My Top 5 2020 MVP Candidates
My Top 5 MVP Candidates
1. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson will in my opinion be the 2020 Most Valuable Player. Wilson is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and has been in that conversation for the last three seasons yet somehow MVP honours have eluded him. However, the narrative that Wilson has never won an MVP can now work in his favour as the majority of his elite company at quarterback already have one to their name.
Even with the narrative on his side his play, production and numbers will speak for themselves just as they have done in recent years:
2017 – 3,983 Yards, 61.3 %, 34 Touchdowns and 11 Interceptions
2018 - 3,448 Yards, 65.6 %, 35 Touchdowns and 7 Interceptions
2019 – 4,110 Yards, 66.1 %, 31 Touchdowns and 5 Interceptions
Wilson is the only quarterback in the last three years to have 30 or more touchdowns in each season despite playing without the best offensive weapons and an awful offensive line.
With Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and Phillip Dorsett the Seahawks have a plethora of speed and deep threats which Wilson will utilise to the fullest extent as since 2016 Russell is 1st in:
Deep Completions – 130
Deep Passing Touchdowns – 43
Deep Passing Yards – 4,421
Most importantly, Wilson finally has legitimate weapons around him which means his numbers and offensive production should elevate on course to the Seahawks finishing the season with my predicted 12-4 record and Wilson going home with the MVP Honours.
2. Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes is in my opinion the best quarterback in the NFL, a generational talent, future Hall of Famer and potential Greatest of All-Time when all things are said and done. Whilst he has only played 2 seasons in the NFL his accolades and accomplishments so far are amazing:
2-time AFC West Champion
2-time Pro Bowler
First Team All-Pro
50 TD passes in a single season
Super Bowl LIV Champion
Super Bowl MVP
To think Mahomes won a Super Bowl, threw for 287.9 yards per game completing 65.9% of his passes for 26 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions as well as ranking 2nd in QBR whilst playing on a banged-up ankle and knee is incredible. Then when you consider he we be fully healthy in 2020, to not have him your top two MVP Candidates is unexplainable. