NFL 2021 MVP Watch: Aaron Rodgers still ahead of Tom Brady, with Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp up close


We’ve completed the first 16 weeks of the 2021 NFL season, which means it’s time again for our weekly record on the MVP race. We have used and will continue to use this space over the last few weeks of the regular season to take the temperature of our rotating panel of experts, trying to get a sense of who is in the lead, who is in contention, who is hanging on the sidelines, and how these bands change from week to week.

Each of our experts has been invited to submit their ranking of the top five MVPs. Five points were awarded for a first place vote, four for a second place vote, three for a third place vote, two for a fourth place vote and one for a fifth place vote.

We are now in the home stretch of the campaign, and the image is solidifying. It looks like we have a two-man race at the top between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, with a whole bunch of candidates vying for the negative votes. It remains to be seen whether or not any of them have a chance to derail the party.

Without further ado, let’s vote …

The panel of voters: Jonathan Jones, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, John Breech, Jared Dubin, Jordan Dajani, Bryan DeArdo, Cody Benjamin, Josh Edwards, Chris Trapasso, Tyler Sullivan, Jeff Kerr

The complete ranking of MVPs

1. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (55)

2. Buccaneers QB Tom Brady (44)

3. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (24)

4. WR Cooper Kupp Rams (19)

5. QB Invoices Josh Allen (15)

6. QB Chiefs Patrick Mahomes (9)

7. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (5) *

8. Bengals QB Joe Burrow (4) *

T-9. Rams QB Matthew Stafford (1)

T-9. TJ Watt Steelers (1)

* New to the list this week

Abandoned: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, Chargers QB Justin Herbert, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray

Most first place votes:

  • Aaron Rodgers (9 of 11)
  • Tom Brady (2)
  • Cooper Kupp (1)

Most second place votes:

  • Tom Brady (7)
  • Cooper Kupp (3)
  • Aaron Rodgers (2)

Greater number of ballots:

  • Aaron Rodgers (12 of 12)
  • Tom Brady (11)
  • Jonathan Taylor (8)
  • Cooper Kupp, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes (7)

Positional representation:

So who will really win?

Rodgers is both our poll leader and a big betting favorite. Caesars Sportsbook lists Rodgers odds at -170, with Taylor and Brady lagging behind at +700 each. The only other players with odds above 50 to 1 are Mahomes (+900), Allen (+1200), Prescott (+1800), Kupp (+2500), Burrow (+4000) and Stafford (+5000).

We’ve been saying for several weeks that the NFC seed race will play a major role in determining who ultimately wins the MVP, and it still seems likely to be the case. Rodgers and the Packers are currently in charge, and if they win their last two regular-season games (against the Vikings and Lions), it’s hard to see anyone else top him in the vote.

However, if the Packers falter, it could open the door for someone else. Specifically, the Cowboys have the best chance of taking control of the No.1 seed in the home stretch, due to their possession of the conference record tiebreaker. If Prescott plays something from a distance like he did against the soccer team on Sunday night, against the Cardinals this weekend and the Eagles in Week 18, leading Dallas to the No.1 seed, he could jump into the mix.

Should Dallas lose either of their two games as well, Brady and the Buccaneers could grab the No.1 seed, possibly pushing him back past Rodgers after being knocked off his perch last week. The Chiefs are in contention for the AFC’s No.1 seed, and if Mahomes continues to play the way he has over the past few weeks, he might actually be in the best position to take the award away from Rodgers. .

Of note, Taylor is now tied with Brady for second best odds at Caesars, although it is extremely difficult to see a running back from a team that finishes second in his own division win the title. by MVP. (If the Titans beat the Dolphins on Sunday or the Texans in Week 18, they’ll win the AFC South.) Stafford and Kupp’s fortunes in the race seem somewhat tied, as Stafford is unlikely to succeed unless that the offensive does not pass. Kupp, as he did for much of the year. If Burrow and the Bengals beat the Chiefs on Sunday, there could be a surge of support for the second-year quarterback based on his one-year ACL return, the monster game against Baltimore last week and the dethronement. of a probable Super Bowl competitor.

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