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Against MVP; starting then and now

After beating the Patriots and the undefeated Tennessee Titans, there's momentum that should include Brett Favre in MVP discussions. Favre's 20 touchdown passes ranks third, and he's generally in the top-ten of every major quarterback category. However, the argument for his "nomination" isn't his numbers, rather his play in big games, leading the Jets deep into the season as playoff favorites, leading the AFC East with the third best record in the AFC.

In the past ten years, the Bengals have faced five players during their MVP season, voted on by the Pro Football Writers of America (not the AP). We've lost every one of them except for the first time the Bengals met up with Jamal Lewis in 2003.

Season MVP Performance
2008 Brett Favre (?) Thomas Jones controlled much of the Jets 26-14 win over the Bengals, though Favre completed 25 passes for 189 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
2007 Tom Brady During the Patriots 34-13 beating on Monday Night Football, Brady completed 25 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown.
2006 LaDainian Tomlinson Scored four touchdowns in a 42-point second half to beat the Bengals 49-41 after the Bengals held a 28-7 first half lead. Recorded 158 yards total (104 rushing, 54 receiving)
2003 Jamal Lewis Bengals won the first meeting of the two-game series, 34-26. Lewis rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. The second game was totally different, riding Lewis' 180 yards on 30 carries and three touchdown, the Ravens easily won 31-13.
1999 Kurt Warner During their godly 1999 offense, Kurt Warner and the Rams piled on 38 points to the Bengals 10. Warner completed 17 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, all to Az-Zahir Hakim, who recorded a fourth touchdown on an 84-yard punt return.
1998 Terrell Davis Heading into the fourth quarter, the Bengals were down by one point (13-12). Bengals scored 14 points in that final quarter. Broncos scored 20 with a five-yard touchdown run by Davis, who finished the game with 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Starters. Comparing the starting roster during kickoff weekend against the Ravens, and the week 12 starting roster against the Steelers, there's 10 lineup changes due to injury or feeling sleepy. Receiving, tight end and full back (h-back) is often dictated by the formation the Bengals come out in, so that's kind of messy.

  Week 1 Week 12
Quarterback Carson Palmer Ryan Fitzpatrick
Running Back Chris Perry Cedric Benson
Fullback/Tight End Reggie Kelly Andre Caldwell
Wide Receiver Chad Johnson Glenn Holt
Wide Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Tight End Ben Utecht Reggie Kelly
Left Tackle Levi Jones Anthony Collins
Left Guard Andrew Whitworth Nate Livings
Center Eric Ghiaciuc Eric Ghiaciuc
Right Guard Bobbie Williams Bobbie Williams
Right Tackle Stacy Andrews Stacy Andrews
DEFENSE Week 1 Week 12
Left Defensive End Robert Geathers Robert Geathers
Left Defensive Tackle Domata Peko Domata Peko
Right Defensive Tackle John Thornton Pat Sims
Right Defensive End Frostee Rucker Frostee Rucker
SLB Rashad Jeanty Rashad Jeanty
MLB Dhani Jones Dhani Jones
WLB Keith Rivers Brandon Johnson
LCB Johnathan Joseph David Jones
RCB Leon Hall Leon Hall
SS Dexter Jackson Chris Crocker
FS Marvin White Marvin White

If this team were made of rookies, we'd have two wins, maybe more. I think it's becoming evident that this rookie class is going to be a good one. Anthony Collins came through with the toughest task asked of a rookie tackle. Andre Caldwell got into the offense. Pat Sims has performed well this season, Keith Rivers was coming into his own, and Corey Lynch made some plays. At one point we were wondering where our rookies are. There they are.