Peyton Manning Audible

Five players leading the MVP race

1) Peyton Manning: Manning is looking for his fifth MVP award this season, and he's off to a great start once again, despite Denver's struggles to keep pace with top-tier teams in the league. The Broncos currently rank 4th in passing yards per game, up from 31st a season ago under Tim Tebow. To cap it all off, Manning trails only Aaron Rodgers in touchdown passes at 14 this season, and he's only thrown four interceptions all season. The Broncos have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, and it's due to Peyton Manning, making him my pick for league MVP.

2) Tom Brady: An MVP list wouldn't be complete without throwing Tom Brady's name into the pile. Brady ranks second in yards per game, and he's only thrown three interceptions this season, good enough to tie for fourth best in the league. With Brady, the tangibles are only one part of the equation. Even though they're in a four-way tie at the top of the AFC East, do you really get a sense that the Patriots won't win the division? Along those lines, what happens to the Patriots' outlook if Brady goes down with an injury? Yeah, he's extremely valuable.

3) Percy Harvin: The Minnesota Vikings are in a log jam near the top of the NFC North, and a huge part of their success has been the resurrection of their offense, especially their passing game. Harvin is currently averaging 90 yards per game receiving in 2012, up nearly 30 yards from a season ago, and he's quickly established himself as Christian Ponder's safety blanket. It's always difficult for receivers to get into the MVP discussion, but Harvin has planted himself firmly on this list.

4) Ben Roethlisberger: The Steelers have an offense capable of putting six points on the board on any given play, but it's an offense almost no quarterback in the NFL could succeed in. Roethlisberger has thrown ten touchdown passes and only two interceptions so far this season, and he's done it all while running around like a chicken with his head cut off. The Steelers offensive line is, well, offensive. They consistently allow pressure to reach their quarterback, but he finds a way to turn should-be-sacks into monster gains. He's probably the only player in the NFL that could run that offense effectively, and he makes it look easy much of the time.

5) Aaron Rodgers: The Green Bay Packers finally looked like their old selves last weekend when they put on a clinic against the Houston Texans. The Packers' struggles haven't been on Rodgers' shoulders, and he's done his part in keeping his team in the playoff hunt, throwing a league leading 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. Rodgers trails only Robert Griffin III and Christian Ponder in completion percentage. The only factor holding him down at number five on this list is that he's suffered 23 sacks, second only to Kevin Kolb. All things considered, Aaron Rodgers is the reason the Packers are still in the playoff race.

Shane Clemons

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.

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