The MVP is the most prestigious NFL award one can receive. It’s given to the player that performs the best throughout the season. Last year, Patrick Mahomes won it with a sensational season throwing for 5097 yards and 50 touchdowns. Now that we are halfway through an exciting NFL season, lets the discuss the top 5 MVP candidates.
Aaron Rodgers has led the Packers to a 7-1 record and has them sitting atop the NFC North. Rodgers has been nothing short of astounding this year throwing for 2324 yards, 16 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Rodgers has played most of this season without his number 1 target and arguably one of the best receivers in the NFL, Davante Adams. He’s played with limited playmakers and makes the seem elite.
Rodgers started off the season slow, but he’s slowly turning back into the Rodgers many defenses fear. Rodgers posted a perfect passer rating against the Raiders in which he threw 5 touchdowns and ran 1 as well. As the weeks go on, it seems that Rodgers is getting more comfortable with LaFleur which means the best is yet to come. Due to the past couple of performances from Aaron Rodgers, he sits at number one in my MVP rankings.
Wilson has had an amazing year so far leading the Seahawks to a 6-2 record with losses only to the Ravens and Saints, two of the best teams in the NFL. Wilson has thrown for 2127 yards and 17 touchdowns with only 1 interception. He leads the league in touchdowns, interceptions and passer rating. What makes this even more impressive is that he’s done it without any elite wide receivers.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are not horrible wide receivers, but they are not in the same tier as Deandre Hopkins or Davante Adams (there are others to). Wilson also lost his starting tight end Will Dissly for the year so his job is not getting any easier.
Wilson’s ability to make plays outside the pocket masks how bad his offensive line really is. The Seahawks offensive line is ranked 26th according to football outsiders.
With a bad O-Line combined with mediocre wide receivers, Wilson has been able to put up elite stats along with leading the Seahawks to the 3rd best record in the NFC, which is super impressive but due to his subpar performances for his standards the past two weeks, he has dropped to number 2 in these MVP predictions.
McCaffrey has accounted for about 40% of the Panthers total yardage… 40%. He’s also accounted for half of their touchdowns… half. McCaffrey has willed this Panthers team to a 4-3 record and has them sitting at 2nd in the NFC South. McCaffrey is one of the most dynamic backs in the game. If the running game isn’t working for him, he’ll beat you through the air and vice versa.
The Panther offensive line is ranked 23rd in the NFL according to football outsiders which is way below average. McCaffrey faced 8+ defenders in the box 18.44% of times he’s running. He’s also faced two top-10 rushing defences (The #1 rushing defense twice) and four top-16 rushing defences, and he’s been able to put up these stats with a subpar O-Line and a backup quarterback. Once Newton comes back, expect McCafferey to get even better as they’ll have to worry about the passing and running ability of Newton which should open up more opportunities for McCaffrey.
6:32 left in the game, Watson takes a shotgun snap, feels pressure, and steps up in the pocket. The Raiders had Watson wrapped up, but he spins away and escapes the pressure, while taking a cleat to the eye and throws the go ahead touchdown to Darren Fells.
Later that game, Gruden compared Watson to Michael Jordan. Watson’s mentality is like no others, and it showed in this game. With his left eye completely swollen, he willed the Texans to victory, putting them 1/2 games back from the Colts in the AFC South with a 5-3 record.
Watson has also played some of the tougher teams in the NFL. He’s played the Colts, Chargers, Saints, Jaguars (defense), Chiefs and Panthers. Those are some of the best NFL defenses who Deshaun has had to play in the first 8 weeks, and he’s still on pace to throw for 4500 yards and rush for about 500 yards to go along with 45 total touchdowns.
Watson ranks fourth in QBR and 6th in passer rating. With Tunsil and Will Fuller nursing injuries and JJ Watt out for the year, Watson has a chance to strengthen his MVP resume if he can will this Texans team to the playoffs.
Due to his inconsistent quarterback play at the beginning of the season, Watson sits at fourth in these MVP rankings.
Fun fact, Lamar Jackson has more total yards than 14 NFL teams. Lamar Jackson has silenced critics who regarded him as a running back. Even though much of his damage is done through the run game, he’s not the running back many people made him out to be. We’ve seen instances this season that Jackson is great thrower; he produced a perfect passer rating against the Dolphins with 324 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also throwing for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Cardinals. Lately he’s fallen flat, only throwing 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his last 5 games. Even with his recent slump, he has the Ravens sitting at 5-2 atop the AFC North.
Much like Wilson, Jackson’s been playing without any great weapons, but his receiving core may be one of the worst in the NFL. On top of this, he’s been without his best receiver in Marquise Brown for 2 games. His leading receivers are Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown (despite injury), followed by Willie Snead IV, and their other tight ends, Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. 3 of his top 5 receiving leaders are tight ends, which shows how limited his options are.
Jackson is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in football, as he’s been able to will the Ravens to a 5-2 record, while he’s been in a throwing slump. Jackson’s an elite runner and Harbaugh’s offense allows him to showcase his ability and its working. The Ravens lead the league in rushing yards per game and Lamar Jackson leads the team in rushing.
Lamar Jackson is on track to shatter the single season quarterback rushing record with 1311 yards, but also put up 5084 total yards. The last time a quarterback won MVP with a season similar to Lamar, was Cam Newton in 2015 when he threw for 3837 yards and rushed for 636 yards and accounted for 4473 yards. Jackson has a chance to replicate Newton’s MVP winning season, while putting up even better stats, if he breaks out of his throwing slump soon.
Due to his recent slump, Lamar Jackson owns the 5th spot in these MVP rankings.