With each passing week, two aspects concerning the MVP race have slowly, but surely come into shape. The first is that this appears to be a two-man race -- with a couple of candidates lurking, but lagging well behind the two frontrunners. The second is that this is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's race to lose. 

It's been 10 weeks of the 2019 NFL season and for the vast majority of the season, Wilson has been the frontrunner to win MVP. Things tend to change quickly in the NFL. It's a fluid situation. It might only take one bad game from Wilson to shake up the race. But Wilson's status as the frontrunner has been a rare consistent in a sea of inconsistency for the past month or so. At this point in the calendar, the only potential usurper appears to be Lamar Jackson

But even though the Ravens quarterback has been playing at an MVP level the past few weeks -- he dismantled the previously unbeaten Patriots and then destroyed the hapless Bengals so thoroughly he was able to spend the fourth quarter wearing sunglasses instead of a helmet -- he hasn't been able to dent Wilson's lead in the MVP race. 

The last time we checked in on the MVP race with five NFL writers here at CBS Sports -- Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson, Jared Dubin, and Sean Wagner-McGough (me), all of whom submitted separate MVP ballots, which were then used to form one collective ballot using a point system -- Jackson trailed Wilson by a single point. Three weeks later, even after Jackson took down the Patriots, Wilson's lead has grown to three points. Thus, it's becoming increasingly clear that in order for Jackson to overtake Wilson, he'll need Wilson to submit a stinker. At this point, there's not much more Jackson can do. It's in Wilson's control.

That might not seem fair to Jackson, but once you compare how the quarterbacks have played this season, it should become clear that Wilson deserves to be leading. It's close, but he's been the better player.

Total Yards

Total TDs

INTs + Fumbles

Total QBR






78.2 (2nd)






76.2 (4th)


It's worth noting that Wilson has a game in hand. If Jackson plays well against the Texans in Week 11 -- a game that should be widely watched given the two quarterbacks involved -- while Wilson is on his bye, then it'll be interesting to see if he can further dent Wilson's lead. 

Again, things change quickly in the NFL. Maybe Jackson will do enough on Sunday, with Wilson idling, to overtake him. Wilson might just be one bad game away from losing his lead. But through 10 weeks, Wilson is our choice for MVP here at CBS Sports. And with the way the past few weeks have unfolded, it looks like it's Wilson who controls the outcome of the race. If Jackson taking down the Patriots wasn't enough to move the needle, what will?

Below, you'll find our collective MVP ballot that was pieced together by adding up all five of our individual ballots. A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote was worth four points, and so on. Farther down below, you'll find all five of our individual ballots, including brief explainers so you know why we voted the way we did. 

MVP leaderboard after Week 10

1. Russell Wilson -- 24 points
2. Lamar Jackson -- 21 points
3. Deshaun Watson -- 13 points
4. Dak Prescott -- 7 points
5. Patrick Mahomes -- 6 points
6. Aaron Rodgers -- 2 points
T-7. Dalvin Cook -- 1 point
T-7. Christian McCaffrey -- 1 point

It's also worth noting that the last time we checked in, Watson only received nine points. So, he actually has closed the gap, even though he's still lagging far behind the frontrunners. 

OK, onto the individual ballots.

Will Brinson's ballot

  1. Russell Wilson 
  2. Lamar Jackson
  3. Dak Prescott
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Patrick Mahomes

Maybe some recency bias built-in here with Watson on a bye, but I think all five of these guys are really clumped closely together right now. If you told me Lamar over Russell I'd be fine with it, though Russell's MVP "moment" on Monday night (the overtime interception aside) probably trumps even the highlight reel shredding of Lamar against the Bengals for me. Dak is underrated in this race so I will properly rate him! Seriously -- Dak should be on the radar for more people in this MVP race. Coaching might kill his chances but he's playing his tail off this season. Watson is a magician who keeps the Texans in every game. Wouldn't be shocked at all if he won this award. Mahomes has missed some time, so his numbers don't exactly match everyone else and the Chiefs won't stop losing. No chance of Mahomes going back to back if KC somehow lets Oakland steal the division. Worth noting: Christian McCaffrey didn't drop off or anything, but there are just too many good young quarterbacks playing at a high level for him to make the top five at this point. Such is the life of a running back.

