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NFL Week 12: Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

Mike SettleContributor INovember 26, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 22:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

They are the few, the proud, and the most wanted players in the NFL.

The Most Valuable Player (M.V.P.) is the highest of individual awards given to the NFL's most prestigious player each season. The MVP award this season is becoming a hot topic considering how many players are playing equally as well as one another. Its time to take a trip down the list of possible MVP candidates and which one might emerge among the others starting this weekend.

Quarterback is always the obvious position of choice each season, and it doesn't stop this year either. QB Peyton Manning has a great chance of winning the MVP award as he has led the AFC's best team, the Colts to an undefeated 10-0 record. Manning, co-winner of the 2003 MVP award along with former QB Steve McNair, has been playing arguably the best football of his career throwing for 21 touchdowns, a career high 69.8 completion percent, along with 3,171 yards passing.

Now you could argue that his 2004 season in which he crushed the record posting a 121.1 QB rating was his best. Although during that season he also had a healthy Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and slot receiver Brandon Stokley, and Dallas Clark.

This season he has managed to still break records while only having Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and a couple of young receivers, Pierre Garcon and even a rookie from BYU named Austin Collie.

This week the Colts play possibly the hardest team left on their schedule, the Houston Texans. If they can over-power Houston, we could see the second team in just three years to go 16-0. If this happens and the New Orleans Saints find a way to slip up QB Peyton Manning could very well be the 2009 MVP once again.

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Now to another Quarterback, Vikings 40 year old QB, Brett Favre may very well be on his way to yet another MVP title. Yes, his fourth MVP title could be in his near future after having to wait over a decade since his last one. Favre has posted career best in nearly every category, including throwing only three interceptions through the entire season. Favre is also breaking personal records having a completion percentage of 69.7, and an NFL high QB rating of 112.1. His 21 touchdowns are only tied for second place behind the great Drew Brees (22).

Not only has Favre improved the play of receiver Sidney Rice and rookie of the year candidate Percy Harvin but his team is sitting at 9-1 thanks to his magical fountain of youth. Minnesota plays their third straight home game this weekend against a familiar foe who is also ranked 27th in the league in passing touchdowns allowed. With another victory for the Vikes we could see Favre move one step closer to that coveted MVP award.

Lets move to another side of the ball. Defensively nobody has been as much of a playmaker as Saints veteran safety Darren Sharper. Sharper has scored three touchdowns off of seven interceptions so far this year along with 12 passes defensed and a 1/2 sack. Sharper also has 317 return yards off his interceptions which is almost as many as former Chiefs starting runningback Larry Johnson had on 132 attempts.

Sharper has been one of the most consistent players during his 13 year career and like Favre has found his own fountain of youth. With his team edging closer to 16-0 what are the chances that the 34 year old safety becomes one of the very few defensive players to have ever won this award?

Last but certainly not least, Titans runningback and speed demon Chris Johnson continues to dazzle fans with his impeccable tackle escaping skills. He may possibly be the most dangerous player in the NFL with the ball in his hands. His 1,242 rushing yards is 211 ahead of the second best rusher Steven Jackson. Johnson has put up a mind boggling 6.2 yards per carry over 199 rushing attempts. At this rate Johnson will end up just a couple yards short of 2,000 rushing yards, not to much what he can do after catching the ball in open space. Although the Tennessee Titans are not quite above .500 yet, Johnson and the resurgence of Vince Young have helped them win four in a row.

Now we can move on to Week 12's most important and intriguing match-ups...

New York Giants (6-4) @ Denver Broncos (6-4)
This Thanksgiving Thursday night matchup will likely be the best of the three which also includes Green Bay @ Detriot and Oakland @ Dallas. With the Broncos RT Ryan Harris out again, The Giants should be able to take full control of the Broncos offense with different blitz packages that include Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck getting at QB Kyle Orton. The Broncos are looking to rebound from a four game losing skid while the Giants have had problems of their own, barely beating the Falcons in overtime to end their own 4 game losing streak. Each of these teams are looking for something to be thankful for and to be able to once again be back in the playoff race.
My pick: Giants win, 27-17

Indianapolis Colts (10-0) @ Houston Texans (5-5)
A matchup between two of the leagues top quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub. The Houston Texans have only beaten the Colts once since joining the NFL as an expansion franchise in 2002. There are three things that Houston must do in order to beat Indy:

1. Control the clock.
2. Make plays passing the ball.
3. Don't turn the ball over. 

So, this doesn't seem like such a difficult task right? The Colts have only allowed a league best seven TD's through the air this year and the opposing QB's have an average rating of only 75.2. Yes they are a different team without all-pro safety Bob Sanders, but they are still very tough to pass against. Not turning the ball over won't be as easy as it sounds either, the Texans star runningback Steve Slaton has turned the ball over 5 times off of seven fumbles.
My Pick: Colts win, 24-23

Kansas City Chiefs (3-7) @ San Diego Chargers (7-3)
You may be wondering why this is considered an important game, while the Chargers are on a red hot streak right now winning five games in a row after crushing the Broncos 32-3 last Sunday, the Chiefs are starting to become just as hot and are a true upset team. After beating Pittsburgh 27-24 in OT last week Kansas City may have found a new groove. Former Chargers receiver Chris Chambers will be looking for some revenge after he was cut by the Chargers just a few weeks into the season, he was quickly snapped up by the Chiefs and now with Dwayne Bowe out with a suspension Chambers is currently the No. 1 option for the red and gold team. The key to this game is who can run the ball with the most effectiveness. If KC can get Jamaal Charles off to a hot start early, it may be a tougher time than San Diego expects.
My Pick: Chargers win, 31-24

New England Patriots (7-3) @ New Orleans Saints (10-0)
This could be the most difficult team the Saints have faced all year and their run at 16-0 will be tested to fullest. The Patriots have won six straight games on Monday night football coming into this week. But that shouldn't stop New Orleans from being able to put up 30+ points on the Patriots. They average an NFL record 36.9 points per game and this one shouldn't be any different. Drew Brees will look to add to his historic Saints record book as this will easily be the game of the week.
My Pick: Saints win, 41-37

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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