NFL MVP Race: Tom Brady and The Leading Candidates For MVP Heading Into Week 17

Frank Fittipaldi@@Frank_FittiCorrespondent IIDecember 28, 2010

NFL MVP Race: Tom Brady and The Leading Candidates For MVP Heading Into Week 17

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    The 2010 NFL season has been an exciting one with many players having an MVP-caliber year.

    We have seen records broken and some of the most amazing individual performances of all-time.

    Michael Vick returned as a starter this year and has been the most exciting player to watch while Tom Brady has the New England Patriots as frontrunners to win the Super Bowl.

    Falcon's wide receiver, Roddy White, has made a strong case for himself, while his quarterback, Matt Ryan, is showcasing his ability in just his third season.

    Here are the leading candidates for the NFL's most valuable player.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Current Statistics:

    109 receptions 

    1,327 yards

    9 touchdowns

    Roddy White has had a monster year for the Atlanta Falcons, who are currently 12-3. The Falcons look like the team to beat in the NFC and it is largely due to the play of Roddy White.

    White leads the NFL in receptions and is second in the league in receiving yards just behind Broncos' Brandon Lloyd.

    White is making a strong case to be the first wide receiver to win MVP in the NFL.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

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    Current Statistics:

    4,397 yards

    30 touchdowns

    12 interceptions

    I had Philip Rivers ranked higher, but after their miserable loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16, he dropped back.

    The Bengals knocked the Chargers out of the playoff hunt, but Rivers is still having one of the best seasons at the quarterback position this year.

    Rivers is breaking all kinds of Chargers' records and should still be considered for Most Valuable Player.

Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Current Statistics:

    4,436 yards

    31 touchdowns

    17 interceptions

    91.4 quarterback rating

    Along with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning has also had somewhat of a strange season. The Colts are just 9-6 and Peyton Manning has thrown an uncharacteristic 17 interceptions, his most since 2002.

    The Colts' Week 16 win over the Raiders will probably get them into the playoffs, but they still need a win in Week 17.

    Manning leads the league in passing yards with another 4,000-yard season but he is not done yet.

    Also, what is an MVP conversation without Peyton Manning?

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Current Statistics:

    4,424 yards

    32 touchdowns

    21 interceptions

    92.2 quarterback rating

    Drew Brees has thrown the most interceptions in his great career, but he has the Saints at 11-4 and ready to make another run at the Super Bowl.

    Brees' 32 touchdowns are second in the NFL but he must find a way to make less mistakes, especially with the playoffs ahead of him.

    The Saints got a big win Monday night against the Falcons and they will need to hop Drew Brees' back if they want to repeat.

Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Current Statistics:

    3,001 yards

    27 touchdowns

    5 interceptions

    98.8 quarterback rating

    After struggling during his first year with the Chiefs, Matt Cassel has bounced back and proved that he is worth the big contract.

    Cassel has 22 more touchdowns than interceptions and has put up big numbers all season long.

    The Cheifs won just four games last year and have more than doubled that amount this season.

    Cassel's outstanding play has led the Chiefs to an AFC West title.

    No. 7 should be considered for MVP.

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    Current Statistics:

    1,436 yards

    14 touchdowns

    64 receptions

    594 receiving yards

    2 touchdowns

    I know the Houston Texans are not going to make the playoffs, but look at the year Arian Foster is having.

    In just his second season, Foster has become an elite running back in the National Football League.

    Leading the league in rushing yards and touchdowns, Foster has also been a threat catching the football.

    Foster has totaled over 2,000 yards this season and definitely deserves a look to win Most Valuable Player.

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Current Statistics:

    3,469 yards

    26 touchdowns

    9 interceptions

    89.8 quarterback rating

    In just his third season in the NFL, Matt Ryan has taken major steps in becoming a top quarterback in the league.

    All season long, Ryan has led the Atlanta Falcons and made plays when they counted.

    He is not going to put up the biggest numbers, but he is a leader and should be considered for MVP.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Current Statistics:

    2,755 yards

    20 touchdowns

    5 interceptions

    103.6 quarterback rating

    613 rushing yards

    8 touchdowns

    Michael Vick has returned as a starer this season and what a year he has had.

    Vick has 28 total touchdowns and has transformed into a pass-first quarterback instead of the runner we see in Atlanta.

    Vick has made plays with is arm and legs all year and has been the most exciting player to watch in the NFL.

    If it was not for Tom Brady, Vick would win MVP in a landslide. 

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

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    Current Statistics:

    3,701 yards

    34 touchdowns

    4 interceptions

    109.8 quarterback rating

    Tom Brady is having an unbelievable season and has the Patriots as the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl.

    Brady has thrown a league leading 34 touchdowns and has not thrown an interception since Week 6.

    Brady has 30 more touchdowns than he does interceptions, just amazing.

    He is doing this with the likes of Danny Woodhead, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and of course, no Randy Moss.

    Brady should win MVP easily.