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…
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.
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.
- 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
105 catches – 4th
1,416 yards – 2nd
11 TDs – 5th
79 First Downs – 1st
583 YAC – 3rd
93.5 PFF Grade – 1st
87 catches – 12th
1,276 yards – 7th
15 TDs – 2nd
57 First Downs –10th
83.2 PFF Grade – 17th
37 catches, 421 yards, 2 TDs
64.4 PFF Grade – 85th
39 catches, 535 yards, 4 TDs
69.2 PFF Grade – T-63rd
- 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
109 catches – 3rd
1,328 yards – 4th
17 TDs – 1st
69 First Downs – T-3rd
586 YAC – 2nd
92.3 PFF Grade – 1st
50 catches, 568 yards
10 TDs – 8th
67.4 PFF Grade – 29th
31 catches, 603 yards, 5 TDs
19.5 YPR – 1st
56.4 PFF Grade – 116th out of 126
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.
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
63 rushes, 254 yards, 4 YPC, 2 TDs
39 rushes, 169 yards, 4.3 YPC, 1 TD
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
114 rushes, 479 yards, 4.2 YPC, 2 TDs
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.
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
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.
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
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
Overall = 104-121
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.
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 By: Jay Biggerstaff (USA TODAY Sports)