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  • Devan Flint

Aaron Rodgers Or Patrick Mahomes For MVP?




The NFL MVP has been a two-horse race for the majority of the season, Patrick Mahomes has been leading Aaron Rodgers for the duration of the year, however, after a few mediocre performances from Mahomes, Rodgers has become the betting man’s favourite. Further, with Mahomes sitting out in Week 17 some believe the MVP is all but wrapped up for Aaron Rodgers.


I believe the discussion is a lot closer than many believe and far from done. Rodgers may have pulled away with some of the individual stats and his receivers may not be on the same elite level as Mahomes’ but to stop the analysis there is what many have done and is incredibly naïve…



Individual Statistics


With the exception of the 681 passing yards lead Mahomes has on Rodgers, the Green Bay quarterback ties or beats the 2020 Super Bowl MVP in every category. Rodgers also leads the NFL in 5 of the 11 categories, highlighting his dominance this season.


Additionally, whilst it could argue Mahomes holds his owns in the majority of the stats, his rank in completion rate, bad throw percentage and on target percentage,15th, 14th and 16threspectively, contrast very heavily to Rodgers who ranks 2nd, 34th and 1st respectively.



Offense


Although both the signal callers undoubtably dictate the offense, the argument could be made when looking at the statistics that the Chiefs rely on Mahomes more than the Packers do on Rodgers. While the Packers have a very balanced offense ranking 9th in passing yards per game and 8th rush yards per game, the Chiefs rely entirely on their passing offense which ranks 1st as there rushing attack ranks 15th, however, when you remove the outliers: 245 yards, 179 yards, 166 yards, the Chiefs average only 96.5 yards per game on the ground which ranks them 27th. Therefore, I believe it is safe to say that the Chiefs entire offense is still Patrick Mahomes.



Offensive Weapons


Receiving


Chiefs:


- 4.9% drop percentage T-20th

- 28 dropped passes – 6th

- 5.8 Pass yards after catch per reception – T-4th

- 2,259 Total yards after catch – 1st

- 309.1 Passing Yards Per Game – 1st


Travis Kelce

105 catches – 4th

1,416 yards – 2nd

11 TDs – 5th

79 First Downs – 1st

583 YAC – 3rd

93.5 PFF Grade – 1st


Tyreek Hill

87 catches – 12th

1,276 yards – 7th

15 TDs – 2nd

57 First Downs –10th

83.2 PFF Grade – 17th


Sammy Watkins

37 catches, 421 yards, 2 TDs

64.4 PFF Grade – 85th


Mecole Hardman

39 catches, 535 yards, 4 TDs

69.2 PFF Grade – T-63rd



Packers:


- 6.5% drop percentage. T-35th Worst in NFL

- 31 dropped passes – 2nd

- 6.1 Pass yards after catch per reception – 1st

- 2,143 Total yards after catch – 2nd

- 257.9 Passing Yards Per Game – 9th


Davante Adams

109 catches – 3rd

1,328 yards – 4th

17 TDs – 1st

69 First Downs – T-3rd

586 YAC – 2nd

92.3 PFF Grade – 1st


Robert Tonyan

50 catches, 568 yards

10 TDs – 8th

67.4 PFF Grade – 29th


Marquez Valdes-Scantling

31 catches, 603 yards, 5 TDs

19.5 YPR – 1st

56.4 PFF Grade – 116th out of 126


Allen Lazard

31 catches, 434 yards, 3 TDs

71.7 PFF Grade – 50th



Personally, I believe that while Mahomes does have an elite and the better receiving core, Rodgers does not have this awful set of receivers outside Davante Adams to pass to that some would have you believe. Adams is in my opinion the best receiver in the NFL and while Valdes-Scantling is far from great, he does offer the ability to stretch the field. Robert Tonyan has developed into arguably a top 10 tight end this season, and it was only earlier this year that Packers fans (along with myself) were tipping Allen Lazard for a breakout season.



Rushing


Chiefs:


Clyde Edwards-Helaire

181 rushes – 15th

803 yards – 18th

4.4 YPC – T-28th

39 First Downs – T-23rd

2.1 YAC per attempt – T-22nd

15 Broken Tackles – T-13th


Le’Veon Bell

63 rushes, 254 yards, 4 YPC, 2 TDs


Darrell Williams

39 rushes, 169 yards, 4.3 YPC, 1 TD



Packers


Aaron Jones

190 rushes – 9th

1,062 yards – 4th

5.6 YPC – 3rd

50 First Downs – T-12th

3.1 YAC per attempt – 1st

13 Broken Tackles – T-17th


Jamaal Williams

114 rushes, 479 yards, 4.2 YPC, 2 TDs


A.J. Dillon

45 rushes, 239 yards, 5.3 YPC, 2 TDs



For me this argument isn’t even close. As much as I love what Clyde Edwards-Helaire brought to the Chiefs offense earlier this season he has slowly became less involved and less of a threat on the ground, as shown by his stats.


The same cannot be said for Aaron Jones, who is in my opinion an elite running back. Jones can run between the tackles, take it to the house and catch it out the backfield. He is first in yards after contact per attempt and is the only running back with 4 rushes of over 40 yards this season. Along with that, despite only playing 13 games and ranking 9th in carries he ranks 4th in yards due to his unreal 5.6 yards per carry.


Therefore, this argument is not even an argument. Rodgers has an astronomically better running back and run game than Mahomes.

