PFW associate editor Kevin Fishbain presents a running meter that indicates the Patriots' top five MVP candidates up through their most recent game.
1. QB Tom Brady: With three TD passes on Sunday against the Bills, Brady has eight on the season, just one behind Peyton Manning for the league lead. If you remove the second half of his game against the Jets, Brady has put together an MVP-type season so far. In Week Three, Brady was 7-for-7 for 76 yards on first down. This season, he is 28-for-37 (75.7) for 348 yards and a TD on first down. Brady spread the ball around against the Bills as five Patriots totaled more than 40 yards receiving.
2. WR Randy Moss: Moss hauled in his 150th and 151st career touchdown passes on Sunday, just the second player ever (along with Jerry Rice) to achieve that milestone. He also passed Marvin Harrison on the all-time receiving yards list, making him fifth in that category. Moss has scored three TDs this season but has just 139 yards receiving through three games. He is still Brady's top deep threat.
3. TE Aaron Hernandez: The rookie continues to impress, leading the Patriots in receiving for the second consecutive week. He had six catches for 65 yards, giving him 13 catches for 211 yards on the season. He has 64 more receiving yards than WR Wes Welker and 72 more than Moss. Hernandez makes defenders miss like a wide receiver would and has great hands. The Florida product creates matchup problems and has yet to be slowed down.
4. WR Wes Welker: The ever-reliable slot receiver was not in his top form against the Bills, recording a couple drops. Welker had four catches for 45 yards and still leads the Pats with 18 receptions and is tied with Moss for the team lead with three TD catches. The emergence of Hernandez may take targets away from Welker until teams find a way to shut down the rookie.
5. FS Patrick Chung: The entire Patriots defense was miserable on Sunday against the Bills, giving up 30 points to one of the worst offenses in the league. Chung had two crucial plays, though: A third-down tackle that forced the Bills to settle for a field-goal attempt (which they missed) and an interception in the endzone to start the fourth quarter. Chung leads the Pats and is tied for fifth in the league with 29 tackles.