Some things don’t need much explanation, and Russell Wilson being the clear frontrunner to win the 2020 NFL MVP award is one of them. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback has been a steady favorite in the race, and the odds continue to be in his favor.
While Wilson, who has never received an MVP vote in his ninth-year career, beats quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson as the frontrunner, according to BetOnline.ag, there’s a slew of other players having MVP-caliber seasons of their own.
Here are 10 players who should be for the league’s MVP award six weeks into the season:
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Last week: No. 1
Two weeks ago, Wilson continued to wow us with game-saving heroics to get the Seahawks to 5-0, and after this past week, they are the NFC’s only undefeated team. Wilson got some much-deserved rest following Seattle’s bye and now prepares for a divisional matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who are coming off their own impressive defensive performance. If there’s anyone who can unravel defensive momentum, it’s Wilson.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: No. 3
Mahomes rarely misses a beat. He started the 2020 season fresh off a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP run to become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 90 passing touchdowns through 37 games. No, Mahomes isn’t perfect, but he doesn’t have to be. The Kansas City Chiefs don’t need him playing lights out every week; at least not in the same way the Seahawks need Wilson to. It’s part of what makes Kansas City so frightening and why they are clear favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Mahomes is still leading Kansas City to a 5-1 record while totaling 1,699 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and just one interception in six games; he also has 165 rushing yards and one rushing score.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Last week: No. 3
Jackson may not look entirely like the MVP player we saw in 2019, but he has led the Baltimore Ravens to a better record than this time last season. While the numbers can be misleading and much of Baltimore’s offense (and defense) needs to be cleaned up, Jackson put up Jackson-esque statistics in the Ravens’ 30-28 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished the narrow win with one of his most complete performances of the season: 186 passing yards and 108 rushing yards rushing plus two total touchdowns. Jackson will continue to be tested facing a tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense after the Ravens’ bye.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
Last week: No. 6
After the Tennessee Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill toppled the Buffalo Bills in a rare Tuesday night game, they came out of Week 6 with a thrilling 42-36 overtime victory over the Houston Texans. Tannehill is cementing himself as one of the top tier passers in the league and showing us what a perfect team-player fit looks like. Tannehill is building off his 2019 Comeback Player of the Year campaign with 1,368 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and two interceptions in five games. Tannehill is also contributing to the rush, headed by another MVP candidate, with 77 yards and one touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Last week: No. 3
The Green Bay Packers got embarrassed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Rodgers didn’t look good, at all, after throwing two interceptions during the 38-10 rout. But it’s Aaron Rodgers. He’ll bounce back. The Packers have been enjoying the fun side of Rodgers, most weeks, and a matchup against the Deshaun Watson-led Texans could bring a typical bounce-back performance. Rodgers has successfully worked around early-season woes, including wide receiver Davante Adams’ absences due to injury. One bad week won’t take him out of the MVP race, not at the pace he’s currently playing at, but it’ll be tough to break through the top of this list if he has any more disastrous outings.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: No. 5
Ben Roethlisberger isn’t the quarterback he once was, but he’s been able to come back from a season-ending injury in 2019 and lead Pittsburgh to a 5-0 start. The Steelers are one of the best, most complete teams in the NFL and it’s due, in large part, to how well Roethlisberger has been executing. He has completed 69.1% of his passes for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns with just one interception. Roethlisberger is also utilizing all of the talent around him, including rookie break out receiver Chase Claypool. If Pittsburgh continues to play at this high of a level and Roethlisberger sustains the early momentum he’s building, the team will be a favorite for a deep playoff run—and the veteran quarterback will stay in MVP conversations.
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Last week: N/A
Kyler Murray has been on and off the list, much like how the Cardinals have been on and off nearly halfway through the season, but a big primetime win over the Dallas Cowboys gave us a glimpse at the adaptable young offense. Murray was admittedly frustrated after not looking his best in the 38-10 win. While Murray ran through the Cowboys’ defense, he only completed 9-of-24 passes. It’s far from the early season performances that pushed Murray up this list. If he can put together more complete outings, he’ll continue to be in the mix; but unlike Rodgers or Jackson, Murray can’t afford to have many more off games.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Last week: N/A
Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry complete the Titans’ 1-2 punch. While Tannehill is proving his success is sustainable, Henry is building his case for the most explosive back in the NFL and shows that some are worth big bucks. Henry led the league in rushing in 2019 with 1,540 yards and currently leads all backs with 588 yards; he’s totaling more yards than entire teams!
Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
Last week: No. 9
This one-man wrecking ball won’t beat out any quarterback for this award but it would be a disservice to not mention Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald when talking about most valuable players. Donald continues to be a game-changer in the Rams’ defense
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Last week: No. 10
Josh Allen remains on this list because when he’s on, he’s on. However, as we saw against Kansas City, when he’s off, he is way off. While Allen was among one of the first unlikely candidates to be high in MVP conversations, it was understood that he still had a lot of work to do. Despite falling down this list, Allen can still make a charge for this honor in his third season. He’ll just need to play a heck of a later better from here on out.