RANKED: The top 9 players in the hunt for NFL MVP

  • There are just two weeks left in the NFL season.
  • While Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes have emerged as the favorites to win NFL MVP, there's plenty of candidates who also deserve consideration.
  • Three members of the Los Angeles Rams earned a spot on our list, as did two players who mounted massive comebacks in 2018.

With just two weeks left in the NFL regular season, the race for NFL MVP is in full swing.

With strong years from Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees putting them ahead of most of the field for the majority of the season, there's still plenty of players worthy of a bit of attention and MVP consideration before Week 17 comes to a close.

Below are nine players whose impressive years deserve a nod from MVP voters before a final decision is made.

Top players in the hunt for NFL MVP
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Top players in the hunt for NFL MVP
9. Deshaun Watson

Stats: 3,592 passing yards, 67.7% completion, 24 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 103.2 QB rating

One thing to know: In 2017, Deshaun Watson's insanely hot start captivated NFL fans across the league, and his season-ending injury was one of the biggest blows of a year marked by quarterbacks getting hurt.

In his sophomore campaign, Watson has been just as impressive but has flown somewhat under the radar due to the emergence of Patrick Mahomes, and the Texans slow start to the year. Now that Houston has won 10 of their last 11 games, people have taken notice that Watson is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
8. Russell Wilson

Stats: 3,025 passing yards, 66.3% completions, 31 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 111.6 QB rating

One thing to know: It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Seahawks, but Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson never got the memo. While much of the Seahawks' success can be credited to their NFL-leading rushing attack, Wilson is the magic piece that elevates their offense from good to great.

He's insanely efficient, all but refusing to turn the ball over, and always seems capable of making a big play when it's needed most. Wilson has been one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for some time now, but he's likely still just a bit shy of winning his first MVP award.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
7. Todd Gurley

Stats: 1,251 rushing yards, 59 receptions, 580 receiving yards, 21 total touchdowns

One thing to know: A running back hasn't won the MVP award since Adrian Peterson in 2012, but if one is deserving of the honor this year, it's Todd Gurley.

Gurley is the ultimate every-down back, capable of splitting a gap, getting outside, working within the passing game and even blocking when necessary. He's got 21 total touchdowns on the year and would have even more if not for his selfless play at the end of games.

 (Photo by Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)
6. Andrew Luck

Stats: 3,951 passing yards, 67.3% completion, 34 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 98.4 QB rating

One thing to know: Already a lock for comeback player of the year, Andrew Luck is now deserving of MVP consideration after steering the Colts back from a 1-5 start to the brink of an AFC playoff spot.

The Colts have won seven of their last eight, and should they sneak into the playoffs, will be a team no one wants to face, thanks in large part to Luck and his arm.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
5. Aaron Donald

Stats: 16.5 sacks, 20 TFL, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 34 QB hits

One thing to know: Defensive players winning MVP are as rare as they come in the modern NFL — a non-offensive player hasn't won the award since Lawrence Taylor did it in 1986. That said, Donald's dominance makes him a good candidate.

Donald has a league-leading 16.5 sacks so far this season. He's done that while getting double-teamed on approximately 70% of snaps— by far more than any other player in the NFL. The pressure Donald brings allows the Rams to play like they have an extra defender. There are plenty of ways to define the term "valuable" in MVP arguments, but Donald's presence is undeniable.

 (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
4. Jared Goff

Stats: 4,273 passing yards, 64.5% completion, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 97.6 QB rating

One thing to know: Another key part of the Rams' success this year has been the play of quarterback Jared Goff. While he struggled the last two weeks, Goff's early success had the Rams rolling to an 11-1 record.

Before the loss of wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the Rams offense was one of the terrifying forces in the league, with players that could beat you at every level. With Goff working as the distributor, they quickly became one of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
3. Philip Rivers

Stats: 3,951 passing yards, 69.4% completion, 31 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 112.4 QB rating

One thing to know: Philip Rivers' year might have flown under the radar to some, but after the Chargers' impressive win over the Chiefs in Week 15, people have started to take notice.

In Rivers' 15th NFL season, he is having, arguably, the best year of his career, completing nearly 70% of his passes and limiting his turnovers. If the Chargers win their final two games and wind up as the top seed in the AFC, don't be surprised if Rivers sneaks in to win his first MVP award.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
2. New Orleans Saints

Stats: 3,666 passing yards, 74.9% completion, 31 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 116.8 QB rating

One thing to know: Drew Brees is another veteran in the midst of what might be the best year of his career.

With 18 seasons of experience, Brees seems to have finally figured out the NFL, posting career highs in completion percentage and quarterback rating, and a career-low interception rate. His arm has been as close to perfect as we've seen a quarterback be this season, and should the Saints finish the season with just two losses, Brees winning his first MVP award would be well-deserved.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
1. Patrick Mahomes

Stats: 4,543 passing yards, 67.1% completion, 45 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 114.8 QB rating

One thing to know: Since his first bomb to Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm with his arm. He makes passes with his left hand. He makes passes with his eyes looking the other way. He makes passes that no other quarterback in the league can make and that most fans would have never dreamed.

Rivers and Brees have been two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the majority of their careers, and are possibly in the middle of their best seasons yet. But Mahomes has redefined the parameters of what the position can be in his first year as a starter.

A lot can change in the final two weeks of the season, but if Mahomes can avoid a meltdown and keep the Chiefs atop the AFC heading into the postseason, he should be named the 2018 NFL MVP at the end of the year.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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