TAKE YOUR PICK WHO WILL WIN THE NFL’S MVP AWARD?
A. Drew Brees — The New Orleans slinger leads the league with a 109.4 passing rating (4,130 yards, 33 TDs, 11 interceptions) and has the Saints (13-1) one victory away from clinching home field throughout the playoffs. Brees definitely was the favorite before Saturday night’s pedestrian performance in a home loss to the Cowboys.
B. Peyton Manning — The Indianapolis QB just keeps climbing the career passing charts with one superb performance after another for the 14-0 Colts. Manning (4,213 yards, 33 TDs, 15 interceptions) almost certainly will become just the fourth passer in NFL history to eclipse the 50,000-yard barrier next week against the Jets.
C. Chris Johnson — Tennessee’s running back has astounded over the second half of the season, rushing for an average of 141.8 yards in the Titans’ last eight games. Tennessee has turned its season around behind Johnson by winning seven of those eight. Johnson leads the NFL in rushing yardage (1,730), yards a carry among backs with more than 100 totes (5.7) and yards a game (123.6 yards). With two more big games, Johnson has a chance to become just the sixth player in NFL history to break the 2,000-yard rushing barrier.
D. DeSean Jackson — Along with Johnson, the Eagles’ versatile game-breaker is the NFL’s ultimate home run threat. Jackson has accumulated 1,636 yards and 11 TDs on 90 touches this season and leads the NFL in yards a reception (19.4). His eight TDs of 50 yards or more ties the NFL’s single-season record.
Our take — First of all, Jackson isn’t in the same category as the other three — he simply doesn’t have MVP touches.
Brees looked like a lock a month ago, but both Manning and Johnson have turned the MVP race into a dead heat. If Johnson breaks the 2,000-yard barrier, he will have managed a more impressive individual accomplishment than either Brees or Manning. But the Titans’ 0-6 start and pedestrian overall record (7-7) works against Johnson, particularly given the fact that both Manning and Brees are likely to finish well inside the top-10 in single-season passing yardage.
Right now, it’s tough to take Brees over Manning for two reasons: First, Manning has been sacked half as many times (10 to 19). And second, Manning’s team is perfect. Throw in the fact that Manning might be the planet’s most marketable star thanks to Tiger Woods’ downfall, and Manning is likely to win the award if the Colts go undefeated.
HE SAID WHAT?
“We’ve gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking, and that’s why I’m glad I’m not coaching. You’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation, and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”
— Bobby Knight blistering Kentucky’s John Calipari