NFL MVP tracker: A pair of Kansas City Chiefs open atop our weekly poll


SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ NFL insider Lindsay H. Jones previews three intriguing matchups for the upcoming week.

From Week 1 through Week 17, USA TODAY Sports’ NFL staff will be handicapping the race for league MVP. A first-place vote is worth five points, a second-place vote is worth three, and a third-place vote is worth one.

Our MVP tracker after Week 1’s games:

1. QB Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (13 points): He threw for a league-high 368 yards and four TDs on opening weekend and leads the NFL with a near perfect 148.6 passer rating. But more impressive, Smith managed this while making the New England Patriots look as helpless as they ever have under Bill Belichick. The 13-year vet also served notice to the other 31 teams that, yes, he can strike deep downfield and is much more than the proverbial game manager. Even if the Chiefs wanted to play first rounder Patrick Mahomes (which they don’t), Smith looks like a man who’s going to keep the rookie on the pine all year.

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