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NFL Early MVP ContendersCalvin K

NFL Early MVP Contenders

Week 5 of the NFL season is in the books, and a lot of exciting football has been played. With the season more than a quarter old, the MVP race is beginning to take shape, and five players have established themselves as legitimate contenders. My analysis of those five players is below.

Russell Wilson (QB, Seattle Seahawks)

Wilson has done a lot of great things in the NFL since he was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, but for the majority of his career, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll declined to center his entire offense around him. That changed this year. Through five games, Wilson has already thrown for a whopping 1,502 yards and 19 touchdowns, and he has chipped in 153 yards rushing as well. Wilson has single-handedly erased any questions about whether the Seahawks were in the elite tier of NFL teams with his absurdly great play, and he has managed to overcome a mediocre defensive unit to lead Seattle to a 5-0 record to start the season. Wilson has long been an afterthought in the conversation about the league’s best players, but his consistently high level of play has made him the frontrunner in this year’s MVP race.

Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs)

Russell Wilson’s crazy start to the season has caused Mahomes not to get as much of the attention that he is used to getting, but there’s still no doubt that he belongs in the MVP conversation. His passing numbers (1,474 passing yards, 13 passing TDs) are similar to Wilson’s, and his ability to make throws on the run in unmatched by any other quarterback. Mahomes can make plays with his feet as well, with 129 yards rushing on the year. Wilson and Mahomes are neck-and-neck in the conversation for the league’s best player, with Wilson getting the slight edge in rushing and game management, and Mahomes getting the slight edge in arm strength and accuracy. These two quarterbacks are the face of the NFL right now, and we might see one of the most fun MVP races in years over the final 12 weeks of the season.

Lamar Jackson (QB, Baltimore Ravens)

Jackson’s stats this year aren’t as absurd as his stats from 2019, but if he gets on his old pace again, he could suddenly place himself right in the thick of the MVP race. Jackson’s 949 passing yards and 9 passing touchdowns aren’t that impressive when you compare them to Wilson and Mahomes, but he has also contributed on the ground with 238 rushing yards. Jackson has seen his rushing yards per game decline (80.4 yards per game in 2019 compared to 47.6 this year), but he is as talented as ever, and with a strong finish to the season, he could be a solid number three MVP candidate for this year.

Josh Allen (QB, Buffalo Bills)

Even though Allen had an off night in his Tuesday matchup against the Tennessee Titans, he has still produced amazing stats through the first five games of the season. The offseason addition of star wide receiver Stefon Diggs has boosted Allen’s numbers in a big way, as he has thrown for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns so far this season. Because Allen has made so many throws this season, he has seen a slight dip in his rushing numbers, but he has still put up a solid 101 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. It is a bit concerning that Allen has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry this season, but the area where he has changed the most has been completion percentage. Last season, Allen had just a 58.8 completion percentage, but the addition of Diggs and an offseason of development has caused that number to jump to a very solid 69.3%. Allen’s stats may be the best quarterback stats in the league, and while he is still prone to occasional mistakes, he still belongs in the MVP conversation.

Alvin Kamara (RB, New Orleans Saints)

In a quarterback-dominated league, Kamara was the only RB to make this list, but he has definitely earned his spot in the MVP discussion. Kamara has stepped up in a big way with Michael Thomas sidelined, with 676 total yards and seven touchdowns through just five games. In a year with injuries to elite running backs Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, Kamara has really stood out, and if he keeps up his current pace, he will merit at least some consideration for a quarterback-dominated award.

My top five MVP contenders for the NFL season so far.

Last modified: October 20, 2020
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