Why Rivers leads the MVP race

LANDOVER, Md. -- There's a new leader in the MVP race. Philip Rivers, listed before the NFL season as a 50-1 shot at Bovada to win, has rocketed to 4-1 odds and overtaken Peyton Manning as the betting favorite entering Week 6. Anyone inclined to protest should first watch a three-hour video presentation starring Rivers and his San Diego Chargers against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.

Rivers became the fourth quarterback since the 2013 opener to beat Seattle, but he also produced the highest passer rating and Total QBR score against the Seahawks during that time. It was close to a perfect game against a defense unaccustomed to giving much ground. And it's a leading reason for Rivers topping my list of MVP candidates to this point.

Late Monday night, I solicited MVP insights from cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas in the Seahawks' locker room following their 27-17 victory over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. They faced Aaron Rodgers, Rivers and Manning in their first three games. Sherman and Thomas split their votes at the top, with one favoring Rivers and the other taking Manning. I've sprinkled their thoughts into my ranking of the six leading candidates.


1. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (4-1 odds)

On pace for: 4,618 yards, 38 TDs, 6 INTs

"Rivers is playing great football, and he is playing with a team a lot of people did not expect to be as good as they are, to be executing like they are," Sherman said in casting his early vote for Rivers.