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: Now looking like the league's top MVP candidate along with Chargers QB Philip Rivers, Brady had his best game of the season, scoring a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the Thanksgiving Day win over the Lions. Brady completed 21-of-27 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. He has not thrown a pick in 199 consecutive pass attempts, breaking his old record of 183. He trails only Michael Vick for the league's top passer rating.
2. WR Wes Welker: Welker looks healthier coming off a torn ACL and MCL and seems have gotten his speed and ability to break tackles back. He had eight catches for 90 yards and two TDs against the Lions, and one of those touchdowns came on a screen play that highlighted Welker's open-field abilities. Welker leads the Pats in receptions (65), yards (592) and is tied with TE Rob Gronkowski with six TDs. He is tied for fourth in the league in receptions.
3. ILB Jerod Mayo: The Pats' run defense had a bit of a letdown on Thanksgiving, allowing the Lions to gain 4.8 yards per carry. Mayo helps anchor the run "D" but still had a solid game, leading the Pats again with 12 tackles. He also recorded a pass defensed. If he stays healthy, Mayo likely will finish the season as the league's leading tackler. He will be tested on Monday night as he attempts to slow down the Jets' rushing attack, as well as TE Dustin Keller.
4. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: The "Law Firm" found paydirt twice on Thursday, including a 15-yard run in which he plowed over Lions CB Alphonso Smith on his way into the endzone. Green-Ellis gained 4.9 yards per carry and is tied for third in the NFL with his nine rushing touchdowns.
5. CB Devin McCourty: The rookie continued his impressive season, picking off two passes in Thursday's win. He is tied for the rookie lead with five interceptions this season, and the five picks have come in the past six games. He has 12 passes defensed and 61 tackles this year as well, becoming a mainstay as the Patriots' top cornerback.