As the discussion rages over who the NFL's MVP will be from a field that seemingly only includes Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, it's time to take a midseason look at who each team's least valuable player could be.
While every team has that one player that you would want with you in a close battle, each also has that one player that is holding the team back, whether it be the too-old quarterback or the draft-day bust from a couple of years ago.
Here's a look at each team's Least Valuable Player at midseason.
Oh yeah, and if I had an MVP vote, I'd give it to Peyton Manning. I don't think I need to explain why.
New England Patriots (5-2): Chad Ochocinco, WR
The easiest way to explain this is to say that he really hasn't been there. Ochocinco came to New England to see if he could drink from the same waters that revived Randy Moss for a time. Unfortunately, it appears that Moss was simply talented enough to make a difference. Ochocinco can't replicate that.
Buffalo Bills (5-2): C.J. Spiller, RB
Spiller is one of those draft picks you look back at a couple years later and say, "Oops." He was thought to be either a good tandem back to go with Fred Jackson or a guy who could carry the load and be featured. Spiller has been a backup. Jackson has instead emerged as the backfield star.
New York Jets (4-3): Shonn Greene, RB
Greene could break out. That's what I keep hearing, at least. The problem is that, three years into his career, he's done nothing of major note by himself. He's the weak half of a tandem that features the aging LaDainian Tomlinson. That's not success. That's a bust waiting for the label to hit him.
Miami Dolphins (0-7): Chad Henne, QB
Henne isn't starter material, at least not for a team that doesn't have top-notch talent at every other spot. The Dolphins do not, and Henne wasn't doing well last year or this year before his shoulder injury. It's likely that Miami is "sucking for Luck" and that the Dolphins will put Henne behind them. That's probably the best for both parties.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2): Bryant McFadden, CB
He made a start at the beginning of the year, was awful and then got hurt. That about sums up McFadden, who's gone from starter to special teams guy in about the time it takes to say the word "football." Plus, the guy who replaces him (William Gay) isn't exactly a career starter either.
Baltimore Ravens (5-2): Joe Flacco, QB
This is outside the box. I consider Flacco their MVP as well, but in their two losses (in this division, the losses are each very important) he's been their worst enemy as well. He's just not having a top-notch year, and right now he is what's separating the Ravens from being the best team in the AFC.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-2): Cedric Benson, RB
It's hard to argue with anything the Bengals are doing in the passing game with a rookie quarterback and star receiver. The running game, led by Benson, is not in the same league. Benson is averaging 3.9 yards a carry, but he's not scoring. He has two touchdowns, and his off-field issues are keeping him from playing games. That's me-first, LVP spectacular behavior.
Cleveland Browns (3-4): Peyton Hillis, RB
The mighty have fallen in Cleveland. First, Hillis hasn't run well. Then he got hurt and hasn't seen the field since. He's in a contract dispute with just about zero leverage for a big, long deal. This is the Madden Curse at its finest. Now it's making players play awful and get hurt.
Houston Texans (5-3): Kareem Jackson, CB
I'm just not a fan. He's taken a huge step back from his rookie season, and it doesn't seem like he's even playing if you look at the statistics. He is on pace for two passes defensed, no interceptions and less than 50 tackles. That's not starter material. That's actually not much of a backup at corner either.
Tennessee Titans (4-3): Chris Johnson, RB
Take the money and run—Johnson did. The problem is he hasn't run on the field. He's been stuck in cement or reverse or anything that equals unproductive. He might be the worst starting running back in football right now performance-wise. It's completely unclear why his talent has yielded nothing this year.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6): Luke McCown, QB
He's in the same boat as Bryant McFadden. He started the season on the field, was absolutely horrible and now is riding the bench and carrying the clipboard. Worse, the Jaguars released longtime starter David Garrard with the intent that McCown could let Blaine Gabbert learn. Maybe he learned what not to do.
Indianapolis Colts (0-8): Kerry Collins, QB
I thought about Joseph Addai, but he's produced a little. Collins was paid good money to come in and keep the seat warm for Peyton Manning and keep the team competitive. They're 0-8, and Collins didn't make it out of Week 3, getting concussed by the Steelers. Before that? He was probably worse than he is while not playing (if that's even possible).
Kansas City Chiefs (4-3): Justin Houston, LB
This guy is a rookie, so this is a rough rating. He's got skills, but he's not producing. Teams are even working hard to stop his teammate Tamba Hali. That usually means that the second guy produces a lot too. Houston isn't producing at all. He's holding the Chiefs back at this point.
San Diego Chargers (4-3): Antoine Cason, CB
Philip Rivers is having his worst season ever. That's holding San Diego back, but not as much as the fact that Cason has become a favorite target for opposing quarterbacks. They love to throw his way because he always seems to be letting receivers get open. Keeping that up will ensure that the Chargers stay home this winter.
Oakland Raiders (4-3): Brandon Myers, TE
Last year, the Raiders got a ton of production from the tight end position. This year, they're getting nothing. Myers took over for Zach Miller and hasn't earned the right to stay. He's an okay blocker, but he isn't catching anything. The Raiders need more here in an era where athletic tight ends are all the rage.
