Superstars Galore: Making The Case For Several NFL MVP Candidates
Heading into week 11 of the NFL season, there's still a cloud of uncertainty hovering over the NFL, along with its players.
The superstars we have grown to be so accustomed to are now slowly fading away before our own eyes.
The 2011 return of Brett Favre seems more than doubtful, Tony Romo is sidelined for the majority of the season, Peyton Manning's play has slowed down considerably, and the T.O.-Ochocinco show has been a lackluster attempt at success.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Patriots have shown their guts, Clay Matthews and the Green Bay defense has dominated everything in sight, and Arian Foster has run away with the league's most rushing yards.
Still, the question remains: Who deserves the MVP through 10 weeks?
Let's find out.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
[31 tackles, 1 FF, 1 INT, 10.5 SACK]
Leading the league in sacks (10.5), the former USC walk-on has really shown us what an all-purpose linebacker can do for an NFL team.
Even with injured linebackers Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga out for the rest of the season, Matthews has shined in every game thus far for the Packers.
Green Bay's defensive coordinator Dom Capers has benefited most from Matthews' breakout season, and the Packers defense is one of the most feared in the entire league.
Leading the 13th-overall ranked defense in the league has vaulted Matthews to more than respectable heights within the NFL community.
Should Matthews continue his dominance, expect his name to be mentioned with the some of the best linebackers today: Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, etc.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
[735 yards, 9 TD, 56 REC, 13.1 yards/catch]
Tied for the league-lead in touchdown receptions (9), Nicks is making his presence felt within opposing secondaries. In just his second year in the NFL, Nicks is already getting the recognition he deserves.
Nicks owns the sixth-most receiving yards in the league (735), along with having one of the better YAC (yards after the catch) of all wide receivers.
With surprisingly improved Eli Manning leading the way for this second-ranked New York Giants offense, Nicks will certainly get the looks he's wanting.
Harry How/Getty Images
[2,176 yards, 17 TD, 98.8 RAT, 196 CMP, 4 INT]
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are arguably the best coach-quarterback combo in NFL history, and the 2010 season has showed us exactly why Brady should be considered for MVP.
Coming off his worst day of the year, Brady was brilliant against the Steelers, completing 30 of 43 for three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Brady guided the Pats to a decisive victory in a hostile Pittsburgh environment Sunday night, once again proving he and New England are still a force yet to be dealt with.
Owning the least amount of interceptions this season (4) among all quarterbacks that have started every game, Brady has only added to an impressively surprising synopsis.
Brady also has the league's eighth-best completion percentage (64.1), along with attaining one of the league's least amount of interceptions (5).
This first-ballot Hall of Famer is far from done.
Bob Levey/Getty Images
[920 yards, 10 TD, 5.3 yards/att, 172 ATT]
Easily the league's most surprising offensive breakout player of 2010, Texans running back Arian Foster may be sprinting his way to the MVP award.
The dream season all started in a Week 1 home match-up against the Colts, rushing for 231 yards on 33 attempts, to go with three touchdowns. The Week 1 performance is now credited as being the best opening day performance by a starting running back.
Since then, Foster's numbers have slowed started to level off. However, Foster has run for over 100 yards in five separate games. Impressive numbers for a guy who didn't start a game last season.
Foster's numbers top those from the likes of Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and Frank Gore.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
[2,944 yards, 19 TD, 102.9 RAT, 215 CMP, 8 INT]
The best quarterback on one of the most disappointing of teams, Philip Rivers has launched himself to MVP-caliber play in 2010.
Leading the league in yards (2,944), yards per game (327.1), and touchdowns (19), Rivers certainly deserves credit for the work he has been able to do thus far this season.
If not for Antonio Gates' injury problems, along with Vincent Jackson's suspension, Rivers could be well over 3,300 yards in just nine games.
Should the 4-5 Chargers pick things up and make the playoffs, Rivers' résumé may be too impressive for voters to overlook.
Warren Little/Getty Images
[968 yards, 6 TD, 48 REC, 20.2 yards/catch]
Definitely the dark horse of the bunch, but certainly able to take the award home by the end of the season.
Brandon Lloyd leads the league in yards (968), along with being tied for third in touchdowns (6). Overlooked and underappreciated by many, Lloyd and the Broncos' passing attack is ranked second in the league, behind only Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
If Lloyd keeps it up, his current yardage pace may be too much for anyone else to catch.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
[2,265 yards, 16 TD, 91.9 RAT, 212 CMP, 5 INT]
Leading arguably the NFC's best team into a Week 11 match-up with the Rams, quarterback Matt Ryan has made a name for himself in Atlanta, and the entire league.
Ryan is tied for third in the NFL in touchdown passes (16), has one of the best TD/INT ratios in the entire league (3:1), and is 12th in the league with a 91.9 QB rating.
Help from future All-Pro Roddy White has significantly contributed to the development and confidence of an already maturing Ryan, and Tony Gonzalez also has attained three of Ryan's touchdown passes.
Should the Falcons go deep into the playoffs, Ryan may get the serious MVP consideration that nearly all of us have expected of him.
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
[757 yards, 4 TD, 10.1 yards/att, 139 ATT]
McFadden, third-year back out of Arkansas, is now one of the biggest reasons for the resurgence of the Oakland Raiders in 2010.
Leading the league in yards per game (108.1), McFadden is surprisingly leading the MVP-race within the AFC West.
Although only playing in seven of the Raiders' games so far this season, McFadden has gone over 100 yards in four of those games.
Including two games in which McFadden rushed for both 145 yards, and 165 yards, the dazzling Oakland back is now getting MVP consideration...and rightfully so.
With the Raiders now leading the AFC West, McFadden will have many opportunities to prove his worth, even beyond what he has already been able to accomplish.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
[2,663 yards, 16 TD, 93.9 RAT, 248 CMP, 4 INT]
We'll just throw him in for good measure.
Make no mistake, Manning is always in MVP discussion, and this season is no exception
Though the Colts have looked more vulnerable than ever, they still lead the AFC South at 6-3. Manning's play has been crucial in how the offense runs, and how it develops over the rest of the season.
Winning the last two MVP's will obviously give Manning good recognition as we progress into the second half of the season.
Manning ranks 10th in the league in yards (2,663), second in completions (248), seventh in completion percentage (64.2%), and third in yards per game (296).
Come playoff time, Manning will more than likely show us all just why he is a two-time MVP.