Now that every team has played at least 8 games, the MVP race can be talked about. There are some obvious candidates, and maybe some not-so-obvious ones that may shock you.
5. Saquon Barkley
The Giants are currently 6-2 due to their defense and running game led by Saquon. Saquon came out the gate with an amazing week 1 game and has not slowed down since. So far through 8 games, Saquon has 968 total yards and 5 touchdowns. Barkley is carrying the Giants’ offense and that alone can lead him to be awarded the MVP trophy. He almost has as many touchdowns as much improved, Daniel Jones (6). Without him, the Giants would not be close to 6-2 even with their great defense, he is their only offensive weapon. So by definition, he may be the most valuable to his team, but we all know the MVP award is a quarterback award. Barkley’s odds come in at +20000 according to Caesar’s Sports Book, so I would avoid betting it since a running back has not won since 2012.
4. Geno Smith
Wow. Who would have thought we would be saying Geno Smith could win MVP? Smith is one of, if not the most efficient quarterback in the league. He is fifth in DVOA (definition here), first in completion percentage (73.1%), and top 6 in touchdowns and yards. Geno has destroyed the “system quarterback” narrative, showing how it does not matter if you are good because of a system. Smith has led the Seahawks to first in the NFC West at 6-3 which is surprising, to say the least. Prior to the season, most analysts did not have them winning more than 4 games, but halfway through the year, they have done that and then some. Geno can win the MVP award if the Seahawks continue on this pace, make the playoffs, and keeps up his historical numbers for a former draft bust.
3. Jalen Hurts
Hurts has brought the Eagles to an 8-0 start and he has played amazingly. Hurts has demolished anyone who doubts his passing abilities, completing 68.2% of passes for 2042 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s not even his best ability, he is one of the best rushing quarterbacks I have ever seen. Hurts averages 40.8 rushing YPG and has 6 touchdowns, very obvious he has been dominant on the ground. Some may say that the Eagles’ schedule has been very easy, which it has been, but starting off 8-0 is never an accident. Hurts is in the most competitive division in football and he has dominated the NFC East so far. If Jalen wants to win MVP, the Eagles have to win the NFC East, which they will, and he will have to continue his dominant passing and running attack. AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert will have to stay healthy for Jalen to continue being this efficient.
2. Josh Allen
This may surprise some but there is a very clear reason. Josh Allen just suffered the same type of injury Matthew Stafford suffered and Stafford has not looked good this year. (Check out my Rams article for more information on Stafford). This type of injury ruins a player’s arm strength, ask any MLB pitcher what a UCL injury can do. However, Josh has been a key part of one of the top teams in the AFC. Allen is fourth in yards, and second in touchdowns, has the rushing upside, and the Bills are atop one of the hardest divisions in the league. If the Wyoming product’s injury is not as bad as it is for Stafford, he will definitely win his first career MVP while leading the Bills to a potential super bowl run.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Who else would it be? Mahomes is the best quarterback I have ever watched and I am a Patriots fan who grew up on Tom Brady. Patty leads the league in touchdowns and yards which is just incredible after he lost star wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Patrick is just so uber-talented and has brought the Chiefs to 6-2, second in the AFC and there is no slowing down for him. He has brought the best out of JuJu, Mecole Hardman, and his “role player” wide receivers as they all have looked pretty good, especially in the last few weeks. Mahomes has the best chance to win the award just because he is the best quarterback in the league and there really is no debate about that right now. Mahomes finally has the narrative again, “what will he do without Tyreek.” That is how a lot of players across any sport win MVP. The fight between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes is going to be very fun to watch for the rest of the season. When they meet in the AFC Championship, people are going to see who the real MVP is.
There are a few players that could win but most likely will not. First, there is Tua Tagovailoa. Tua has been great but there are so many Tua haters that it will never happen. He also has a great supporting cast so that never helps a player’s case. Secondly, there is Micah Parsons. Micah is carrying that Cowboys defense to dominance, probably the best in the league. However, he plays linebacker. While he is one of the most versatile defensive players I have ever watched, defensive players do not win MVP. Outside of that, anyone else has no real chance. Those two definitely have a chance, but the narrative against them will be their downfall.