Denver Broncos (2-5): Knowshon Moreno, RB
Yeah, I could have gone with Tim Tebow, but he's too young and is the victim of a square peg, round hole fit. Moreno has just not lived up to his draft-day billing. He was a great college runner, but he hasn't done anything in the NFL. He's being outplayed now by guys we've never heard of before.
New York Giants (5-2): Brandon Jacobs, RB
This team is pretty even, but it didn't re-sign Jacobs to be hurt and ineffective. Right now, he's gone from starter the last few years to an afterthought. He's basically a short-yardage back only at this point. Ahmad Bradshaw has taken the starting job.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4): Ronnie Brown, RB
The Dolphins let Brown go for Reggie Bush. That should've been a sign. The Eagles tried to deal him to Detroit for another, lesser-known running back but couldn't because that player was injured. Brown hasn't been effective in an offense that is centered on running the ball. What's he doing at running back if he can't run?
Dallas Cowboys (3-4): Felix Jones, RB
So this is why the Cowboys nixed Marion Barber? Jones is injury prone (he could get hurt putting a shoe on) and ineffective. DeMarco Murray—a nobody until now—has almost twice as many yards on about half the number of carries, and he makes Dallas dangerous. Jones? He's on his way out too.
Washington Redskins (3-4): John Beck, QB
No, I'm not going to beat on Rex Grossman. At least he could win a game or two. Beck can't even move the offense. He took nine sacks in one game from a team that had four others during the previous six games. Any doubts? The Redskins need a new quarterback, and I'm not talking about Brett Favre or any other retreads.
Green Bay Packers (7-0): Ryan Grant, RB
How do you pick someone on a perfect team? You pick the guy with the least production. Grant fits that bill. The Packers aren't moving the ball on the ground very well. Grant is a huge part of that. The thought was that he'd be healthy finally. He is, but he isn't doing much with that health.
Detroit Lions (6-2): Jahvid Best, RB
This is a tough call. I like Best. He's tough and has a ton of heart. He just hasn't been very effective. He's a guy who's good for the big play, but not the consistent threat. I'm not saying it's time to give up on him, but he's not the best running back right now, and his injuries are holding back the offense.
Chicago Bears (4-3): Roy Williams, WR
This isn't even close. Williams hasn't produced since his first couple years in Detroit. He's supposedly a possession receiver, but he doesn't possess the ball very much. His catches are celebrated like touchdowns because they've become so rare. A touchdown from him is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Minnesota Vikings (2-6): Donovan McNabb, QB
He's making a habit of this after so many years of being a team MVP. The biggest telltale sign is that Christian Ponder, as a rookie, has made the offense move and has made big strides with his receivers. McNabb wasn't doing that. He was stuck just like he was last year in Washington. We may be looking at the end.
New Orleans Saints (5-3): Olin Kreutz, C
He quit. I don't care about the whole reasoning about losing his passion. He wanted better money. When the Saints didn't pony up for an aging center, he walked out. That's a quitter, and that is the least valuable player in the entire NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3): Aqib Talib, CB
This is another team where it's hard to pick out a truly bad player, but Talib's statistics don't match his skills. He's playing across from an aging Ronde Barber and is being outplayed by a guy who's been around for over a decade. That's not good press. Talib needs to get better, or his off-field issues will be all we remember.
Atlanta Falcons (4-3): Dunta Robinson, CB
Robinson is like Talib, a guy who's starting without producing. His statistics include no turnovers forced. That's bad news for a defense that is crying for a big-play defender in the backfield. Robinson got a decent contract to go to Atlanta, but he's rewarded the Falcons with a paltry tackle total and nothing else.
Carolina Panthers (2-6): DeAngelo Williams, RB
Williams isn't producing. The best runner on the team is rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Williams isn't even the best running back on the team. Right now, Jonathan Stewart is the better all-around back. Williams' lack of success is hard to explain. He's on pace for less than 1,000 yards.
San Francisco 49ers (6-1): Michael Crabtree, WR
Crabtree was a first-round pick who sat out his rookie year way too long and then wasn't able to justify himself as being a top pick in the first place. That's where we're at right now. He's not even the first- or second-best receiver on the team. He's probably their third- or fourth-best guy. That's bad.
Seattle Seahawks (2-5): Tarvaris Jackson, QB
I won't give it to Charlie Whitehurst because he's not getting starter's money. Jackson is, and he's about as good of a starter as John Beck. He doesn't throw well, he isn't accurate and his running ability is lost because he scrambles more than he takes off. He's just bad and getting paid very well for this lack of skill.
Arizona Cardinals (1-6): Kevin Kolb, QB
I wrestled with this, but he's doing less with more than a lot of guys have. He has a top-five receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, a great tight end in Todd Heap, an improving runner in Beanie Wells and some intriguing receivers vying for time. All he's done with that is be worse than mediocre. Oh yeah, and he's getting a ton of money too.
St. Louis Rams (1-6): Sam Bradford, QB
This is rough because Bradford is one of my favorite young players, but he's having an awful year. He's been hurt for a lot of it. He's been mostly ineffective when he's played. He doesn't have a lot of weapons, but he is in a better place than last year and is doing less with more. He needs to step up once he's better.