1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers.
I've got Rodgers in front by a lot. In fact, about the only way he doesn't win this thing is if he misses significant time with injury. He's so far ahead of every other quarterback that it doesn't even make sense to put another one on the list. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning -- if they're on the same list as Rodgers, there's no case to be made for them. Rodgers is your 2011 MVP, all day long.
[Related: NFL's Week 9 Most Valuable Players]
Megatron's got 11 receiving touchdowns on the year, many of them of the "Sweet sassy molassey, how did he catch that?" variety. That's nearly double the total of any other receiver in the league, and accounts for 47.8 percent of the Detroit Lions offensive touchdowns on the season. He's also in the top five in the league in yards and receptions. He's a game changer.
If there's a unit out there as dominant as the Packers offense, it's the 49ers defense, and Smith is as much of a force as anybody. A defensive end in a 3-4 scheme doesn't have any business getting as much pressure on the quarterback as Smith does. He just takes on double-teams, eats up blockers, and beats offensive linemen all day long.
4. Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills.
The NFL's current leading rusher might also be its most complete. Fred Jackson can grind out the tough yards, break one to the house, has tremendous hands, and blocks as well as any other back in the league. His versatility and ability to stay on the field for every down are key to Baltimore's offense.
5. Haloti Ngata, DT, Baltimore Ravens.
Ngata is such a force. Without him, Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs couldn't be the forces that they are -- and don't get me wrong, those guys are tremendous players, as is Ed Reed, but Ngata's the lynchpin in that defense. He caves in offensive lines, eliminates so much space against the run, and occupies blockers as well as anybody.
[Related: Ravens' offense firmly in Joe Flacco's hands]
6. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles.
Shady's 5.6 yards per carry is the best in the league, and his eight rushing touchdowns trail only Adrian Peterson. Before Monday night's over, there's a good chance that he'll have overtaken Fred Jackson as the league's leading rusher, too.
7. Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets.
The Jets defense has been a little more up-and-down than usual, but Revis is still the best corner in the game and the key to everything the Jets do.
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- Aaron Rodgers
- Detroit Lions
- Eli Manning
- Green Bay Packers
- Fred Jackson
- Justin Smith
- Haloti Ngata
- Ben Roethlisberger