Can Stafford enter late-season MVP discussion?

Stafford Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The NFL is so popular because literally, anything can happen at any point in the season. Carson Wentz nearly went start to finish as the MVP favorite before going down against the Rams. With the unfortunate reality that Wentz is likely out of the running for the award, let’s look at Matthew Stafford’s stats up against some of the leading MVP candidates.

Matt Stafford – Lions

  • 25 Touchdowns
  • 3,920 Pass Yards
  • 9 INT
  • 99.1 Rating
  • 8-6 Record

Stafford has been efficient and at times, the Lions’ only real threat on offense. Detroit has the worst rushing attack in the league, yet Stafford is the highest-rated quarterback on play-action passes. The Lions have been without both of their starting tackles, their right guard and their center for different stretches of the season. Stafford is on pace for his seventh-straight 4,000-yard passing season, nonetheless.

Here are the top MVP candidates from around the NFL.

1.) Tom Brady – Patriots

  • 28 Touchdowns
  • 4,163 Pass Yards
  • 7 INT
  • 104.0 Rating
  • 11-3 Record

Brady is the favorite again at 40-years-old. He has the stats, the wins and his trademark high passer rating to give him an easy nod over pretty much everyone else on this list, other than Russell Wilson. The Patriots got a huge win over the Steelers last week and Brady’s performance down the stretch was impressive.

2.) Russell Wilson – Seahawks

  • 33 Touchdowns (3 Rush)
  • 3,669 Pass Yards
  • 521 Rush Yards
  • 11 INT
  • 94.1 Rating
  • 8-6 Record

Wilson probably has done more for his team than any other player in the league this season, offensively at least. The Seahawks are on track to wind up around 10-6 without much help rushing the ball or protecting Wilson. Also, their usually dominant defense has been decimated by injuries. Somehow, Wilson continues to thrive and make something out of nothing.

3.) Le’Veon Bell – Steelers

  • 1,222 Rush Yards
  • 627 Receiving Yards
  • 10 Touchdowns (2 receiving)
  • 80 Catches
  • 11-3 Record

With the status around Antonio Brown uncertain and Big Ben having another high-turnover season, the favorite out of the Steelers’ big three has to be Le’Veon Bell. Likely to total over 2,000 all-purpose yards this season, Bell has done a little bit of everything from the running back position. Eighty catches for any running back is outstanding, but considering he’s a between-the-tackles runner, it becomes all the more impressive.

4.) Alex Smith – Chiefs

  • 26 Touchdowns (1 Rush)
  • 3,738 Pass Yards
  • 5 INT
  • 105.4 Rating
  • 8-6 Record

Smith already has the most touchdown passes of his career (25) and he has the Chiefs leading the AFC West. It has been a down year for a usually competitive division, but that shouldn’t take away from what Smith has done. Andy Reid moved up to take a quarterback in the first round of the draft and Smith responded with his best season as a quarterback. He just needs to play good football for two more games, while leading his team to the AFC West crown.

After those four, it’s a toss-up between Jared Goff, Kareem Hunt, Ben Roethlisberger and Dak Prescott. For Stafford to separate himself from this group, he will need to have two eye-popping games, which he is more than capable of.

For him to throw 30+ touchdowns and lead this team back to the playoffs given the injuries and general roster deficiencies that the other candidates on this list don’t have to overcome, he would surely be in the discussion. Now, would he win? Probably not, however, you never know what could happen over the next two weeks.

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