Is Rivers the NFL's MVP?

San Diego Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers is down the home stretch of what many are calling a MVP season. But is the Chargers' QB really the NFL's crown prince, or is he beginning to show some chinks in his armor?

It's hard to argue that Rivers has been anything but outstanding when you look at his statistics. The guy is carrying a quarterback rating of 121 in all six of the Chargers' victories this season. However, the discrepancy comes when we take a look at what Rivers is doing in the Chargers' six losses.

Very few NFL quarterbacks can rival his skill set. But that doesn't mean he is void of vices. The most infamous of Rivers' imperfections is his tendency to throw apparent temper tantrums when things don't go well on the field. It's not as if the Chiefs are above a sideline tantrum (i.e. Barry Richardson), but Rivers' blowups have a track record of dragging he and the team into a funk.

In the Chargers' six losses on the season, Rivers' QB rating plummets down to 89. And although lackluster statistics will usually accompany a loss, in the case of Rivers, they may show insight into his weaknesses.

Currently Rivers has thrown 24 touchdowns and ten interceptions. On the flip side, Chiefs' QB Matt Cassel's ratio is 23 to four. And I highly doubt anyone is openly clamoring for the MVP award to go to him.

The truth, however, is that no matter how impressive Rivers can be at times, he seems to be drinking the same water as Chicago Bears and former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler.

But one can't argue his fight and determination. No matter what he leaves it on the field every single snap of the ball. But his stubbornness paired with his moodiness makes for some bad decisions. When Rivers has to scramble around the pocket, he tends to hold on to the ball way too long. In the Chargers' six losses this season, Rivers has a taken a total of 22 sacks.

With the way Tamba Hali is playing this season, the Chiefs may be in the position to hit Rivers even more on Sunday.

Last week, Hali had a dominating performance against Denver Broncos' left tackle Ryan Clady last Sunday and he will need to bring his A-game again this week if the Chiefs want to put a vice grip on the AFC West crown. Ultimately, as always in sports, it will be a team effort and the play of Glenn Dorsey, Shaun Smith, and Ron Edwards will also be the key to the teams chance for victory.

Over the last two weeks we're finally starting to see more of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's blitz schemes. Up to this point his game plans have been relatively conservative.

Relying on the blitz is a dangerous game, however, and the Chiefs would feel much more comfortable only rushing four. Rivers has kept his interception numbers relatively low, but if the Chiefs can harass him early, their secondary – although young – is filled with playmakers that can easily make him pay for his errant throws.

But none of that matters right now. Rivers has the ability and determination to lead his team back into the playoff hunt. And if he does he deserves to be in the MVP discussions. But if Rivers is erratic, stubborn and his team ends the season 8-8 or worse, any MVP talk along with the AFC West crown will be put to rest.

That's until 2011.

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