Only two weeks remain for the league's best players to make their cases for MVP. And the race is tightening up.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led our vote last week despite his four-game absence at the beginning of the season, but his pedestrian outing against the Broncos slightly hurt his case. Meanwhile, the Falcons' Matt Ryan and the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott made moves with dominant performances. And after disappointing in a huge prime-time game against the Chiefs, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr rebounded by helping the Raiders clinch their first playoff berth since 2002.

That's where we're at. Of course, more candidates exist, but those are the mainstream choices at the moment. Below, you'll find how each of our NFL writers voted.

First, here's our collective MVP ballot:

2016 MVP vote heading into Week 16

Brady is still king.

1. Tom Brady -- 22
2. Matt Ryan -- 20
3. Ezekiel Elliott -- 13
T-4. Le'Veon Bell -- 6
T-4. Derek Carr -- 6
6. David Johnson -- 4
7. Aaron Rodgers -- 3
8. Dak Prescott -- 1

Elliott had the biggest jump, going from seven to 13 points. Matthew Stafford, on the other hand, dropped out of our ballot after finishing in third last week. In back-to-back games, he's posted passer ratings below 75, which explains his fall.

OK, onto the individual choices ...

Tom Brady is still the leader in the clubhouse heading into Week 16. USATSI

Sean Wagner-McGough's top 5

1. Ryan
2. Brady
3. Bell
4. Johnson
5. Elliott

I bumped Ryan ahead of Brady for a couple of reasons. One, he's played the entire season while Brady missed the first four games. It's unfortunate that I have to hold Brady's dumb Deflategate suspension against him, but Ryan has been better for a longer period of time this year. Two, he has a higher YPA, passer rating, and touchdown percentage than Brady. Furthermore, Ryan has led the Falcons to a 9-5 start despite their 26th-ranked defense, which is allowing 25.6 points per game. Brady's defense is ranked first, allowing 16.6 points per game.

Yes, I'm still on the Johnson MVP hype train, but I listed him behind Bell because Bell's team has the wins that Johnson's doesn't. It sucks that I have to hold the Cardinals' incompetence against Johnson, but that's the reality of the MVP vote. Elliott sneaks onto my list after his dominant outing against a top-notch Buccaneers defense.

Jared Dubin's top 5

1. Elliott
2. Brady
3. Ryan
4. Carr
5. Prescott

It's not just the 16 of 32, 188-yard, zero touchdown game that dropped Brady back behind Zeke this week. By exploding for a career-high 159 yards on 23 carries against a defense that had been arguably the best in all of football over the last month and a half, Zeke earned his way back into the top spot. I thought long and hard about bumping Matt Ryan all the way up to No. 1, too, but ultimately think Brady has the better overall resume, despite the missed games.

Ryan Wilson's top 5

1. Brady
2. Ryan
3. Carr
4. Johnson
5. Bell

Brady has 3,064 yards, 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 10 games, and looks nothing like a 39-year-old old, 17-year veteran. Ryan, meanwhile, has 4,336 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 14 games to go along with a 114.8 passer rating. And if you're into the whole advanced stats thing, Brady is No. 2 in value per play among passers, according to Football Outsiders' metrics, and Ryan is No. 1. And according to Pro Football Focus, Brady grades out as the league's best quarterback while Ryan is third.

In case you're wondering, I left Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott off this list for a simple reason: The Cowboys' offensive line is arguably more deserving than the two guys who line up behind them. This isn't a slight against the rookies, or ignoring the fact that Prescott and Elliott haven't been good (look, I acknowledge that Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Darren McFadden were slightly less successful in the roles last season), but it's also hard to overlook what the other names on this list have accomplished.

John Breech's top 5

1. Brady
2. Elliott
3. Ryan
4. Bell
5. Rodgers

The only change to my ballot this week came in the fifth spot, where I dropped off Matthew Stafford and replaced him with a different NFC North quarterback: Aaron Rodgers. What Rodgers is doing this season is borderline amazing. The Packers quarterback, who's tied for second in the NFL with 32 touchdown passes, has basically willed Green Bay to four straight wins. Of the five guys on this list, Rodgers has the worst overall team around him, which makes his play even more impressive. Also, that doesn't mean the Packers are bad, it just means that if I had to pick a 53-man roster between the Patriots, Cowboys, Falcons, Steelers and Packers to win one game, the Packers would be my last pick.

As for the top of my list, after an average game from Tom Brady in Denver, I'm inching closer and closer to possibly moving Matt Ryan or Ezekiel Elliott ahead of him. To me, this race is going to come down to one of those three guys.

Will Brinson's top 5

1. Ryan
2. Brady
3. Elliott
4. Rodgers
5. Carr

Ryan is shredding any and all defenses that get put before him, including two terrible teams the last two weeks, and he's doing it without Julio Jones, who still somehow leads the NFL in receiving yards. The Broncos game hurts Brady's candidacy a little because of production, but he's been as good as anyone in the NFL. If he was doing what he's doing over a full 16 games, it would be a boat race. Elliott is carrying the Cowboys; he's going to lead the league in rushing and has an outside shot of chasing some big-time records.

Rodgers is continuing to climb up the MVP list as Green Bay chases a playoff spot. If they're going to win the next two weeks, it will be because of Rodgers, and that's why he's getting much-deserved play here. Carr hasn't been lights out the last two weeks, but his play is a big reason why the Raiders are where they are, having clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2002 by beating the Chargers on Sunday.