NFL MVP Race

by JoeYancey

The loss of Derrick Henry and Kyler Murray, who were both, respectfully strong candidates for the NFL Most Valuable Player award has made it anyone’s game. The MVP picture is less clear now than a few weeks ago, when it looked like a 3-man race between Murray, Henry, and Stafford. That is no longer the case.

The case for each here…

Josh Allen

Many odds sites have Allen as the second or third favorite for the MVP. I don’t see it. The Bills have played badly against bad teams, which is where MVP quarterbacks put teams away and beat them up. The word VALUABLE doesn’t necessarily mean what it should mean in the sense of this award, but if it did, based on Allen’s recent contract, he would not even be in the top ten. I suppose with Buffalo’s lack of commitment to the running game, Allen’s natural skill set, and the Bills’ regular-season record, Josh Allen will likely always be somewhere near the top in voting, but so far this year I think his case is worse than the previous.

Aaron Rodgers

As of late, Rodgers is considered by many to be one of the front runners. The Packers have the 4th toughest schedule in football and have dealt with numerous injuries, including Aaron’s primary protector, Pro Bowler, David Bakhtiari. Other notable players that have missed time for the Packers: Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Alan Lazard, Robert Tonyan, Randall Cobb, and others. Green Bay’s win against the conference-leading Arizona Cardinals in a week where the Packers started the Wayans brothers at wide receiver certainly did not hurt Aaron’s cause. Rodgers at 8 wins (the team at 9) and 2 more rushing touchdowns than Lamar Jackson is also a strong point for AR12. Rodgers is so accurate that we rarely talk about his low interception count, as we’ve grown to expect it, but with only 4 interceptions on the season, Rodgers is averaging 1 pick for every 93 attempts. Incredible.

Tom Brady

TB’s numbers are beefy, but the margin for error is much smaller. Tom is likely the leader at this point, but lining up with Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski somewhat diminishes his individual stats. Like the Belichick/Brady argument – many will argue over who most deserves the accolades. Tom has dealt with plenty of injuries as well. Losing Brown and Gronkowski for extended periods of time. Tom currently leads the league in touchdowns and wins, and likely the MVP race by a slim margin.

Mac Jones

An outside chance, but minimal big-name offensive support on the Pats, and Mac’s performance make him an intriguing option. Mac was the fifth QB taken in round one of the 2021 NFL drafts, and so far, has certainly been the most effective. The numbers are not that impressive, outside of wins and completion percentage, but if he continues to win, he could be a serious contender. The perceived lack of athleticism has fed his underdog story, and the eight wins aren’t hurting any.

Matthew Stafford

The biggest shift in early week voting has been with Stafford. Not entirely his fault. The Rams not winning games is the catalyst to this shift, but what part of the losing streak is Matt? He hasn’t been great, but he also hasn’t been awful. There is no world where anyone improves after losing Robert Woods, but Stafford will have to be much better than his last 3 outings for a chance at the trophy. A rating of 78.3 during the Rams’ losing streak isn’t going to get it done.

Kyler Murray

Playing time. Literally, the only thing holding Kyler Murray back is playing time. Kyler was the favorite. If he can come back soon and finish the season the way he started the season, it may be his to lose, but until we see him on the field, it’s difficult to speculate. The longer he goes without playing time, the less likely he is to compete for the award.

Joe Burrow

Burrow is quietly having a good season. He may be a tad overshadowed by Joe Mixon, who is having his best season to date. To that point, rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is stealing a lot of Burrow’s shine as well, but who do you think is throwing him the ball? As it often is, too much talent around you can hurt your chances for individual achievements and recognition. Joe has a very potent offense in Mixon, Chase, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins. By my count, Burrow is an outside chance at best.

Dak Prescott

Again, sticking with the theme – lots of missed time from key players is a reason to consider Dak. The numbers are good, like others on our list, and he’s done this with the absence of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, intermittently. Dak was finally made whole with his trio of weapons last night. In a high-scoring offense, Dak moving up the list is a sure thing.

Other QB possibles: Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins.

It is VERY unlikely a non-QB wins the MVP, but some other players that deserve a look: Jonathan Taylor, Davante Adams, Coper Kupp, Joe Mixon.

QuarterbackRating Completion %Total TDINTWins
Tom Brady103.164.10%3198
Aaron Rodgers105.566.20%2648
Josh Allen99.166.80%28107
Mac Jones97.170.30%1688
Matthew Stafford105.2566.50%2797
Kyler Murray110.472.70%2077
Joe Burrow101.669.30%23127
Dak Prescott101.769.00%2487

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