There are four weeks left in the 2022 NFL season, which means we’re on the home stretch not only in the playoff race, but also in the battle for the MVP.
Week 14 was one in which the race seemed to settle between four quarters. Other positions deserve recognition, but since Adrian Peterson’s victory in 2012, the MVP has only been one quarterback, and there’s a quartet that has split from the rest.
Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa had received some hype as a potential MVP, but his back-to-back disappointing displays against the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers likely took him out of the equation.
It’s become a fight between the quarterback piloting the NFC’s best team and a trio of signallers each hoping to lead their respective rosters to the AFC’s top seed.
At the moment, he is the first who is the favorite because of an almost perfect CV.
THE FRONTRUNNER: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Competition with more established NFL stars has been fierce but, after recent devastating performances against the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, it’s hard to dispute Hurts as an MVP favorite.
A week after edging out the Titans, the Eagles brushed aside the Giants at The Meadowlands with another effortless display of dominance fueled by Hurts’ ability to hit the ball deep and his influence on an ultra-diverse running game.
Hurts connected with DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown for touchdowns for 41 and 33 yards, and also rushed for 77 yards and a score on seven carries. His 13 touchdown passes of at least 20 yards are the most in the NFL while his 10 rushing scores are sixth, and two more than any other quarterback (Justin Fields, eight).
He now has 3,157 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns this season, becoming the fourth quarterback all-time with at least 3,000 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Kyler Murray (2020), Cam Newton (2011 and 2015) and Kordell Stewart (1997).
Newton won MVP in 2015 by posting such numbers for a 15-1 Carolina Panthers team that went on to reach the Super Bowl. The Eagles are on course to go 16-1 thanks to Hurts’ growth as a pitcher – his 82.7% throwing rate well is a substantial improvement from his mark of 77.1% from 2021. If they do, it’s unlikely to have many compelling counter-arguments against Hurts as MVP.
DON’T COUNT IT: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
A three-steel performance from Mahomes against the Denver Broncos may have helped tip the MVP race in Hurts’ favor, but the 2018 MVP is still performing at a level worthy of winning back the award.
Mahomes has 60 completions of at least 20 yards this season. No other quarterback has even reached 50, with Joe Burrow being his closest challenger at 46.
He ranks eighth among quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 attempts with an 83.5% field-goal percentage and was extremely accurate when going deep.
Indeed, Mahomes’ completion percentage of 50 on pass attempts of at least 21 passing yards is fourth among quarterbacks with at least 10 of those throws. In addition to his explosiveness on the court, Mahomes has done a great job of creating rushing yardage, his average yards per rush on 7.44 scrambles bettered by only Justin Fields (7.98) and PJ Walker (8 ,67).
Recent problems with turnovers and the Chiefs losing to Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills and Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals may have shaken his case, but, with four games to go, Mahomes has laid the groundwork for an MVP resume and still has a chance to win the award for a second time if he can lift Kansas City to the top seed.
FADING FAST? : Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
The resume in terms of accomplishments for Allen is pretty stellar. If the season ended today, the Bills would be the number one seed in the AFC and he earned the decisive win over the Chiefs with a terrific fourth quarter performance at Arrowhead.
Allen’s deep ball has been extremely impressive this season. No NFL quarterback has tallied more yards on throws of at least 21 aerial yards than his 833.
The Bills star is also on the right side of the ledger in terms of accuracy, delivering a well-thrown ball on 82% of his passes. The league average – minimum 50 attempts – is 81.4.
However, like Mahomes, Allen has 11 interceptions this season and has a 4.89% selectable pass rate, nearly a point above the 4.09% average.
His recklessness with the ball contributed to key losses to the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, costing the Bills wins that would have given them clear separation at the top of the AFC.
Allen is clearly one of the best quarterbacks in the league and will remain so for many years to come, but the consistency hasn’t been there for him to be considered MVP at this point.
THE SLEEPER: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
After a slow start, the man who led the Bengals’ unlikely charge to an AFC championship is once again performing at a level that saw him elevate Cincinnati to elite status.
Even in the hard-fought Week 14 win over the Cleveland Browns with a Bengals offense that has been one of the most productive in the NFL since Week 6 didn’t fire on all cylinders, the lethal accuracy of Burrow made the difference, including on a pinpoint 15-yard touchdown to Ja’Marr Chase on a post route to open the scoring.
Burrow delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 87.5 percent of his passes against the Browns. For the season, his 85.9% pass rate is fifth among quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts. His selectable success rate of just 1.52% is the best in the NFL.
Burrow outperforms Hurts, Mahomes and Allen when it comes to delivering with precision and taking care of the ball, and has an iconic win over Mahomes to his name from Week 13.
If the Bengals continue to snatch AFC North from the Baltimore Ravens, Burrow will have a stellar record for MVP, one that will be even stronger if 9-4 Cincinnati can catch up with Kansas City and Buffalo in the race for the lead. series. .