OPINION: NFL MVP watch, Week 6

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, but that time of year when ‘small sample size’ starts to mean even less than it did compared to the week before. The week where the Dallas Cowboys are currently on a three-game losing streak after starting off 3-0. The one where the Detroit Lions are looking like a good football team. But, I like awards, and projecting who might win them in any given season--without further ado, here are my top MVP candidates through this point in the season.

5.) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (5-1)

Rodgers has not been great this season. In fact, he has only thrown for more than 300 yards once, and thrown for more than 250 twice. However, the Packers defense has been phenomenal, and there is no way Green Bay would be 5-1 were it not for Rodgers. He might get some votes, but I don’t think his chances are that great.

4.) Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (4-2)

In the NFL, the only currency that can compare to touchdowns is yards. When massive yardage is earned on every possession, that gives an advantage to the offense that can help a backup quarterback keep the ship afloat. McCaffrey is a yardage monster who can get his yards via rushing or receiving, and he does both with astonishing regularity. Thus far, he leads the league in total touches, with 162, and in total yards from the line of scrimmage with 923. If he gained all those yards from the backfield, it would be impressive on its own. However, McCaffrey has gained 305 yards from the air, and has been gaining 8.7 yards after the catch this season, per Football Reference. If he can break the total yardage record, he could finish higher than fourth in the MVP voting.

3.)  Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)

Mahomes has been the best quarterback in the league for the last year and a half. Still, he has been contained for the last two weeks, first by the Colts and then by the Texans. You could argue that this is because of subpar performances from the offensive line or not having many capable targets the last couple weeks. Even when he struggles, though, he’s still the scariest player in the league: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSezUAV9UUk

This play alone encapsulates why he’s so scary. He evades the pressure ten yards behind the line of scrimmage, and then throws a dart thirty yards into the end zone. If the Chiefs regain momentum (definitely possible), then look for Mahomes to possibly repeat as MVP.

2.) Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, Miami Dolphins (0-5)

Just kidding, just wanted to make sure you were still reading. 

2.) Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (4-2)

You look at the top three candidates on the list and they all have similarities. They all scramble and consistently make something out of nothing (you can probably figure out who number one is, but we’ll keep it suspenseful for now.) Watson and Mahomes are going to be intertwined when it comes to narratives because they were picked in such close proximity (unfortunately for Mitch Trubisky.) Watson has had some low yardage passing games; however, those games came when a majority of their offense was generated from the run game. What does that tell me? That Watson can determine which facet is working best in the game, and then use that to his advantage. When he has adequate protection, he is one of the top quarterbacks in the league--we’ll see how this goes.

1.) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (5-1)

Is it a little self-serving that I am choosing the guy who I picked in the prediction piece for this publication? Perhaps, but Wilson has been balling out this year. I don’t think it is ridiculous to say that the Seahawks would not be 5-1 were it not for the best efforts of their quarterback. He is Mahomes with a worse publicist, and possibly more entertaining. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNYo8ziwHzY

This video is the Wilson experience in a nutshell. He maneuvers around the pocket with a dexterity and smoothness that should not be possible. He is a great runner, and he keeps plays alive and basically wills wide receivers open. He does it and makes it look incredibly easy, all while helping Seattle put out a great offense. Thus far, he has been the MVP. Let’s see if he can keep it up.


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