NFL MVP Projection: Colts QB Andrew Luck vaults up to No. 2 spot

Twelve is almost the new 18. Andrew Luck is one spot behind Peyton Manning on the MVP Projection list. (USATSI)
Twelve is almost the new 18. Andrew Luck is one spot behind Peyton Manning on the MVP Projection list. (USATSI)

If Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was making the MVP Projection list this week, he'd probably have Andrew Luck at No. 1, Robert Mathis at No. 2 and Peyton Manning at No. 94. Irsay's not making the list though, so Manning stays on top after Sunday's loss to Indianapolis. 

Andrew Luck's creeping up though, way up. After peaking at No. 4 two weeks ago, Luck is now up to No. 2. Is 12 the new 18?

MVP Projection

1. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning: Peyton Manning played his worst game of the season against the Colts on Sunday and still threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns. It's hard to punish a guy for throwing for 386 yards and three touchdowns. Manning's 386 yards were more than any other quarterback threw for in Week 7 and his three touchdowns were tied for the most. Manning gets a pass here and stays on the top of the list, not because he's Peyton Manning, but because, for the love of Cooper Manning, his team is 6-1 and he's still on pace to break the single-season record for passing yards and touchdown passes. 

2. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck: Andrew Luck doesn't have as many passing yards as a Peyton Manning or a Drew Brees or a Joe Flacco or even a Geno Smith and he doesn't have as many touchdown passes as a Tony Romo , a Matthew Stafford or a Jay Cutler , but what he does have is wins over 6-1 Seattle, 5-2 San Francisco and 6-1 Denver. Passing yards and touchdown passes are nice, but wins are nicer, so I'm moving Luck up to the No. 2 spot because the Colts would be 1-6 without him -- with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars of course. 

3. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees: Drew Brees had a bye this week and when players have a bye week, I always imagine in my head what they did with their time off. Brees never gets too crazy, so I bet he just drank Pepsi and went to a One Direction concert. That's also what I did this week. 

4. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham : I don't think Jimmy Graham's bye week was as crazy as Brees' because I don't think Graham is a One Direction fan. However, I do think Graham spent his week sitting in a cold tub trying to make his ankle better. I also think he spent some time trying to find the person who made a voodoo doll of him and keeps poking his ankle. Graham's a vital part of the Saints offense and it's hard to see them earning a first-round playoff bye if Graham's out for an extended period of time. Three of the Saints' next six games are at home against Dallas, San Francisco and in Seattle. 

5. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers : If Philip Rivers could invent a time machine and go back and stop one thing, it would probably be a pick-six he threw to Brian Cushing in Week 1. I know, you're thinking there's probably a lot of other things he would stop, but I think it's that pick. Rivers is on pace to throw for a career-high in yards and touchdown passes and more people would be noticing if he hadn't thrown that pick because if he hadn't thrown that pick, the Chargers would most likely be 5-2. And 5-2 sounds a lot sexier than 4-3. 

6. Colts linebacker Robert Mathis: Maybe Peyton Manning should have let Robert Mathis tackle him in practice when the two were teammates. Mathis took out eight years of frustration of not being able to hit Manning in practice on Sunday and sacked Manning two times in the Colts win. Not only that, one of Mathis' first half hits on Manning led to a fumble and a safety. After the Mathis hit, Peyton was throwing like Eli and in 2013, that's not a good thing. 

7. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers : Jarrett Boykin didn't win a fan contest to play wide receiver for the Packers on Sunday, but most people probably didn't know that because few had heard of Boykin before Green Bay's win over Cleveland. Boykin had eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown in the Packers win. Before the Cleveland game, Boykin had a total of six catches for 70 yards in two seasons. What I'm trying to say here is Tom Brady isn't the only person throwing to undrafted free agents. Aaron Rodgers is too and I like what he's doing better. So Brady's off the list, Rodgers is on.  

8.  Kansas City Chiefs  linebacker  Tamba Hali : Tamba Hali was named the AFC's defensive player of Week 6 after his 2.5 sack performance against the Oakland Raiders . Apparently that wasn't good enough for him though because he topped in Week 7 with 2.5 more sacks and then for good measure, he also threw in two forced fumbles. One of those forced fumbles came with under two minutes and the Houston Texans driving for a field goal in a game Kansas City would win 17-16. If you know of a way to block Hali, you might want to let the Cleveland Browns offensive line know by Sunday or Jason Campbell could be in some serious trouble. Campbell will most likely be in some serious trouble on Sunday anyway, but a heads up never hurts. 

Did I leave someone off the list? Do you think Philip Rivers would change something else if he had a time machine? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter or hit me up on my One Direction fan club email account. Actually, don't hit me up on my One Direction fan club email account.

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CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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