The 2014-2015 NFL regular season is drawing to an end and while several top tier Quarterbacks and players from the 2013-2014 NFL season have been missing in action, there have been a only a couple of elite players who look to make the NFL Most Valuable Player race a close and competitive contest. To say the MVP race is fluid is an understatement but we have a large body of work to look at already. In fact, some on the staff of Sports Unbiased have already weighed in here.
It’s true that the season is not over yet but it is time to deliver a list of the top NFL players who have performed at the highest level in the National Football League this season. These players will make the NFL MVP race a close one down to the wire.
1 – J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
I know it might seem odd to not list a quarterback on top in the NFL MVP race. I would also not be surprised to see Watt overlooked by the voters but he is having a special year, heck an MVP worthy year. I am sure many will say that the Texans are not a playoff team and that he lacks the impact of a quarterback but can you imagine where the Texans would be without Watt. He is currently third in the NFL with 16.5 sacks. Watt also has three forced fumbles, one he returned for a touchdown, and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He has also lined up on offense, catching three passes for touchdowns in 2014. He has, by far and away, the most combined hits and pressures of any counterpart in the NFL. The man lines up wherever he is needs and impacts the snap. It been 40 years since a player from a non-playoff team won the award. That streak needs to end this year.
2 – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The fortunes of the Green Bay Packers are directly tied to the performance of their quarterback. It is true that he was less than stellar against Buffalo but at the same time he has been incredible this year. He will easily throw for 4,000+ yards and has an insane 35-5 touchdown to interception ratio. His 111.2 rating leads all NFL quarterbacks while also completing 64 percent of his passes. As if leadership and an arm are not enough, Rodgers has rushed for 255 yards. His first instinct is not to run but if it is needed he will pick up a first down.
3 – DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
He has a comfortable lead in rushing yards and is all but a lock to lead the league in that category. With 1,606 yards (300+ ahead of second place) and nine touchdowns, he had cemented himself as the top NFL running back this season. For all the Tony Romo and Dez Bryant talk, this team will go as far as DeMarco Murray will take them. He is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 123.5 yards per game this season. He has even thrown in 53 receptions for 392 yards to show he can catch the ball as well. He found a way to stay healthy this year (well from an NFL point of view anyway) and that has paid dividends.
4 – Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
The youngster continues to prove he is the real deal and has cemented himself as the face of the franchise in Indianapolis. He is missing something that many teams have, a running game behind him. With teams scheming against his arm, Luck leads the league with 4,492 yards passing. He also leads the NFL in touchdowns with 38. It is true that he has 14 interceptions but when he is forced to air it out and defenses know it is coming then he deserves a bit of a pass. Also not a run first quarterback, he has scrambled for 268 yards and three touchdowns so far this year.
5 – Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
These are not the Steelers that your dad grew up watching. This brand of Steeler football will fire the pigskin all around the field. This is made possible by their signal caller. Roethlisberger is second only to Andrew Luck in passing yards at 4,415. He has thrown 29 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions and is willing the Steelers into the playoffs this year. It is true that he has Bell in the backfield, which helps, but it does not take away from his ability to extend plays with his legs and make something out of nothing. He is a hardnosed guy playing in a hardnosed city.