Offensive Lines


Chiefs


2.6 Seconds in Pocket – T-3rd

64 Hurries – 3rd

52 Hits – T-5th

140 Times Blitzed – 20th

21.2% Pressure Percentage – 18th

40 Scrambles – 5th

22 Sacks – T-19th


Austin Reiter – 70.9 PFF Grade – 12th out of 36 amongst Centres


Eric Fisher – 80.0 PFF Grade – T-17th out of 84 amongst Tackles


Mitchell Schwartz – 74.7 PFF Grade – 29th out of 84 amongst Tackles


Nick Allegretti – 66.2 PFF Grade – 31st out of 84 amongst Guards


Mike Remmers – 70.1 PFF Grade – T-45th out of 84 amongst Tackles


Kelechi Osemele – 59.8 PFF Grade – 55th out of 84 amongst Guards


Andrew Wylie– 54.9 PFF Grade – 68th out of 84 amongst Guards



Packers


2.4 Seconds in Pocket – T-17th

35 Hurries – T-22nd

21 Hits – 28th

164 Times Blitzed – 12th

13.8 % Pressure Percentage – 35th of 36

23 Scrambles – T-11th

19 Sacks – T-24th


Corey Linsley – 90.3 PFF Grade – 1st out of 36 amongst Centres


David Bakhtiari – 91.8 PFF Grade – 2nd out of 84 amongst Tackles


Elgton Jenkins – 68.3 PFF Grade – 22nd out of 84 amongst Guards


Rick Wagner – 76.9 PFF Grade – T-24th out of 84 amongst Tackles


Lucas Patrick – 64.2 PFF Grade – 39th out of 84 amongst Guards


Billy Turner – 70.5 PFF Grade – 43rd out of 84 amongst Tackles


As with the run game this aspect of the debate is not even close. The only stats the Chiefs offensive line better the Packers in is average pocket time, which can be explained by standard football knowledge… Do Not Blitz Mahomes. Which is why he ranks 20th in blitzes compared to Rodgers who ranks 12th. Mahomes is also elite when it comes to manoeuvring the pocket and extending plays, all of which explains the better pocket time.


The Packers offensive line has been nothing short of incredible this season. They have kept Rodgers upright and clean all season long, and a pressure percentage of 13.8% is almost unheard of. There elite level of play is further reinforced by Linsley’s and Bakhtiari’s PFF grades, which rank 1st and 2nd respectively amongst peers at their positions.


Therefore, I believe this is once again another instance of Mahomes doing just as well with less.



Defenses


Chiefs


16th in Total Defense

15th in Pass Defense

18th in Run Defense

6th in Points Allowed

15th in First Downs Allowed – 21.6

32nd in Red Zone Defense – 78.05%

T-5th in Turnovers - 22

T-19th in Sacks - 29



Packers


7th in Total Defense

6th in Pass Defense

14th in Run Defense

16th in Points Allowed

8th in First Downs Allowed – 20.7

17th in Red Zone Defense – 61.70%

T-26th in Turnovers - 16

T-9th in Sacks – 40



The Packers defense might not be as good as they were in 2019, but that by no means makes them a bad defense. The Packers secondary has made the jump this season to close to elite. Jaire Alexander has cemented himself as a true lockdown corner, ranking second in PFF grade amongst cornerbacks. Further, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage have made the jump to top 4th and 8th in PFF grade respectively amongst their peers.


Although the Chiefs defense has taken a jump this season, with Chris Jones once again playing at an elite level. They still have the worst RedZone defense in the NFL and struggle to even pressure the quarterback outside of Chris Jones. The only thing that has saved the Chiefs defense this season is turnovers and their ability to get off the field on some big third downs.


Overall, I think the majority of people would take the Packers defense over the Chiefs. The defensive roster, stats, PFF and the eye test all indicate to me that the Packers have the better defense and had the Chiefs have had that defense all season, it’s my view that they would be unbeaten.



Difficulty of opponent


Chiefs


10-5 Ravens

12-3 Bills

10-5 Buccaneers

10-5 Dolphins

11-4 Saints


Overall = 104-121



Packers


11-4 Saints

10-5 Buccaneers

10-5 Colts

10-5 Titans


Overall = 95-129-1



Kansas City has the slight edge in harder opponents with AFC taking over as the more dominant conference this season. However, the slightly more difficult record has very little affect in swaying the discussion.



My Conclusion


In complete honesty, I am Chiefs fan, but I did in fact come into writing this article thinking Rodgers deserved the MVP.


However, after taking into consideration all the moving parts in both Green Bay and Kansas City, I believe for Mahomes to be 14-1 with yes, an elite receiver core, but a significantly worse offensive line and running game, a lesser defense and a slightly harder record is more impressive and deserving of the ‘Most Valuable Player’ Award than Rodgers taking his Packers team to 12-3.


This by no means diminishes what Aaron Rodgers has done. Rodgers has had an elite season and trumps Mahomes in the individual statistics with a worse receiving core. However, I feel MVP goes deeper than simply that.


Therefore, if I had an MVP vote I would cast for Patrick Mahomes.




(For the record, before you call this bias, Travis Kelce is my favourite player in NFL and plays for the team I support, yet I ranked him below George Kittle in my tight end rankings last season.)




Image From: https://zonecoverage.com/2020/green-bay-packers/why-aaron-rodgers-deserves-the-mvp-over-patrick-mahomes/


Image By: Jay Biggerstaff (USA TODAY Sports)

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