Top 2013 NFL MVP Candidates

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning

Dec 12, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Denver Broncos 27-20. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL’s regular season draws to a close, a handful of teams will continue to scrap and claw for the final few playoff spots, while those who have clinched will simply jockey for position and first-round byes. The elevated level of competition definitely makes the final couple weeks of December exciting for the fans and the teams vying for a shot at a title, but individual players also have awards to play for and the most coveted of those is unquestionably the NFL MVP.

While Peyton Manning is undoubtedly the frontrunner for the 2013 Most Valuable Player award, there are several other candidates worthy of consideration. In fact, there are four players we think could snag the trophy away from him. Here are our top five candidates (including Manning) for the 2013 NFL MVP award:

LeSean McCoy

Despite posting three 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his career, LeSean McCoy is one Eagle who seems to continually fly under the radar. However, going unnoticed will be harder for McCoy to do this season, considering he’s leading the league in rushing with 1,343 yards entering week 16. His career-high 217-yard performance in nearly six inches of snow against the Lions in week 14 certainly caught our attention.

As a rusher, McCoy has been electrifying in 2013, but as a receiver, he’s been just as valuable to the Philadelphia Eagles offense, nabbing 45 catches for 507 yards on the season. His dynamic skill set has always been integral to the efficiency of the Eagles, but it’s never been on display more than as part of Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offensive system.

McCoy may have been overlooked in the past when the Eagles were struggling, but with the team sitting atop the NFC East standings at 8-6, this could be McCoy’s year to make a serious run at the MVP award.

Drew Brees

Unlike McCoy, Drew Brees seems to be in the MVP conversation every year and as a two-time winner of the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award (2008, 2011), he knows what it takes to bring home the hardware.

Of course, what it takes are great numbers and a strong team. Once again, Brees has both this season, as his New Orleans Saints are currently 10-4, thanks in large part to his 4,500 passing yards (second in NFL) and 34 touchdowns (also second in NFL). He has also thrown just 10 interceptions this season – the fewest he’s tossed since 2009 (11).

His impressive statistics aside, Brees’ value to his team is really what gives him a solid chance at winning his first Most Valuable Player award. Few would argue that if you were to remove Brees from the Saints, they simply wouldn’t be the same deadly scoring machine.

Calvin Johnson

Amazingly, no wide receiver has ever won the NFL’s MVP since the inception of the award in 1957, but if there was one pass-catcher we could choose to become the first it would be Calvin Johnson. Statistically, Johnson isn’t enjoying the best season of his career, but with the Lions relevant and competitive again at 7-7, 2013 could be the best shot Megatron has at receiving the award.

However, that’s not to say that Johnson’s numbers haven’t been awe-inspiring. With 1,449 receiving yards (second in NFL) and 12 touchdowns, Johnson has continued to dominate at his position. We’ll just have to wait and see if it’s enough to garner him some well-deserved accolades at the end of the year.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson may not be the league’s best quarterback in any one particular category, but as an overall player, Wilson seems to have it all. There’s no doubt the 12-2 Seattle Seahawks wouldn’t currently own the NFL’s best record without him.

Wilson has successfully followed his breakout rookie season with an even more complete campaign in 2013, throwing for 3,077 yards and 24 touchdowns, while tossing just eight interceptions through 14 games. Add in his 508 rushing yards, intangible leadership qualities and ability to perform in the clutch, and you have an extremely valuable player. But is he the league’s Most Valuable Player? Members of Seattle’s 12th Man would surely say yes.

Peyton Manning

There are many players enjoying successful seasons, but Peyton Manning might be in the midst of a historic one. With 4,811 passing yards and 47 touchdowns through 14 games, Manning has a real chance to break Brees’ single-season record of 5,476 yards and Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50 touchdowns. However, even if Manning doesn’t reach those all-time marks, 2013 will still go down as his best individual season.

As the league’s only four-time MVP winner, Manning is already the most decorated individual player in the league’s history. Considering he’s having his best statistical season and his Denver Broncos are riding high at 11-3, logic says he’ll take home another Most Valuable Player trophy. But with two more weeks for other contenders to make a major impression, we’re not ready to hand him number five just yet.

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Did we leave your favorite player off the list? Who do you like for the 2013 NFL MVP? Let us know in the comments.

 

Daniel Johnson, since graduating from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism, has worked as a professional freelance writer and copywriter for a multitude of websites and print publications. Follow him on Twitter @UODanJohnson to see more of his work, which covers sports, gambling, film, television and music topics.
3 comments
Ronny Travato
Ronny Travato

I BELIEVE THAT IS WORTHY OF THE mvp honor...despite what the others do

Ronny Travato
Ronny Travato

Named to his 12th Pro Bowl (starter) to represent the most by a quarterback in NFL history. • Became the first quarterback to make a Pro Bowl after missing the previous year because of an injury, and the first signal caller to make 10 consecutive Pro Bowls in seasons he played. • Led his team to at least 12 wins for an NFL-record 12th time in his career and the eighth time in his last nine seasons under center. • Directed Denver to 11 consecutive wins by at least seven points, tying for the second-longest streak all time. • Passed Dan Marino for the second-most victories by a starting quarterback (154), trailing only Brett Favre in that category. • Set franchise season records for completions (400), passing yards (4,659), completion percentage (.686), touchdown passes (37) and passer rating (105.8). • Named AFC offensive player of the month for October after completing 77-of-104 passes (.740) for 951 yards with nine touchdowns and just one interception (126.7 rating). • Threw his 400th touchdown pass in Week 1 to become the fastest player in NFL history to that milestone (209 games). • Set a Broncos season record with 37 touchdown passes to represent the second-most passing scores in his career. • Threw at least three touchdown passes in eight games to pass Favre for the most career games (73) with three or more touchdown passes. • Threw for at least three touchdowns in five consecutive games (Games 4-8) to tie for the third-longest streak in league history. • Threw for at least 300 yards in a team-record nine games to tie a personal best. • Set a Broncos record with five consecutive 300-yard passing outputs (Games 3-7). • Joined Steve Young (1998) as the only players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in four consecutive games (Games 5-8). • Recorded 10 games with a 100-plus passer rating to set a franchise record for one season. • Owns 13 consecutive games with a 90-plus passer rating to tie for the second-longest streak of all time. • Completed at least 70 percent of his passes in a team-record nine contests. • Engineered three game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime to become the NFL's all-time leader in that category with 48. • Notched his 12th 4,000-yard passing season (most all time) in addition to his 14th 3,000-yard passing season (second all time). • Passed Marino for the second-most completions (5,082) and the second-most touchdown passes (436) in league history.

Ronny Travato
Ronny Travato

can't see anyone taking this award but peyton,he's is having a historic season.THE BEST PURE REGULAR SEASON QB IN NFL history