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NFL MVP Power Rankings: Breaking Down the Field After Week 15

A change at the top has really shifted the balance of the MVP race coming down the stretch. Brett Oswalt talks through what this means for today's top betting values and overpriced favorites.
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NFL MVP Power Rankings: Breaking Down the Field After Week 15

It Takes Two to Tango

Aaron Rodgers (+150) 

It does, in fact, take two to tango. In this case, that's two future hall of fame quarterbacks in Rodgers and Brady. Two of the best to ever do it now find themselves duking it out for the league's top individual award late in their illustrious careers. At 38, the one they call A-A-Ron is enjoying one of his best seasons we have seen, as he rates first in the NFL in adjusted yards per attempt, quarterback rating, and defensive-adjusted value over replacement (DVOA), according to Football Outsiders. His Packers, now winners of three straight, are 11-3 atop the NFC North and poised for a top seed and playoff run. If Rodgers doesn't go completely off the rails, it's hard not to envision him winning his fourth MVP.

Tom Brady (+200)

Brady was riding high as the odds-on favorite a week ago, but this past week brought him to a screeching halt. The Saints held him and the Buccaneers scoreless, while Brady himself threw for just 214 yards and an interception. He looked very human, especially after losing a number of weapons. Those same weapons -- Leonard Fournette, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans -- are all out for the foreseeable future, too, so this could be a win-lose situation. On one hand, Brady and the Bucs could suffer, but on the other, this might only amplify what he's doing at his age. If Tampa is able to round out the season with another two or three wins, and Brady puts up some gaudy stats, he might make for a great value at longer odds than A-Rod.

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Running (Back) Hot

Jonathan Taylor (+1000)

A running back? Yes, you're reading that right. While it's true that Taylor was a massive value in previous weeks, what he's done of late has launched him into serious consideration despite the inherent disadvantage that is playing not-quarterback. The Colts star has converted a big workload into 313 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns across back-to-back wins, and in doing so giving him 8 100-yard games to date. As a whole, his season stacks up well against those who have come before him to win this award from the running back position. What more can you say then, "Can we not make this a quarterback-only race?"

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Winning Matters

Patrick Mahomes (+1200) 

It's impossible to say anyone is as hot as Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are right now. Winners of seven straight, they've fought their way to the tippy top of the AFC West, where they sit 10-4. That's enough to place them in a two-way tie with the Packers for the shortest odds to win the Super Bowl after 15 weeks. Mahomes is the driver of the offense, but the team success has largely been a product of the defense's improvement since the addition of Melvin Ingram. As with Brady, he could be without his top weapons this week due to injuries and COVID, so a show-me game against the Steelers could be big. If Mahomes puts up an impressive performance -- either in numbers or comeback mode -- he might climb even further ahead of Week 17.

Matthew Stafford (+1600) 

At 10-4, Stafford's Rams have found the same level of success as the Chiefs in their own conference and division. They are tied with the hot-starting Cardinals in the West, and the first-year Ram has played a big part in that. Stafford has amassed 826 yards and 8 passing touchdowns over the past three games, each of them a win over the likes of the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Seahawks. He is first in adjusted net yards per attempt, second in quarterback rating, and second in passing scores. He's flying a little bit under the radar for all there is to like.

Josh Allen (+2200)

Allen is on the rise, but to get his odds at this level for a guy listed at +1500 elsewhere. That's a mighty bargain there, sir. After all, the 25-year-old is at the head of an 8-6 Bills team that ranks fourth in the league in points per game, as well as the fourth-most passing touchdowns from Allen's cannon of an arm. But if he wants to rise the ranks as a value, he'll have to do more in the stat column in his upcoming games. The Patriots will be a tough immediate test, but the Falcons and Jets should help to cushion his stats ahead of playoff time.

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Crazier Things Have Happened

Justin Herbert (+3500) 

The young signal caller's odds sure have fallen in a week's time -- from +1900 a week ago -- but that doesn't seem completely warranted. Other oddsmakers would agree, too, listing his odds between +2500 and +3200. But the thing is, Herbert's still been impressive despite some off games like Thursday's below-average showing against the tough Chiefs defense. Not only has he thrown for more than 4,000 yards and accounted for 35 total touchdowns, but he is also tied for first in the league with five fourth-quarter comebacks, and second with just as many game-winning drives. Herbert is another QB that could be asked to do a lot in Week 16 given the iffy status of star back Austin Ekeler.

TJ Watt (+12000)

With Cooper Kupp rising the ranks to +5000, Watt is your guy for an unconventional candidate at very valuable odds. Some people would be quick to point out his obvious flaws, such as missing two games due to injury and health and safety protocols, but that's just as much a positive. In a dozen matchups, Watt has racked up 17.5 sacks and is on his way to possibly running down Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 back in 2001, when he did it in 16 games. The impact Watt has had on an otherwise mediocre defense and a team that's struggled offensively at times this year is unmatched by any other defensive player. If you're open to low-risk, high-reward moves, this one's as good as any.

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Brett Oswalt has been writing about sports for five years, has covered everything from the NBA to College Football DFS, and previously served as an editor at numberFire. He is a Senior Workforce Planning Analyst at Highmark by day, and an avid sports fan and girl-dad by night. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Marley, daughter, Aria, and goldendoodle, Braun.


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