With eight weeks left in the regular season, there's a poll today on SportsCenter offering three choices for the league's MVP thus far:
* Drew Brees
* Clinton Portis
* Kurt Warner
More often than not, MVP awards end up in the trophy case of the player with the best stats on one of the league's best teams.
Brees' Saints have dealt with injuries to Marques Colston and Reggie Bush -- among others -- but they're currently in last in the NFC South. You've got to win be the league's most valuable player, even if your team might be winless without you. I own Brees in a few leagues this season and there's a growing gap between he and the rest of the field at quarterback.
Averaging 5.0 yards per carry on a surprising 6-3 Washington club, Portis appears to be the most valuable player in this group at least on the surface, given his team's record and his place as the league's leading rusher entering Week 10. The Redskins pass the ball well enough to be effective, as Jason Campbell looks pretty comfortable in Jim Zorn's offense.
The Cards have a three-game lead in the NFC West, due more in part to the weakness of the division than to Warner's big passing numbers. I'd definitely entertain arguments that they wouldn't have as much of a lead if Matt Leinart were under center, but they'd still be in first place and I highly doubt anyone would be taking about Leinart as an MVP candidate if he had the same record but the Cards were more reliant on Tim Hightower and the running game.
Verdict: If it's just these three guys on the ballot, I'm going with Portis here. Still, I think Washington could be a good team if Ladell Betts had to step in as the starter at some point. My "sleeper" MVP candidate is Tennessee's Chris Johnson. The defense is excellent as a group, but no one player stands out enough for this award (Albert Haynesworth fans may disagree). Given their lack of other weapons at the skill positions, the Titans' offense would be in big trouble if anything were to happen to their speedy rookie back. LenDale White is a good complementary part, but there's no way he'd keep the chains moving consistently and help limit the strain on game-managing quarterback Kerry Collins.