The Broncos have started the season hot, cruising to a 7-0 start thanks in large part to their crushing defense. But the Raiders are not too far behind at 4-3, thanks in large part to second-year quarterback Derek Carr.
Carr has completed 65.5 percent of his passes this season for 1,793 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Not too shabby.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks thought enough of Carr's performance to dub him the AFC West's mid-season MVP:
The Raiders' young gunslinger has made a quantum leap in his development in his second NFL season. Carr is not only displaying the leadership and clutch ability to guide 4-3 Oakland to huge wins, but he's producing at a level (three 300-yard games and a 15:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio) that places him among the NFL's elite quarterbacks.
My initial reaction was to roll my eyes, but Carr is a good candidate.
Denver's own quarterback, Peyton Manning, has not been putting up his usual numbers, and no one else on offense has been dominating—at least enough to garner division MVP consideration.
On defense, Denver has an abundance of playmakers. DeMarcus Ware has 5.5 sacks, and Aqib Talib has 3 interceptions (with two scores), but neither of those two are MVP candidates in my mind. Ware's not on pace to set any records, and Talib is on pace for about 6 interceptions.
Carr, meanwhile, is helping the Raiders return to prominence.