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NFL Draft

2020 NFL MVP Watch: Patrick Mahomes Pushing Russell Wilson

  • The Draft Network
  • September 29, 2020
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In the NFL, there are the top three quarterbacks playing for the MVP award and then there’s everyone else.

Although everyone else will need a miracle if they want to go toe-to-toe with the most dynamic passers to ever play the game, some bolstered their case to be strong contenders in the MVP conversation.

After three weeks, here are 10 players to watch in the league’s MVP race:

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Last week: No. 1

There are no better quarterbacks than these MVP frontrunners, but it starts here with the favorite to take home this year’s award. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is as efficient as ever while he continues to carry this team to a 3-0 start. Wilson has a league-best passer rating (139.0) and the third-best quarterback rating (86.2). He’s thrown for 925 yards and 14 touchdowns and is on pace for a whopping 4,933 passing yards and 75 scores.

The only thing in Wilson’s way is his own team. The Seahawks’ defense is vastly underplaying compared to their offense and Wilson would have one more touchdown if it wasn’t for wide receiver D.K. Metcalf’s mistake Sunday. Wilson is coming off consecutive five-touchdown games and has thrown at least four in each of Seattle’s wins to become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw four-or-more touchdown passes in each of the first three games; the Seahawks are averaging 37 points per game. He is also completing 77% of his passes. No one is having a better MVP season than Wilson, not even Patrick Mahomes.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Last week: No. 2

Mahomes seems to be the entire NFL’s kryptonite, and just when he seems to have met his match, he does something to continually show why he’s in a league of his own. What gives Wilson the edge here is that he’s been doing the same thing but for longer. 

Mahomes has a number of things working in his favor including a loaded arsenal and play-calling from two of the best minds in football: head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Still, we watch Mahomes in awe when he sails the ball through the air or has a four-touchdown, 385-yard night dismantling of a team that was supposed to hold their own against the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Last week: No. 3

Despite the lopsided loss to Kansas City, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson isn’t falling in these rankings. No passer, aside from the two aforementioned quarterbacks, can do what Jackson does on almost a weekly basis. While the 34-20 defeat left much to be desired in what was supposed to be the marquee matchup of the 2020 season, the fault doesn’t lie solely with Jackson.

He had a career-low 97 yards and was 15-of-28 passing with only one touchdown to finish Monday’s game, but he also had a single-game career-high five passes dropped. Jackson was uber-efficient through the first two weeks heading into that big Week 3 matchup. The winner separated himself in this race, but that doesn’t mean the loser is any worse; the Chiefs are really just that good.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Last week: No. 5

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is hoping to end his 2020 campaign with the league’s MVP award; it would certainly show the Packers that they were a little premature in drafting his heir. Rodgers has one of the best passer ratings (121.1) and is leading the NFL’s highest-scoring offense; the Packers are averaging 40.7 points per game.

His deep ball, efficiency, and high football IQ were on display against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, and Rodgers is doing all of this without his best receiver, Davante Adams. Rodgers came away from the 37-30 win by completing 65% of his passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. 

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

Last week: No. 6

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has, up until now, quietly put together his MVP case. However, a win on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams let the cat out of the bag. Allen is taking a massive step forward in his third season and has become a dark horse in this race.

While experience usually wins, here, Allen is showing that even if he is flawed, he can still overcome the NFL’s most fearsome defenders to deliver a win. He left the 35-32 victory with 311 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception on 24-of-33 passing. Allen is among Wilson and Rodgers with a 124.8 passer rating. He’s not the perfect passer, but he’s already unlocking different parts of his game, particularly the long ball with the addition of receiver Stefon Diggs. 

Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Last week: No. 4

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is playing a large role in making the NFC West one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. His ascension in Year 2, the Air Raid offense head coach Kliff Kingsbury is running, and the addition of receiver DeAndre Hopkins has elevated the Cardinals from a five-win team in 2019 to true playoff contenders. 

Unfortunately, a narrow loss to the Detroit Lions and a three-interception game moves Murray down this week’s MVP watch list, but overall, he continues to show he’s a dynamic passer. After three weeks, Murray has 786 passing yards and four passing touchdowns plus 187 rushing yards and four rushing scores.

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Last week: N/A

There’s one Saints player who needs to be in the MVP conversation, and it isn’t quarterback Drew Brees. Running back Alvin Kamara made up the New Orleans’ offense this weekend as he rushed for a team-leading 58 yards and also led all receivers with 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Kamara has 280 yards after catch through Week 3, which is better than all but four NFL receivers, and leads the league with 438 yards from scrimmage.

Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams

Last week: N/A

If the Rams’ defensive tackle plays the entirety of his career without this honor, it would be a mind-boggling mishap. 

No, there isn’t a laundry list of stats to track Donald’s dominance, but an eye test will easily show anyone why he’s not just the best defender in the NFL but one of the best overall players. He leads the league in most total pressures (20) and single-handedly demolishes offenses.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1310303339700076544?s=20

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week: No. 9

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 3-0 for the ninth time in franchise history and have found a way to maximize quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as he approaches the final season(s) of his career. Roethlisberger, at 38 years old and coming off elbow surgery, is playing some of his best football with all of the right pieces including one of the league’s best defenses that saw Pittsburgh hold off the Houston Texans for a 28-21 victory.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

Last week: N/A

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill charged into the second half of the 2019 season like a knight on a white horse rescuing the Tennessee Titans’ playoff hopes. But would he sustain the efforts that earned him Comeback Player of the Year honors? So far, in 2020, Tannehill is. Similar to Roethlisberger, no one knew what to expect from Tannehill, and regression wouldn’t have been surprising. On the other hand, his success shouldn’t be surprising, either. Tannehill has 809 yards with six touchdown passes and one interception while leading the Titans to a 3-0 record. All long as he keeps this up, his name will be sprinkled in the MVP conversation.

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