Top NFL MVP candidate ranking: Patrick Mahomes or Jalen Hurts leading the race?
The NFL MVP award has been hot for two players entering the final month of the regular season. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts have surged into the leading mix during the second half of the season. How close are the top two candidates and what separates the No. 1 of No. 2 depending on who you ask.
We asked a group of analysts — Stephania Bell, Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Courtney Cronin, Jeremy Fowler, Dan Graziano, Matt Miller, Sal Paolantonio, Jason Reid, Jordan Reid, Louis Riddick, Mike Tannenbaum, Seth Walder and Field Yates — to vote for the top players in the MVP race now. Then we use those 14 ranking sets to assign our top five candidates, using Heisman Trophy-esque scaling for each ranking to determine how the field is structured. From our 14-man panel, Mahomes received nine first place votes and Hurts finished this voting round with five first place votes.
We’ll also take a look at some of the names that have seen their MVP stock soar or plummet. With four weeks remaining in the regular season, will there be anything further from the MVP candidate list pushing to unseat the two favorites at the top? Here are a few things that happened as we entered Week 15.
Note: All odds through Caesars Sportsbook.
big five | Just missed
Supplies | Stock down
2022 Statistics: 4,160 passing yards, 280 rushing yards, 35 TD total, 11 INT, 77.9 QBR
Current Opportunity: +200
Mahomes jumped ahead of Josh Allen as the front runner for the MVP award following a rough patch for Allen post-Week 9. Mahomes continues to make his case as the most valuable player in the NFL with the best in the league in passing yards and touchdown passes, all of which he did without a receiver. Tyreek Hill. Mahomes threw three touchdown passes against the Broncos in Week 14, but also threw up three interceptions – his most in a game since late 2020 and just one week after the Chiefs lost to the Bengals – which may be why his MVP chances have dipped since mid season.
2022 Statistics: 3,157 passing yards, 686 rushing yards, 32 TD total, 3 INT, 70.4 QBR
Current Opportunity: -140
The Eagles are the most complete team in the NFL, and the Hurts are a huge threat to any opponent. Hurts had 157 rushing yards against the Packers, threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Titans and led the Eagles to 48 points on the Giants. He has had nearly 1,000 yards of offense in his last three games (along with nine TDs) and the team has scored a total of 123 points over the same span – their most in three straight games since 1972.
Hurts ranks first in passer ratings (108.4), interceptions (0.8%) and rushing touchdown percentage (10), and he is in the top three in total TDs (32), yards per attempt (8.1) and percentage of completion (68%). Hurts and Mahomes will battle it out, and it’s not out of the question to think the Eagles QB could become the second youngest to win MVP at just 23 years old.
2022 Statistics: 3,685 passing yards, 234 rushing yards, 32 TD total, 9 INT, 59.8 QBR
Current Opportunity: +600
Burrow entered the MVP mix during the Week 13 win over the Chiefs where he threw for 286 yards on two touchdown passes while recording the second-highest completion percentage (80.6%) of the season. He followed that with 239 yards passing, two touchdown passes and an interception against the Browns, adding to his total TD passes (27, second) and passing stats (3,685 yards, third).
He was prolific with porous pass protection, ranking first or tied for the lead in completion percentage (60%) and yards per attempt (8.1) when pressed. Since Week 5, Burrow has launched 17 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. The Bengals are on a five-game winning streak with a division title in sight. With a few opportunities to cement himself among the front runners, namely a head-to-head clash against Allen in Week 17 followed by a possible stake in AFC North in Week 18, Burrow has a real shot to shake things up. top two.
2022 Statistics: 3,553 passing yards, 628 rushing yards, 32 TD total, 11 INT, 73.2 QBR
Current Opportunity: +2000
Allen and the Bills clinched their Week 14 win over the Jets in adverse weather conditions. Buffalo had five straight drives to open the game, the first time this had happened with Allen at quarterback, and Allen had a season-low 147 yards. But Buffalo is still the No. 1 seed. 1 currently in AFC.
Allen has also made a sizeable contribution to Stefon Diggs’ mounted numbers – Diggs was third in touchdowns, third in receptions and fourth in receiving yards. The Bills will have the chance to get back on track at home against a Dolphins team that is on a two-game losing streak.
2022 Statistics: 3,004 passing yards, 22 TD, 5 INT, 73.5 QBR
Current Opportunity: +5000
Back-to-back losses to the 49ers and Chargers have denied Tagovailoa an MVP opportunity. Tagovailoa had a total QBR of 83 and a 70% completion percentage in his first nine games, and he averaged 9.0 yards per try. In his last two starts, his QBR total has fallen to 22, his completion percentage has dropped to 46% (he scored 10 of 28 vs. the Chargers, the worst mark of his career) and his yards per attempt has dropped to 7.2.
