Posted on November 18, 2019, by Travis Pulver

When the 2019 NFL season began, the expectation as that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was going to win MVP again. After how he blew away the competition last season, it was not hard to understand why. The other top candidates were many of the usual suspects.

Trailing all of them at +5000 was the second-year quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson. Fast forward to the end of Week 11, and it is Jackson who is now favored to win.

According to Caesars, the odds for Jackson and some of the other MVP candidates are as follows:

  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens             +140
  • Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks             +200
  • Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers          +900
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs      +1000
  • Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys                    +1000
  • Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings                +1500
  • Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans          +2000
  • Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers  +2000

Those odds give Jackson a 41.67 percent chance of winning the MVP this season. With the numbers he has accumulated and the way he has played, it is not hard to understand why his odds are so short. Through Week 11, he has completed a respectable 66.3 percent of his passes for 2,258 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just five interceptions.

By themselves, those stats, along with the Ravens 8-2 record, would have him in the conversation. But the additional 788 yards and six touchdowns he has accounted for on the ground are what make him the front runner.

The MVP needs to be a transformative player, someone capable of taking over a game and making miracles happen. Ask anyone that has tried to tackle him and ended up clutching air, and they will likely say he can indeed make miracles happen.

So—does that mean there is no need to review the other leading candidates? Does he have a lock on the honor with six games still to play?

No, of course, not.

The Candidates

Of the names mentioned above, it would take a miraculous performance over the remainder of the season for Kirk Cousins or Deshaun Watson to win it. Both have had great games, but they have also had too many not so good ones. Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes certainly belong in the conversation for their body of work. But Mahomes has missed time, and Prescott has lost games he should have won.

That leaves Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Christian McCaffrey.

Of those three, Rodgers is likely the least likely to win. He has had some masterful moments this season, but he and the Green Bay offense struggled to start the year. One could say since they won anyway, he deserves a lot of credit. But they won anyway because of the defense, not anything Rodgers did.

Christian McCaffrey deserves to be viewed as more of a candidate than he is, but the MVP is often regarded as a quarterback’s award. So even after he destroys the single-season yards from scrimmage record, he is not going to win.

That leaves Russell Wilson.

Wilson is just as vital to the success of the Seahawks as Jackson is to the Ravens. As could be expected, his passing numbers are going to be better than Jackson’s (completing 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,737 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. He doesn’t run as much but still contributes in the ground game (256 yards, three touchdowns.

But the award is not all about the stats. It is about his value to the team and the NFL.

So—who should you bet for?

Jackson is becoming a more popular choice with each passing week, but Wilson has remained the favorite until this week. So, in the end, this is likely going to be a very close race. But if you must gamble, take Wilson to win and put a few bucks on McCaffrey (just in case).

It has been an excellent year for Jackson, but he is more of an Offensive Player of the Year, not MVP. He is more of a weapon, a product of the system even though he is the one who runs the operation.  But Wilson makes the magic happen, and is the mastermind behind the Seahawks (along with Pete Carroll, of course). You can’t say that about Jackson.           

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