13 players in contention for NFL MVP at the halfway point of the season, ranked

  • At the halfway point of the NFL season, race for MVP is still wide open.
  • 13 players have emerged as potential contenders for the award, with four quarterbacks at the top of the list currently running as clear favorites.
  • With half of the season left, there's still plenty of time for things to change and another player to break out and shock the league.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Through nine weeks of the NFL season, the race for MVP is still wide open.

As things stand, 13 players — 11 quarterbacks and two running backs — have emerged as potential contenders for the award.

At the top of the list stand four quarterbacks who have a clear advantage over the rest of the players in the race, but depending on what happens through the final eight weeks of the season, things can change fast.

Below are the 13 contenders for NFL MVP this year, ranked by their chances of taking home the award. MVP odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

13 PHOTOS
NFL MVP favorites halfway through the season
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NFL MVP favorites halfway through the season
13. Carson Wentz

MVP odds: 50/1

Why he could win: Wentz certainly has an uphill battle if he's to win MVP this season, but some missed opportunities from past games indicate that this Eagles team is better than their record suggests.

Dropped passes from Eagles receivers in games against the Falcons and Lions cost the team two potential wins. Had those games flipped, Philadelphia would be sitting at 7-2 heading into their bye week and likely seen as one of the top teams in the NFC.

If the Eagles can go on a run through the second half of the season — during which they'll play the Patriots, Seahawks, and the Cowboys — Wentz could put together something magical and win the award he was so close to winning in 2017.

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
12. Matthew Stafford

MVP odds: 50/1

Why he could win: The Detroit Lions have lost four of their past five games and will likely miss the playoffs, but if they can turn their season around in the second half, Matthew Stafford could build a case toward winning MVP.

Stafford is leading all passers with 312 yards per game through the first half of the year and is on pace to throw for 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns — numbers that in any other year would have someone at least in the conversation as the league's most valuable player. As things stand, the Lions aren't good enough for Stafford to take home the trophy, but a 7-1 or 6-2 run through the second half of the year could change that.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
11. Dalvin Cook

MVP odds: 29/1

Why he could win: Of the last 13 NFL MVPs, 12 have been quarterbacks, so the likelihood of a running back taking the honor feels minuscule. However, if Dalvin Cook can maintain the pace he has been on, he could find himself in the running late in the year.

Cook is averaging 137 total yards per game and has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in five of the Vikings nine games and ran for 98 yards in another. In 2012, Adrian Peterson became the last running back to win MVP after rushing for 2,097 yards. Cook would need to at least match that to have a chance of winning.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
10. Kirk Cousins
 

MVP odds: 40/1

Why he could win: Cook's chances of winning MVP might take a hit should his quarterback, Kirk Cousins, continue to play well. After a tough start to the year that saw him get called out by both his teammates and opposing defenses, Cousins hit his stride in Week 5, starting a three-game stretch over which he threw for 977 yards, 10 touchdowns, and just one interception, leading the Vikings to three straight wins.

With the loss of Adam Thielen, Cousins chances of putting up the numbers necessary to win MVP take a big hit. However, if he can stay hot for the rest of the season while some of the other quarterbacks cool off, and if Minnesota can come back to win the NFC North, Cousins could work his way into the conversation.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
9. Tom Brady

MVP odds: 26/1

Why he could win: We've all heard this one before, but as long as Tom Brady is still playing in the NFL, chances are he's not too far off from winning MVP.

At 42 years old, Brady is on pace to throw for 4,500 yards and 27 touchdowns and is leading the Patriots towards what looks like another certain AFC East title and likely AFC Championship appearance. While his MVP chances take a hit with the Patriots loss to the Ravens, it's tough to doubt Brady's odds of winning an award he's already taken three times in his career.

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
8. Jimmy Garoppolo

MVP odds: 25/1

Why he could win: The San Francisco 49ers are the only undefeated team remaining in football at the midway point of the season, and while most of the credit for their hot start has gone to their stout defense, the play of Jimmy Garoppolo is also worth mention.

Through eight games, Jimmy G has been rock solid, but far from explosive. Garoppolo is completing 70.8% of his passes — a mark that's good for third in the NFL — but averaging a meager 225 yards per game. He's doing enough for the 49ers to win but has yet to go out and win games on his own.

