We're through the first 15 weeks of the 2021 NFL season, which means it's once again time for our weekly check-in on the MVP race. We have been and will continue to use this space over the next several weeks to take the temperature of our rotating panel of experts, trying to get a feel for who is in the lead, who is in contention, who is hanging on the fringes, and how those groups are changing from week to week. 

Each of our experts was asked to submit their top-five MVP rankings. Five points were awarded for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, three for a third-place vote, two for a fourth-place vote, and one for a fifth-place vote.

After a few weeks where it looked like Tom Brady would run away with the award, we have a new leader in our poll. Brady's poor game against the New Orleans Saints saw him lose all but two of his first-place votes, with Aaron Rodgers vaulting into the lead. It still seems like a two-man race for the hardware, however, with the third place vote-getter far behind our top two. 

Without further ado, let's get to the voting...

The panel of voters: Jonathan Jones, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, John Breech, Jared Dubin, Jordan Dajani, Bryan DeArdo, Cody Benjamin, Josh Edwards, Chris Trapasso, Tyler Sullivan, Jeff Kerr

The full MVP leaderboard

1. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (56)

2. Buccaneers QB Tom Brady (40)

3. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (30)

4.  Rams WR Cooper Kupp (15)

5. Rams QB Matthew Stafford (11)

6. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (8)

T-7. Steelers DE T.J. Watt (5)

T-7. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (5)

T-7. 49ers WR Deebo Samuel (5)*

10.  Bills QB Josh Allen (4)

11. Chargers QB Justin Herbert (2) 

Dropped out: Browns DE Myles Garrett, Cowboys LB/DE Micah Parsons

Most first-place votes:

  • Aaron Rodgers (9 out of 12)
  • Tom Brady (2)
  • Jonathan Taylor (1)

Most second-place votes:

  • Tom Brady (6)
  • Aaron Rodgers, Jonathan Taylor (2)
  • Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp (1)

Most total ballots: 

  • Aaron Rodgers (12 out of 12)
  • Tom Brady (11)
  • Jonathan Taylor (10)
  • Cooper Kupp (6)

Positional representation:

  • QB (7)
  • WR (2)
  • RB (1)
  • DE (1)

So who will actually win?

Rodgers is now both the leader in our poll and the betting favorite. Caesars Sportsbook lists Rodgers' odds at +150, with Brady close behind at +180. The rest of the top 10 is filled out by Taylor (+800), Mahomes (+1000), Stafford (+1500), Allen (+2000), Herbert (+2500), and Murray, Kupp, and Dak Prescott (all +4000).

As we have repeatedly noted over the last several weeks, the race for the top seed in the NFC is likely to play a big role down the stretch. The Packers own the No. 1 seed at the moment, a game ahead of the Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Cardinals. Dallas owns the tiebreaker over the three other teams due to its superior conference record, and if the Packers stumble, the Cowboys would therefore be best positioned to take over the No. 1 spot. Prescott's subpar November has dragged him down in the race, but if he puts together a good finishing kick and gets his team over the top, perhaps he can leap up the leaderboard. 

Taylor has leaped up to third in odds, but is still far behind both Brady and Rodgers. It's hard for me to believe that a running back will win MVP in the year of our lord two thousand and twenty one, but stranger things have happened. Mahomes' performance over the last few weeks has gotten him back into the mix, and with the Chiefs now owning the No. 1 seed in the AFC, he could definitely be a significant factor in the race if Rodgers and/or Brady have a bad game at any point in the next few weeks. 

Stafford struggled a bit against the Seahawks on Tuesday night, but if the Rams overtake the Cardinals and end up with one of the top couple seeds in the conference, he might figure into the race as well. Kupp fares well in our poll, but doesn't appear to be a factor just yet based on the odds. If he surpasses 2,000 receiving yards, though, who knows what could happen. Allen has a chance to vault himself up this week as well, with a huge game against the Patriots that should hopefully be played in better weather than the one they played a few weeks ago. Murray's three missed games and struggles since his return from injury have knocked him all the way down to the back half of the top 10. 

2021 NFL jerseys now available

The new NFL season is here! Win or lose, you can shop jerseys, shirts, hats, and much more to support your favorite team. Shop here and show your colors.

We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.