MVP Breakdown: Tom Brady Leads, but It's a Tight Field

By Jason Lisk

Ten games into the season, and several teams and quarterbacks are surging. Last year, I did a historical MVP comparison and the race was clear: It was Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady, and then everyone else.

In that, I had looked at several individual and team categories to see which ones were most tied to a high ranking by the eventual winner. For example, pass attempts doesn’t matter at all. Interceptions don’t matter (some were near the top but others were closer to average). Completion percentage is not a strong factor.

The seven categories most indicative were: (1) adjusted net yards per attempt; (2) passer rating; (3) team win total; (4) pass touchdown rate; (5) total touchdowns; (6) yards per attempt; and (7) team total points rank.

Almost every MVP averaged being in the Top 5 in those categories.

So here are this year’s candidates:

Tom Brady is the only one in the top 5 in each category. He leads in the two key indicators, Adjusted Net Yards and Passer Rating. Carson Wentz, meanwhile, leads the league in touchdown passes, overall team scoring, and the Eagles are 9-1. However, he ranks lower (8th) in Yards per Attempt and outside the top 3 in the top two categories.

Jared Goff is not likely to garner as much support, even though the statistical profile is there. Drew Brees is surging. His biggest issue right now, from the standpoint of past MVPs, is the low TD total. If he can get closer to the top 5 in that category he has a chance. Alex Smith is faltering after a hot start.

Keep an eye on both Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson, though I think their teams would have to surge to the playoffs to get in the mix, and that’s not certain now.