MIAMI, FL – There are a substantial amount of contenders in the race to win the NFL MVP award.
However, there are two current standouts that are setting themselves apart from the field.
It has been a tight race for a large portion of the term and this will most likely continue as the regular season begins to wind down.
Early Leaders Heading Into Week 14
Two of leading candidates for the league’s prestigious individual award, based on effective performances this season, are Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott, who is third on the voting list but the highest none quarterback.
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Based on this season, Carr’s performance easily qualifies him for the Most Valuable Player Award.
The fact that he’s been at his best at the most pivotal moments, is a strong indication he’s MVP material.
Carr has helped lead his team to victory in five games in which they have trailed in the fourth quarter.
The 25-year-old has come through for the Raiders during tough situations all year and the pundits believe the former Fresno State QB has to be given the edge because he’s been doing his damage with far fewer weapons than some of the other candidates.
Carr, in his third season in the NFL, has now won as many games this year as he did in his first two seasons combined, stays the stats gurus.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the quarterback has masterminded ten game-winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in the last two seasons, which ties him with Matthew Stafford for most in the NFL during that period.
At the same time, though, Carr’s overall numbers don’t standout with the other MVP-candidate quarterbacks, which could affect him further down the stretch.
Several football analysts also maintain that Carr is the second-most valuable player on his own Raiders team, behind pass-rusher Khalil Mack.
But with eight first-place votes, which values five points each, it’s easy to see how Carr’s managed to build such a dominant lead.
Elliott, 3rd In Points, But Another Strong MVP Applicant
Following Carr, who has tallied 55 points, is Tom Brady, who is trailing by 23 points, but Ezekiel Elliott, the rookie running back for the Dallas Cowboys, needs to be watched closely.
As many would guess, Elliott is the leading skills player in the race for the award, with four of the top five candidates being quarterbacks.
What sets Elliott apart, first of all, is that he has a stellar offensive line that many think should be the league’s MVP.
However, the award isn’t given to a group of players.
In terms of standout stats thus far, Elliot has 71 rushing first downs, which is 18 more than any other player in the league.
The former Ohio State tailback is also averaging 4.9 yards a carry and is also the only player in the NFL with at least 10 runs of 20 yards or more.
Elliott is leading the NFL in rushing yards with 1,285, which is 242 more than second place and has raced home for 12 touchdowns.
As with Carr, football pundits and experts believe the running back is being hampered by the impressive performances of fellow Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott, who he’s been splitting votes with.
Rounding out the top 5 in ESPN’s NFL MVP Poll results were: Brady of the New England Patriots, who is sitting second in the voting with 32 points, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (24) and Prescott (15).
NFL MVP Poll Top Five
Derek Carr QB Raiders (55)
Tom Brady QB Patriots (32)
Ezekiel Elliott RB Cowboys (27)
Matthew Stafford QB Lions (24)
Dak Prescott QB Cowboys (15)
Matt Ryan QB Falcons (10)