Just when you think he can’t do any more to sow up his inevitable MVP selection, Aaron Rodgers goes and has that drive against the Giants. The ease of it almost made you forget how clutch he was once again as the Packer continues to put forth one of the greatest seasons a quarterback has ever had.
One of the voters in our MVP awards race sees it as such an open-and-shut case that he attempted to return a ballot that featured Rodgers as his top 10 choices. In a competition where second place is joint last, he might be onto something.
Instead he, like all the analysts, had to fill in their Top 10 before I collated the results in the final edition of our MVP preview before we deliver the real thing at the end of the season. No. 1 is a foregone conclusion, but what about the rest? Let’s see.
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
I’m never one short on words, but what can I tell you about Rodgers that you don’t already know. If he’s not a unanimous selection then someone has some explaining to do.
2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
You kind of take for granted just how good a player Brees continues to be. Already over 4,000 yards and with a real shot of breaking the single-season mark for passing yards, in most years this would be enough to get him the top spot. Not so in 2011, but his level of play has me licking my lips at a potential rematch of NO @ GB in the playoffs.
3. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Strange as it may be, Brady is doing a lot more post snap than he was a year ago. Teams have certainly made it harder for the Patriots to beat them, but Brady has risen to the challenge and now has a chance to right the wrongs of postseasons past (the last two anyway), with a likely playoff appearance.
4. Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos
This is how much we rate the Broncos rookie, especially after seeing how Denver and their defense gave up a hatful of points to the Vikings without him on the field. Right now, there really isn’t a pass rusher like him on the field. The only question now is how does his thumb injury impact him?
5. Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
Didn’t feature on one ballot but garnered recognition for his excellent start to the season that seemed to put Buffalo on their way to something more meaningful. Lost for the year, he’s not going to get any higher than this.
6. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
Where would Detroit be if it wasn’t for Johnson? When you answer that question you soon realize how valuable he is.
7. Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
Was breathtakingly good at the start of 2011 but has had some issues in recent weeks. Has his detractors who say he gets away with too much contact, but simply put, there isn’t another cornerback with his level of talent.
8. Justin Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers
After the 49ers beat the Giants, it became cool to acknowledge how good Smith is. Better late than never I suppose, as Smith has been doing this for years now. Is he the star player on a 49ers defense filled with talent? They don’t have a player like him who can contribute to shutting a running game down while getting to the QB relentlessly.
9. Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
Watching the Colts have no idea how to cover Wes Welker got me wondering if they’d just given up on the concept. May be the scariest offensive player in the league for some defensive coordinators to go up against; at times uncoverable.
10. Jason Peters, LT, Philadelphia Eagles
Has been near-unbeatable in protection recently while making so many highlight reels blocks in the running game he’s starting to resemble a ‘skill position’ player given the attention afforded him. Our No. 1-ranked tackle is very deserving of it for taking his game to new, consistent levels.