Tagovailoa has the third best chance for the MVP award going into Week 13. Now he’s looking outside, leading the second-place team in the AFC East with upcoming games against the Bills, Packers, Patriots and Jets to finish the regular season.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings (+15000)
The NFL leader in receiving yards will battle it out with Hill to become the first 2,000 yard receiver in league history. Jefferson topped 1,500 receiving yards in 13 games (league best 115.4 receiving yards per game) and set the Vikings’ single game record for receiving yards when he caught 11 passes for 223 yards in a loss to Detroit. A non-quarterback has to prove that his production is the catalyst behind the offense and his quarterback’s success, not the other way around, to win MVP. That case can definitely be made for Jefferson given his influence in helping the Vikings to a win and 10-3 record, but his goalscoring tally (6) pales in comparison to the other MVP candidates.
Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys (+25000)
The Cowboys edge rusher has tied for third in pressure (59) and sack (12) through 13 games and has anchored the No. 1 scoring defense. He had more two-sack games (6) than any other defender but did not score a single hit in Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers or Philadelphia’s Hurts, both games which resulted in losses for the Cowboys. There’s competition lurking for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award, too. Parsons needed a signature moment to separate himself from the likes of Nick Bosa, Matthew Judon and Maxx Crosby.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins (+8000)
Together with Jefferson, Hill is also making history. In his 13th game as a Dolphin, Hill reset Miami’s single-season receiving franchise record previously held by Mark Clayton (1,389 yards in 1984), needing only 11 yards entering Week 14. Both Hill and Jefferson led the league with six games 125- plus receiving yards, and the Dolphins receiver added another feat to his list of accomplishments against Los Angeles by returning 57 yards for a touchdown – the first error-recovery TD of his NFL career.
Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks (+20000)
Smith’s signature MVP moment came in Week 13 against the Rams where he set up a game-winning drive on the road within two minutes to lead the Seahawks to victory. It was Smith’s first game-winning drive since he was in his sophomore season with the Jets in 2014, and while he is currently the betting favorite for the NFL’s Return Player of the Year award, Smith remains in talks for MVP. The 32-year-old midfielder leads the league in completion percentage (71.5%), is third in passer rating (106.8), has attempted at least two touchdown passes in 11 of 13 games and ranks sixth in passing (3,433 yards) and fourth in touchdown throws (25).
Also received top 10 votes: Chargers QB Justin Herbert, Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, 49ers DE Nick Bosa, Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, Raiders WR Davante Adams, Eagles WR AJ Brown, Titans RB Derrick Henry, Bills WR Stefon Diggs, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Lions QB Jared Goff, 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey, Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Cowboys RB Tony Pollard and Giants RB Saquon Barkley
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (+25000)
Playing without two early offensive tackles, Herbert produced one of the strongest performances of his career in a 23–17 win over the Dolphins in Week 14. The third-year quarterback defeated Tagovailoa, who took one place ahead of him in the 2020 draft, and threw for 367 yards this season and a touchdown on 39-of-51 passing. The Chargers remain in the hunt for the AFC wild card spot with winnable games against Tennessee (which boasts an identical 7-6 record), the rest of Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Denver.
Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers
Bosa is Parsons’ strongest competition for Defensive Player of the Year. His signature moment came when he gutted Miami’s offensive line en route to three sacks and an forced fumble in Week 13. The 49ers’ edge rusher led the league with 14.5 sacks (no other San Francisco defender had more than 4.0), had 35 QB hits and 64 total pressures and has recorded wins on 23.3% of his fast passes, the second best among qualified defenders.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens (+15000)
Jackson missed most of the Ravens’ Week 13 wins and all of their Week 14 wins with a knee injury, so his odds were down. He is no longer key as the most dynamic rushing quarterback in the league, a nod that this season went to Bears QB Justin Fields. The Ravens and Bengals are tied for first in the AFC North with a January 8 meeting that will most likely decide the division winner. Jackson’s injury could keep him out until Week 16, which will only move him further from the MVP conversation.
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giant
The Giants’ postseason odds feel like they slipped away during a brutal NFC East game. Barkley crossed the 1,000-yard rush threshold in games against Washington but has been quiet lately, rushing for only 67 yards combined in losses to rivals Dallas and Philadelphia.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (+15000)
The Cowboys narrowly escaped a one-off loss against the Texas in Week 14 when Prescott completed six of seven passes for 79 yards in the final minutes of play to land a touchdown on forward Dallas. The Cowboys have averaged 35.7 points with a 6-1 record since Prescott returned to the lineup, but the quarterback will need to do better to close out the year if the Cowboys plan to make a deep playoff run.