Brace yourself... sporstbooks have updated the MVP odds: Peyton Manning -300 Tom Brady +350 A virtual lock for Manning. Vegas knows in advance... they probably poll the sportswriters, and they know the general sentiment. I truly cannot stand the NFL writers and their obsession with Peyton Manning. Every year the award criteria is tailored to fit his season, and this year will be the biggest travesty of them all. First, ESPN's QBR formula is highly flawed, and it is the only objective measurement where Manning has a slight (very slight) edge over Brady. QBR does not account for strength of opponent, which, as I'll explain soon, has been quite different between the two. The Backstory The media has already built the story that Manning has turned around a franchise in disarray. While the alternative story is that Manning could have chosen from about 10 different teams, and obviously chose the one where he thought he'd be most successful, that angle has never to date been broached by the media. The Stats The stats couldn't show Brady ahead by more. Football Outsiders, which factors in complexities way beyond ESPN's QBR, and adjusts for strength of opponent, has Brady rated at 42.9% better than the average player on a given play. Manning is second at 29.1%. This is a gigantic gap- it just isn't even close. Brady has been better on every down and distance and in every situation of a game. In passer rating, although a flawed stat, Brady leads Manning slightly, although passer rating notoriously does not emphasize interceptions and turnovers enough. Guys like Mike Sando are trying desperately to cherry pick stats to support Manning, while belitting Brady. He points out obscure stats about Manning's 20+ yard plays, etc, while constantly glossing over Brady's 4 turnovers all season. Sando pointed out that Manning releases the ball quickly and avoids sacks, although the sack percentage is roughly the same, while the Pats O-line has been banged up all year. Brady has 32 total touchdowns and 4 turnovers. Manning has 30 total touchdowns and 12 turnovers. The Patriots have rushed for 20 TDs, the Broncos just 7. Historic Season John Fox referred to Manning's season as "freaking historical" and of course, the media bought it hook, line, and sinker. The Broncos are having a good year on offense, but not the type of year that historians will look back on and say anything other than "good offense." They are averaging roughly 10 points per game less than the Patriots. Under Brady, the Patriots are averaging 36 ppg, just one point shy of their all-time record smashing season in 2007. They will set the NFL record for first downs and have an off-the-charts efficiency. All led by Tom Brady, who directs the offense. Yet, the media's conclusion is that Manning's results stand out in a season where no one has done anything really special. Schedule According to Football Outsiders, Brady has played (or will play) the following teams ranked in the top 10 in total defense: Seattle (2), Houston (3), San Francisco (4), Denver (5), Arizona (6), St. Louis (7), NY Jets twice (8). That's 8 games versus top-10 defenses. Manning has played ONE game against Houston (3), where he struggled. Brady has played the following teams in the bottom 5: Indianapolis (30). Manning has played the following teams in the bottom 5: Oakland twice (32), New Orleans (31), Kansas City twice (29). Again, top-10 defenses: Brady's played against 8 to Manning's 1. Bottom five defenses: Manning's played against 5 to Brady's 1. Yet, incredibly, the Sando crowd at ESPN is constantly harping on Brady's "easy schedule". It's almost like a conspiracy. Other Factors The Broncos are ranked 5th in total defense, while the Patriots are ranked 14th. The Broncos have had no significant injuries on offense, while the Patriots have had injuries all over their offensive line and have had their two best offensive player on the field healthy one time. Brady won the head-to-head matchup. Manning is 0-3 against division leaders. Criteria Here's where it gets really funny. Peter King, golly gee, decided that Manning is the MVP because he's on an 8 game winning streak, while Brady's is only 7. That's more important than the huge turnover gap and Brady's overall dominance. "Brady did this last year too," NFC East blogger Dan Graziano said. "And the year before. Last year's Broncos were 8-8. This year's may be the best team in the league. Valuable." It never mattered that Manning did it last year when he was winning his MVPs. The criteria has conveniently changed. Drew Brees in 2009, Chad Pennington in 2008, both should have beaten Manning if this were the criteria. Also, I'm pretty sure that the Patriots have the best offense in the league, which is probably the more relevant discussion when comparing two quarterbacks. "I'll go with Peyton Manning," NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas said. "John Fox has an elite quarterback for the first time in his career and that could mean a Super Bowl title for the Broncos." Great reasoning. Conclusion Prepare for the travesty of Peyton Manning winning another dubious MVP award, just like his "Super Bowl MVP" and questionable awards from 08-09. Unfortunately, while Tom Brady has completely outplayed Manning over the last five years, the MVP tally in that time will be Manning 3, Brady 2. The sportswriters just love Manning too much to do what's fair. Hopefully this will serve as motivation for Brady and the Patriots.