Patrick Mahomes appeared to be running away with his second career MVP award, but the Chiefs losing against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday has flung the door wide open in the race for the NFL's most coveted individual honor. These seven players -- don't worry, KC fans, Mahomes is very much among them -- have stood head and shoulders above the rest this year, and should be right at the forefront of the discussion for the 2019 MVP trophy.
7. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Some still doubt that Lamar Jackson can ever be an elite passer, but he's proven that he can be a franchise guy that can help a quality Ravens team claw out some tough wins. Jackson has continued to make plays with his legs and his arm (his second half last week against Pittsburgh not withstanding) and has the Ravens off and running as they take on the Bengals next week at 3-2.
6. Buccaneers OLB Shaquil Barrett
Hear us out for a moment! Although Shaquil Barrett was held without a sack last week, he is still on pace for 29 (!) sacks this season, as he has nine in his first five games. Tampa Bay isn't very good, and a defensive player hasn't won the MVP award since Alan Page in 1971, but Barrett is by far and away the frontrunner for defensive player of the year, and should get some MVP consideration if he's anywhere close to Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22.5 sacks.
5. Patriots QB Tom Brady
If you take away the Bills, the one opponent that made the Patriots break a sweat, their four opponents this season (Jets, Redskins, Dolphins, Steelers) have a combined one win between them. Their Charmin-soft schedule knocks Tom Brady down a few pegs in these rankings, but he's still playing his usual mistake-free brand of football and has the Patriots at the top of the football world at 5-0. TB12 once again belongs in the conversation.
4. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey's breakout season has seen him pile up more yards from scrimmage than Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley COMBINED. The Panthers have reeled off three straight wins with Kyle Allen at quarterback, but it's McCaffrey that has unlocked the strongest potential in Norv Turner's offense. The Panthers should keep charging towards the postseason if Allen stays hot and McCaffrey continues to put up mind-boggling numbers.
3. Texans QB Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson had one of the top single-game passing performances in NFL history against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, as he threw for 426 yards while throwing as many touchdowns (five) as incompletions. Even with a horrid o-line outside of Laremy Tunsil, Watson has continued to produce, and he has announced his arrival as one of the truly great quarterbacks of his era.
2. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Just because Mahomes and the Chiefs fell at home doesn't mean that it's the end of the world. Pat's still leading the NFL in passing yards by a wide margin, and has 11 touchdowns passes to his name without throwing an interception. The Chiefs will continue to have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league as long as he is under center, and their parade of talented skill players should make him and MVP candidate in perpetuity.
1. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
On a team that doesn't throw the ball all the time, and is coached and coordinated by two guys in Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer that definitely don't want to live by the passing game, Russell Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular this year. he looks just as effective without Doug Baldwin outside, as the likes of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf have allowed the Seattle offense to take flight. Wilson's showstopping play (14 TDs in five games) and 4-1 record should put him at or near the top of every MVP ranking this year.