Jared Dubin's ballot

  1. Russell Wilson
  2. Lamar Jackson
  3. Deshaun Watson
  4. Dak Prescott
  5. Patrick Mahomes

I've got the same five guys on my list as last time, but with the order shuffled a bit. Wilson sits atop the rankings because he is ridiculous. Jackson, also ridiculous, is hot on his tail. I've bumped Mahomes down the list because he missed two games while Watson and Prescott continued to play well in his absence. I'm sure there are votes for Christian McCaffrey and/or Aaron Rodgers elsewhere on this ballot but this feels like the pretty clear top five to me.

John Breech's ballot

  1. Russell Wilson
  2. Lamar Jackson  
  3. Deshaun Watson   
  4. Aaron Rodgers
  5. Dalvin Cook

With just seven weeks to go in the regular season, it's starting to feel like this race is going to come down to either Wilson or Jackson. I had Wilson on the top of my ballot last week, and although he made a few mistakes against the 49ers -- with a lost fumble and an interception -- it's nearly impossible to punish him for those things considering that he just played such a huge part in knocking off the NFL's last undefeated team. As for Jackson, the man was a human highlight show against the Bengals, and if he can keep that up over the next three weeks in games against the Rams, 49ers, and Bills, I might move him up to the top spot. Wilson and Jackson are basically 1 and 1a at this point. As for the other three, Watson could make a splash this week if he outplays Lamar Jackson on Sunday. As for Rodgers, he's currently playing mistake-free football, which is all the Packers need from him right now. If he starts taking over games like he's done in the past, he could shoot up this list, especially if that happens in Week 12 against the 49ers. On Cook's end, the Vikings bell-cow running back is a big reason why Minnesota is 7-3. Cook is currently on pace for 2,264 yards from scrimmage, which would be the 13th highest total in NFL history if he gets there. 

Ryan Wilson's ballot

  1. Lamar Jackson
  2. Russell Wilson
  3. Patrick Mahomes
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Christian McCaffrey 

Lamar Jackson can beat you 10 different ways and we see it every single game. In Week 9, the previously undefeated Patriots and their top-ranked defense had no answers for Jackson, who did most of his damage on the ground. In Week 10, he completed 88 percent of his throws -- including three touchdowns -- in the 49-13 dismantling of the Bengals. Wilson is obviously the most important player on his team but the 49ers let him off the hook on Monday night. To his credit, Wilson took full advantage of the opportunity when San Francisco couldn't but right now, for me, he's a close second behind Jackson in MVP chase. Mahomes certainly didn't look like a man who recently dislocated his kneecap but the Chiefs lost to the Titans (and even though it wasn't Mahomes' fault, it's hard to be league MVP if your team is losing). Houston's Deshaun Waston continues to fly under the radar in a crowded field, and Carolina's Christian McCaffrey will have to take on an even bigger role now that Cam Newton's season appears to be over.

Sean Wagner-McGough's ballot

  1. Russell Wilson
  2. Lamar Jackson
  3. Deshaun Watson
  4. Dak Prescott
  5. Patrick Mahomes

Nothing against Jackson. There's nothing more he could've possibly accomplished the past couple of weeks to overtake Wilson, but at this point, it's going to take a screwup on Wilson's part for Jackson to overtake him on my ballot. For a moment there, it looked as if Wilson's interception in overtime on Monday night was going to be the screwup that Jackson needed, but then the 49ers failed to capitalize on Wilson's error and Wilson responded by leading a game-winning drive in overtime to beat the only remaining unbeaten team, making it rather difficult for me to bump Wilson down from his perch. The race is close. Nobody is better positioned to overtake Wilson than Jackson. As for the rest of my list, Watson was on his bye, so it didn't really make sense to move him up or down. Despite losing to the Vikings, Prescott continues to play like an MVP candidate even though he's stuck on a Cowboys team that refuses to completely modernize its offense to benefit the quarterback. And finally, it feels dang good to have Mahomes back. Don't blame him for the Chiefs' loss to the Titans. Mahomes did all he could on Sunday. He probably doesn't have a realistic shot at winning MVP due to his two-game absence, but it's worth noting, he's averaging 364.3 passing yards per start (not including his start against Denver, when he departed in the early going), which would equal 5,828.6 yards over the course of the season. The NFL record is 5,477. The injury didn't just cost Mahomes a shot at MVP, but also a shot at making even more history.