- Logan Kaufman
2020 NFL MVP Predictions
The start of the NFL season began Thursday night and will continue with an action-packed Sunday. There will be many exciting games that will take place tomorrow but one main question that has been focused upon is, "Is there a clear favorite for the NFL MVP award heading into Week 1?". I believe that there is a slight favorite to win the award although there is a larger group than usual who could be in the running. That group consists of former Super Bowl champion, Patrick Mahomes, former MVP, Lamar Jackson, and second-year player, Kyler Murray. With these odds set for the season, it appears that some of the past competitors for the awards such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers may be aging out of the competition. With the three players in the running for the MVP award laid out, it’s time to evaluate why each player could win as well as what could hold them back.
Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback
To begin the discussion we will focus on the reigning Super Bowl champion and the Chiefs starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Despite having a lack of experience compared to some of the other MVP candidates, Mahomes has many factors on his side that can significantly contribute to him winning the MVP. First off, Mahomes will likely be much healthier allowing him to put up bigger numbers than he did last year. For those of you who do not know, Patrick Mahomes dislocated his knee last season taking him off of the field for two games. Because of his injury, Mahomes dipped from having 5000 plus yards and 50 touchdowns in 2018 to only 4,000 yards and half as many touchdowns in 2019. Since his injury, Mahomes has become a Super Bowl champion and the highest-paid player in the league. Mahomes has also had a long time to recover from his knee injury, leading me to believe that he will be able to maintain his health throughout the 2020 season.
Mahomes could very well win MVP this season as well because he still has the same receivers that he won the Super Bowl with last season, as well as head coach Andy Reid. Patrick Mahomes is talented enough on his own, but his wide receivers certainly help him garner further attention. He has fantastic players like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman at his disposal. Despite the countless positives that could help Mahomes win the MVP, there is one main thing that could stop him in his tracks. As mentioned earlier, Mahomes suffered from a dislocated knee in 2019. He has shown that he's recovered well from the injury, but we cannot completely rule out the possibility of a redislocation. All in all, Patrick Mahomes is likely the favorite to win the MVP, especially if he can stay healthy throughout the season.
Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens Quarterback
The second player who has great odds to win the MVP award this year is last year's MVP winner, Lamar Jackson. Jackson is coming off of a fantastic season where he led the Ravens to the playoffs, before falling to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC divisional round. Last season Jackson put up over 3000 passing yards and set a new record for rushing yards as a quarterback with 1200. It's needless to say that Lama was the best player in the league last season but the question is can he replicate that success this season? Something that really helped Lamar Jackson to win the MVP last season was the injury to Mahomes.
Over the offseason, the Ravens focused on their defense the most but did not forget about their offense. They signed 1 wide receiver in free agency and continued to draft 2 more in the NFL draft. On top of adding wide receiver talent, the Ravens drafted running back JK Dobbins, who could have a monumental impact on the team's running game. As most people know, a team's final record is taken into account when choosing an MVP winner. With all of the helpful additions to the team, I believe that the Ravens will have a better chance at ending the season with a higher record. Also in 2019, the Ravens had quite a few rookies who seemed to have a lot of potential, but little experience. The rookie that everyone was paying attention to was a wide receiver, Marquise Brown. "Hollywood" was one of the most talented offensive players in the 2018 NFL draft and the Ravens managed to pick him up. He showed outstanding potential last season and gained an abundance of experience. I believe that his level of experience will allow for Marquise Brown to put up significant numbers this season and draw more attention to Lamar Jackson's passing game. In conclusion, I view Lamar Jackson as the closest competitor to win the MVP award with Patrick Mahomes, I just believe it will come down to who can stay healthier for longer.
Kyler Murray - Arizona Cardinals Quarterback
Kyler Murray is the final quarterback who is certainly in the discussion to win the MVP award. Murray is a second-year player out of Oklahoma and a former number one overall pick in the NFL draft. You may be surprised to see only a second-year player on a list of potential MVP winners, but you must remember that Lamar Jackson exploded last season to win the MVP award in only his second season. Kyler played in more games his rookie year and therefore has much more experience going into his second season then Lamar did. He also has a similar playstyle as Lamar Jackson in the way that he runs the ball very well and often depends on his running game to get him out of sticky situations. If you think that Kyler Murray's 2019 statistics were good then you could be amazed by his 2020 stats.
The Cardinal's biggest edition was adding star receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. He is a top five receiver in the NFL right now and could be huge in helping Kyler attain MVP player status. DeAndre is known to be one of the best players in the league, but Kyler is one of the best running quarterbacks in the league. If those two can co-exist and thrive together then Kyler could put up monster numbers. Kyler Murray has the potential to become only the sixth player to ever win the MVP within their first two seasons but in order to do so, he needs to be on his A-game and establish a consistent connection with Hopkins.
To sum everything up, there are some fantastic candidates that could win the MVP award this season. The candidates that I focused on are Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray. All three of these players are quarterbacks who are within their first five seasons in the NFL. After evaluating each candidate, Patrick Mahomes is most likely to win the award with Kyler Murray following him in second, and Lamar Jackson coming in third. All three are very versatile players, but it will ultimately come down to who can stay healthy for longer and who can find a good balance between passing and running. The NFL season is now going on and I'm sure it will fly by, so with the three main MVP candidates laid out only one question remains. Which of these phenomenal players will win the MVP award? As the great Peyton Manning once said, "The most valuable player is the one who makes the most players valuable" and that is what it will come down to.
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