Broncos QB Peyton Manning hasn’t been the same since his loss to the New England Patriots.
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Perhaps it’s a result of the incredibly high bar he set for himself in 2013, but the Peyton Manning of 2014 looks very different from the one that broke just about every passing record known to man last season. In two straight weeks Manning has set 4- and 5-year lows in TDs thrown, completion percentage and accuracy. Maybe it’s a blip on the radar, or maybe it’s a sign that the inevitable decline of all QBs regardless of age is beginning to show itself on Manning.
Brett Favre, John Elway and Kurt Warner were able to maintain exceptionally high levels of play into their late 30s – and in Favre’s case even into his early 40s – but all of them knew exactly when their time was up. For Elway it was with another Superbowl win, for Warner it was on a devastating hit following one of the greatest playoff games a QB has ever had, but for Favre it was beaten up and nearly broken. Manning is a sure-fire Hall of Fame QB but sooner or later he will have to acknowledge that even he can’t be the best in the business forever.
Here are the top five NFL MVP candidates heading into Week 15:
Aaron Rodgers – The fact that the argument between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre as the greatest Packers QB of all-time has heated up this week is only another indication that he is having one of the best years in that long and storied franchise’s history.
J.J. Watt – So he’s not likely to win the Deacon Jones Sack Award this year, but the best defense is a great offense, and Watt has contributed as much on offense as almost any member of the Houston Texans. He actually ranks 3rd on the team in total TDs scored.
Tom Brady – Great defense? Check. Great running game? Check. Efficient passing? Check. Yep, Tom Brady will be bringing the Patriots to a 6th Superbowl this year.
DeMarco Murray – Another decent week, another 100+ yard rushing game, this time in a 179-yard performance that puts him just under 400 rushing yards below the coveted 2,000 yards mark with three games left to play. It’s a long shot, but if Murray can run for 394 yards in the final three games (131.3 yards/game) he may have the award all wrapped up
Andrew Luck – Games like the one Luck had against the Browns are why he will be one of the most dangerous QBs to play against in the playoffs. He leads the league in passing yards and is on pace for nearly 5,300. And he WILL go to the playoffs.