NFL MVP tracker: Patriots' Tom Brady assumes narrow lead over Russell Wilson

Seattle QB Russell Wilson, left, knows all about narrowly losing out to Tom Brady.
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(USA TODAY) — From Week 1 through Week 17, USA TODAY Sports' NFL staff will be handicapping the race for league MVP. A first-place vote is worth five points, a second-place vote is worth three, and a third-place vote is worth one.

Our MVP tracker after Week 13's games:

1. QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots (27 points): Already a two-time MVP, he's atop our poll for the first time this season as he potentially closes in on a third piece of hardware. Even coming off a sub-par performance at Buffalo, Brady's bona fides are not in doubt. He leads the NFL with 3,632 passing yards, 300 completions and a 109.7 QB rating. His 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio is typically exceptional. And, at 10-2, the Patriots are tied for the league's best record. But he's got some landmines to avoid, with his next games at Miami — oddly, South Florida is often a house of horrors for Brady — and Pittsburgh. Last week: 2

2. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (23 points): He's narrowly trailing TB12, and given Wilson's Herculean effort to keep an injury-ravaged team in the playoff race, it wouldn't be a surprise if he eventually overtakes Brady. Consider this: The Seahawks offense has produced 30 TDs, and Wilson (26 TD passes, 3 rush TDs) has been involved in all but one. Fifteen of his touchdown passes have come in the fourth quarter, and the next one will establish a new league record for a single season. And Wilson's fourth-quarter passer rating? How about 134.1. Hard to beat productive and clutch. Last week: 3

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3. QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (13 points): After spending the last six weeks in the lead, he takes a tumble after Philly's Sunday night clunker at Seattle. But Wentz probably won't need much to bounce back. He continues to lead the NFL with 29 TD passes, and the Eagles are one of four teams with a 10-2 record. A big day against the Rams on Sunday, with the NFC East crown there for the taking, could give Wentz renewed momentum. Last week: 1

— Week 12 MVP rankings (Carson Wentz)
— Week 11 MVP rankings (Carson Wentz)
— Week 10 MVP rankings (Carson Wentz)
— Week 9 MVP rankings (Carson Wentz)
— Week 8 MVP rankings (Carson Wentz)
— Week 7 MVP rankings (Carson Wentz)
— Week 6 MVP rankings (Alex Smith)
— Week 5 MVP rankings (Alex Smith)
— Week 4 MVP rankings (Alex Smith)
— Week 3 MVP rankings (Alex Smith)
— Week 2 MVP rankings (Alex Smith)
— Week 1 MVP rankings (Alex Smith)