and NFL championship this year, Brady has a good shot at bouncing back and contending for both in his 15th season.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: 5-1
You should expect Aaron Rodgers to come back with a vengeance after an injury-plagued 2013 campaign limited him to just nine games.
While the superstar signal-caller managed to guide the Green Bay Packers back to the playoffs with his heroics in Week 17 against the Chicago Bears—a performance that included his Play of the Year touchdown pass to Randall Cobb—he didn’t have the statistical output to make a dent in the MVP voting.
Rodgers racked up 2,536 yards and 17 touchdowns during the regular season, but he wasn’t on pace to challenge Manning before the collarbone injury that cost him seven games.
However, if he can stay healthy and his receiving corps remains intact, there is a great chance that he can put up the best numbers of his career in 2014.
The 30-year-old is still in the midst of his prime and may have more weapons than ever at his disposal. Due to the injury to Cobb, the Packers were able to involve Jarrett Boykin in the offense. He stepped up in a big way and now joins a stable of reliable targets that also includes Jordy Nelson and James Jones.
While both Green Bay’s marquee tight ends, Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless, are hitting free agency, the team could re-sign one or both or look to free agency and the draft to find more talent.
Either way, this loaded offense is ready to explode with a healthy Rodgers back in action come 2014-15.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: 6-1
This Kansas City Chiefs superstar likely would have had a great shot at taking home MVP honors if Manning had had an average season in 2013.
Jamaal Charles was the lifeblood of the resurgent Kansas City offense in 2013, helping out in all aspects of the attack. He rushed 259 times for 1,287 yards and 12 scores while also doubling as the team’s leading receiver.
The veteran running back hauled in 70 receptions—by far a career high—for 693 yards and seven additional scores, proving he could break a game wide open as long as the team found a way to get him the ball.
Head coach Andy Reid knows how to use a shifty, dangerous weapon like Charles, stemming from his time in Philadelphia with Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy, so it will be interesting to see what else he comes up with for Charles during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Chiefs will hopefully use this offseason to add some additional talent in the receiving corps and open up the passing game for quarterback Alex Smith.
That would give Charles even more opportunity to capitalize, and it’s possible we'll see an even more impressive statistical output in the coming season.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: 7-1
There cannot be a real NFL MVP race unless Drew Brees is prominently involved. The New Orleans Saints stud is always putting up big numbers and setting records with his arm.
Manning broke his passing-yards mark this year, but he’ll be gunning to take back the top spot in 2014. He has to realize his Saints need home-field advantage to have a chance at making the Super Bowl and must do everything in his power to make that happen.
That often indicates numerous touchdown drives and big throws from the veteran signal-caller. Brees did that all season long in 2013, throwing for 5,162 yards and 39 scores in the process.
Had Manning not been at his absolute best, Brees might have made a case to be MVP. However, his achievements were overshadowed by the best quarterback’s best year.
The 35-year-old won’t take that lightly and may come out firing in 2014, aiming to cobble together his finest campaign as the twilight of his career approaches.
Brees understands he doesn’t have many opportunities left to win another championship, so helping New Orleans win games while putting up huge stats is imperative.
He’s worth some consideration when the books start taking bets for the 2014 NFL MVP.