[Editor’s note: With eight weeks in the books and plenty of talk about midseason MVP, we decided it made sense to devote this weeks’ power rankings to the identification of each team’s MVP to date. Also, while the addition of Curtis Crabtree has expanded the pool of voters to six, Josh Alper lives in New York and had no power when it was time to tabulate votes.]
1. Falcons (five first-place votes): Matt Ryan, because he’s the straw that stirs the drink.
2. Giants: Eli Manning, even though in the first three quarters of some games he could drive a fan to drink.
3. Texans: J.J. Watt, because he makes quarterbacks feel like they’ve been drinking.
4. Bears: Jay Cutler, because he’s got the Superfans saying “Da Bears” again before taking a drink.
5. 49ers: Frank Gore, because without him the offense would sputter.
6. Packers: Aaron Rodgers, because without him playing well the offense does.
7. Patriots: Tom Brady, because he’s still Tom Brady.
8. Broncos: Peyton Manning, because he’s Peyton Manning once again.
9. Ravens: Ray Rice, because if they don’t use him they are ordinary.
10. Steelers: Troy Polamalu, because without him they are ordinary.
11. Colts: Andrew Luck, because he has been the best quarterback since the team’s last franchise quarterback.
12. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, because he has been the best quarterback since the team’s last franchise quarterback.
13. Vikings: Adrian Peterson, because he has overcome a torn ACL to become better than ever.
14. Seahawks: Russell Wilson, because he has overcome a corps of receivers who can’t catch to lead the team to a .500 record.
15. Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, because he’s making the 2009 quarterback class look much better.
16. Lions: Matthew Stafford, even though he currently isn’t.
17. Redskins: Robert Griffin III, because he’s the real deal for a team that has been dealt a bad hand for a long time.
18. Bengals: A.J. Green, because he’s already one of the best receivers in the NFL.
19. Cardinals: Darryl Washington, because he’s one of the most underrated linebackers in the league.
20. Rams: Cortland Finnegan, because he’s one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league.
21. Eagles: LeSean McCoy, because they’d be a lot better if they’d use him more.
22. Saints: Drew Brees, because they’d be a lot worse without him.
23. Cowboys: Sean Lee, because we’ll see how bad they can be without him.
24. Chargers: Philip Rivers, even though he’s not the guy he used to be.
25. Raiders: Carson Palmer, even though he’s not the guy he used to be.
26. Jets: Mark Sanchez, even though he’ll never be the guy the Jets need him to be.
27. Browns: Trent Richardson, because he could be the best tailback the Browns have had since Jim Brown.
28. Titans: Matthew Hasselbeck, because he has shown that he can still help a team win.
29. Bills: C.J. Spiller, because he’s the best running back who doesn’t get enough attention.
30. Panthers: Steve Smith, because without his energy this team would be blown out of every game.
31. Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert, because even though the team has gotten worse he has gotten better.
32. Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, because without his effort against the Saints this team would be winless.