Early-season MVP: Cool Brees or rolling Rivers?
The Saints' Drew Brees is headed for a record season, but the Chargers' Philip Rivers is the league's top-rated passer.
- James Lang/US PresswireDrew Brees is on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season mark of 5,084 yards passing.When you debate MVP candidates, the conversation inevitably turns to quarterbacks. So forgive us, Tennessee D-tackle Albert Haynesworth. You're having an excellent season (five sacks) for the NFL's stingiest scoring defense and only unbeaten team, but we can't include you in this conversation. A pair of quarterbacks from 3-3 teams frame this debate.
Saints QB Drew Brees: Move over, Dan Marino?
Anyone challenging a Dan Marino record should be a lock for the MVP award. That's why Drew Brees is the clubhouse leader for that honor after six weeks.
Weigh InWhat do you think, SportsNation? Vote on each Hot Read debate.
Brees not only is challenging Marino's record of 5,084 passing yards but is ready to shatter it. The Saints' quarterback is on pace for a 5,315-yard season by averaging 332.2 passing yards a game. Even more amazing is that he has been doing it mostly with backup receivers. Marques Colston, David Patten and tight end Jeremy Shockey have been sidelined with injuries. But Brees has been on fire.
Marino set the standard for quarterbacks in 1984, throwing for 48 touchdowns and 5,084 yards. Peyton Manning topped him with 49 touchdowns in 2004 and won the MVP award. Tom Brady threw for 50 touchdowns last year for a Patriots team unbeaten in the regular season. He won the MVP award.
Although the Saints are only 3-3, Brees can't be blamed for a lack of clutch field goal kicking. He had the Saints in position to win two more games, but Martin Gramatica missed field goals. (Gramatica has since been put on the injured reserve list.)
Brees' numbers are staggering. He's completing 71 percent of his passes and averaging 8.9 yards an attempt. He's a master of making the right reads and getting rid of the ball. He has attempted 224 passes but has been sacked only six times. At 29 and on a roll, Brees should win the MVP award in a breeze.
-- John Clayton, ESPN.com senior writerStan Liu/US PresswirePhilip Rivers leads the league in passer rating at 109.4 and is tied for the lead in TDs with 14.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers: In total commandNew England Patriots. Although the Chargers as a whole have been inconsistent, Rivers has been outstanding all season. At 26, he is becoming one of the game's best all-around players. With key offensive players LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Nick Hardwick, Marcus McNeill and Chris Chambers dealing with injuries this season, Rivers still has led the offense beautifully. Rivers, who is coming off a torn ACL in his knee suffered in the 2007 postseason, has among the best individual numbers in the NFL despite the team's issues. His passer rating of 109.4 leads the league. His 14 touchdown passes is tied for the league lead, and he has thrown only four interceptions.
This is your NFL MVP.
-- Bill Williamson, AFC West blogger
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Manziel inks endorsement contract with Nike
- Report: Sharper admitted sex not consensual
- Peterson lobbies for Vikings to sign QB Vick
- Bears say thanks, tell Hester he won't return
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- Nike Toddler Home Game Jersey New Orleans Saints Drew Brees #9
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free-Agent Tracker