12/13/2012 01:04 am ET

NFL MVP Race: Tom Brady Leads Peyton Manning After Big Win Over Texans

By Dan Parr, Pro Football Weekly

With Tom Brady’s offense shredding J.J. Watt’s defense Monday night, Brady made a strong statement about where he belonged in the MVP race.

His dismantling of the Texans (296 yards, four TDs, no interceptions) set the table for a jump to the top spot on this week’s Meter. Brady was more impressive than Watt, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in Week 14 in leading his team to a lopsided win over a Houston team that entered the game 11-1.

With three games to play this regular season, no quarterback has a higher passer rating than Brady (104.2). He has more passing yards (3,833) than Manning (3,812) and Rodgers (3,297). The only statistical area where Manning and Rodgers have significantly outdone Brady is in completion percentage, but their lead in that category is washed out by the fact that Brady has thrown fewer picks (four) than Rodgers (eight) and Manning (10).

What these numbers — individual statistics and team win-loss records (the Broncos and Patriots are 10-3 and the Packers are 9-4) — tell us is that the race is still very close.

Brady has the best chance to separate at least a bit from the pack in the final weeks of the season because of the competition he is facing. It appears he intends to make the most of that opportunity.

If he plays close to as well as he did against the Texans when New England hosts the 49ers in Week 15, the other top MVP candidates will have a tough time not losing ground in this battle.

(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)

NFL MVP Race Through Week 14