NFL

2013 NFL MVP: Top 10 Candidates Heading Into Week 16

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Top 10 NFL MVP Candidates - Week 15 Edition

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The NFL season is winding down, which means that the races for individual awards are heating up. The biggest award is of course the MVP, which technically goes to the player who is the most valuable to his team, but many would argue that it just goes to the best quarterback on the best team.

There's no denying that the award has become nearly QB-exclusive in recent years. Five out of the last six winners have been QBs, with Adrian Peterson being the only non-QB to win in that time frame. It basically takes a season like AP's in 2012 to overtake QBs in the MVP race. Peterson nearly made history and had to amass over 2,000 yards rushing to take home the coveted award.

But when you really think about it, QBs are deserving of all the MVP consideration that they get. It's a fact in the NFL - if you don't have a good QB, your team isn't going anywhere. It's especially true in today's pass-driven league, because you have to be able to put a lot of points on the board to win week in and week out.

So far in 2013, it doesn't seem likely that we'll get a non-QB winner of the MVP award. Most of the top candidates that you'll see on this list are signal-callers, because that's just the way things go when it comes to the top award in the NFL. Maybe the trend will change next season, but for now, 2013 is looking just like five out of the last six years. So with week 15 in the rearview mirror, here are the top 10 NFL MVP candidates:

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10. LeSean McCoy

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USA Today Sports

McCoy isn't going to win the MVP, but he deserves props for leading the league in rushing up to this point in the season (1,343 yards).

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9. Josh Gordon

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USA Today Sports

Gordon has no doubt been one of the top breakout players in 2013. To date, he's the NFL's leading receiver with 1,467 yards.

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8. Tom Brady

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USA Today Sports

It hasn't been one of Brady's greatest seasons, but when you consider all the injuries and all the new players he's throwing the ball to, it's been a great year for him.

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7. Calvin Johnson

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USA Today Sports

What else can you say about this guy? Megatron is the game's best receiver, no doubt about it.

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6. Philip Rivers

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USA Today Sports

Rivers doesn't get near enough credit for what he does in San Diego. He's already thrown for 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns so far this season.

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5. Drew Brees

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USA Today Sports

Yet again, Brees is in the NFL MVP discussion. Where would the Saints be without him?

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4. Cam Newton

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USA Today Sports

Newton is having the best season of his career and he clearly belongs in the top five of NFL MVP candidates in 2013. We'll have to wait and see how he finishes, but if he leads the Panthers to the two seed, he might get some first place votes.

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3. Russell Wilson

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USA Today Sports

You can't say enough about what Wilson means to the Seahawks. Sure they have a great defense, but Wilson is the glue that holds everything together.

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2. Jamaal Charles

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USA Today Sports

After a historic five-touchdown performance in week 15, Charles is most definitely in the MVP conversation. He's the top non-QB candidate, but it's unlikely he'll take home the hardware this January.

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1. Peyton Manning

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USA Today Sports

Some people won't like it, but there's no way Manning isn't the MVP at his point. He's four touchdown passes away from breaking the single-season touchdown record (50) and the Broncos are once in again in position to be the AFC's top seed. Odds are, Manning is going to win his record 5th MVP award this season.