The NFL MVP award for the 2015 season could be a close race, but Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appears to be the favorite over Carson Palmer, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.
All four players had strong statistical seasons in 2015 and all four led their teams to the playoffs, but Newton likely will be named the winner of the award after leading his team to the best record in the league. The Panthers were undefeated through 14 games and earned the number one seed in the NFC playoffs.
Here is a look at the top candidates:
Cam Newton, Panthers
Newton had the best season of his career in 2015 and helped lead the Panthers to a division title and home field advantage in the playoffs. Newton did this without his top receiver in Kelvin Benjamin and without a true number one wideout following Benjamin's injury before the season. Newton accounted for 45 touchdowns this season and finished with over 3800 passing yards, 35 passing TDs, 10 interceptions and over 600 rushing yards. Newton has the stats and the team performance to win the award.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals
In almost any other year Carson Palmer would likely win this award, as the quarterback came back from serious knee surgery and had the best season of his career. Palmer had 4671 yards and 35 touchdowns this season with just 11 interceptions while competing 63 percent of his passes. Palmer led the Cardinals to the number two seed in the NFC and they are being looked at as Super Bowl favorites.
Tom Brady, Patriots
Brady has a strong case for the award with all the injuries that the Patriots dealt with this season and in a way that shows that he was the "most valuable" player of the group here. Brady probably should win the award based on that, but Newton really does appear to be the favorite at this point. Brady saw players like Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, LeGarrette Blount and Danny Amendola all miss various amounts of time and he still brought the team to the playoffs as the second seed in the AFC. Brady finished the season with 36 touchdowns, just seven interceptions and 4770 yards while completing 64 percent of his passes.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Wilson put up the best numbers of his career and showed his true value with Marshawn Lynch banged up for most of the season for Seattle. Wilson finished with 4024 yards and 34 touchdowns with just eight interceptions while also rushing for over 500 yards. Wilson had a torrid stretch with 24 TDs and just one pick over a seven game span for the Seahawks and he also helped lead the team to the playoffs with a 6-1 record down the stretch without Lynch.
Prediction: Cam Newton wins over Palmer, Wilson and Brady.