Still, MVP voters can't give this award to the entirety of the San Francisco defense. If the 49ers continue their undefeated run through the regular season and Garoppolo begins to light up the box score a bit more, he'll start to garner some MVP buzz.

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
7. Dak Prescott

MVP odds: 15/1

Why he could win: Dak Prescott's performances this year have ranged from mediocre to brilliant. While the Cowboys loss to the lowly New York Jets stands out as a bad mark on his record, Prescott's play through the rest of the year more than makes up for it.

Through eight games, Prescott is completing 69.6% of his passes for 298 yards per game — both among the top five in the NFL. Like others in this middle tier, Prescott would need some other quarterbacks to drop off a bit in production for him to become a contender in the MVP race. Still, with at least three of his final eight games being played in front of a primetime national audience, he'll have plenty of opportunities to make his case.

(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
6. Patrick Mahomes

MVP odds: 11/1

Why he could win: The reigning NFL MVP made a solid case to win the award again at the start of the year, keeping up his blistering pace to lead one of the most dangerous offenses the modern NFL has seen.

An injury that caused him to miss the past two Chiefs games makes Mahomes' path to repeating as MVP more difficult, but if any player in the league has the talent to prove he's the best in the world despite playing in just 14 games, it's him.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
5. Christian McCaffrey

MVP odds: 14/1

Why he could win: As a running back, it's more likely Christian McCaffrey will instead take home "Offensive Player of the Year," which has, in some recent years, served as the de facto award for non-quarterback MVPs.

But McCaffrey is putting up numbers that give you a reason to believe he could take home the prize, averaging more than 110 rushing yards per game and scoring 10 touchdowns to help sustain the Panthers as a threat to make the postseason despite the loss of quarterback Cam Newton.

If McCaffrey can keep up his wild pace as a rusher and receiver, and keep finding the end zone at such an impressive clip, it might be hard to deny him the award.

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
4. Aaron Rodgers

MVP odds: 5/1

Why he could win: The Packers' baffling loss to the Chargers in Week 9 might have bumped Aaron Rodgers' odds down a bit, but he's still one of about three players in the NFL that makes at least two "How the hell did he do that?" plays per game.

That might not be a precise statistic, but don't worry — the box scores back up Rodgers' case as well. Rodgers has thrown 17 touchdowns on the season to just two interceptions and has jumped out to a 3-0 record against an NFC North division that was considered one of the toughest in football heading into the season.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
3. Deshaun Watson

MVP odds: 5/1

Why he could win: In an all-in year for the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson has been as good as the team could have hoped.

Completing 70.2% of his passes for 270 yards per game, and with 18 touchdowns to just five interceptions, Watson's case for MVP is clear. If he can help the Texans steal a first-round bye in the postseason as one of the top two teams in the AFC, he could easily be the favorite to win the award.

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
2. Lamar Jackson

MVP odds: 3/1

Why he could win: After the 2018 NFL Draft, you could have probably gotten good odds that Lamar Jackson would be the first of the five first-round quarterbacks drafted to join the MVP conversation, but that's where we stand halfway through the 2019 season.

Beyond the statistics, Jackson's ability as both a rusher and a passer adds a new dimension to the Ravens offense that forces opposing defenses to play off its back foot, as was evident in their dismantling of New England in Week 9. 

With games against the Texans, Rams, and 49ers still on the horizon, Jackson will get his shot at a few more of the best teams in the NFL. If he can keep his play up through those tough tests, Jackson will likely end the season as the MVP favorite.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
1. Russell Wilson

MVP odds: 3/1

Why he could win: Russell Wilson has always been brilliant, but his numbers this year have transcended close to other-worldly.

Wilson leads the league with 22 touchdowns and has thrown just one interception through nine games this season. His quarterback rating of 118.2 is the highest in the NFL. And with the addition of Josh Gordon to the Seahawks receiving corps that already included Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, it's possible his numbers only improve through the second half of the year.

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
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Now check out how your favorite team stacks up at the halfway point of the season with our NFL Power Rankings...

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