While the Arizona Cardinals sit atop the NFC West with a record of 10-2, veteran quarterback Carson Palmer is the biggest reason for their success, as he is enjoying one of his best seasons as an NFL signal caller.
He is currently on pace to have his best statistical year for his career and has put Arizona in the lead positions to win its division and earn a bye in the first round of the playoff as the conference’s second seed behind the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
However, it is the way Palmer is doing it that has him near the top of the race for the NFL MVP. Three players are currently a length or two in front for the MVP race. The three are Palmer, Carolina’s Cam Newton and New England’s Tom Brady.
Palmer threw for 356 yards, two touchdowns and a completion percentage of 65% as the Cardinals swept their NFC road games with a win over St. Louis of 27-3 on Sunday.
Palmer is ranked in the NFL top three of eight different offensive categories including an 83.3% winning percentage, 3,693 passing yards, 8.26 yards per drop back, 29 passing touchdowns, 106.3 passer rating, 179 first downs through the air and an 82.6 QBR.
Palmer is not the current front-runner for the award, but is making himself a strong case. Arizona has the league’s highest scoring offense and is riding a winning streak of six games. The more wins the team gets the more the quarterback will prove his value to the team and the voters.
Brady and his New England Patriots lost for the second consecutive week 35-28 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He is in the league’s top 10 in 10 different categories.
Statistically, Brady is practically arm and arm with Palmer, but the two straight losses late during the season will work against him, especially if the Cardinals and Palmer continue to win the final four weeks of the regular season.
Newton and the Carolina Panthers are a perfect 12-0 on the season. He led Carolina to a 41-38 victory against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Newton is only ranked in the league’s top 10 in 2 quarterback statistics – 100% winning percentage and 25 touchdowns.
However, as long as Carolina continues to win, Newton is likely to remain the stiffest competition for veteran Palmer. It is hard competing against a signal caller on a team that is undefeated.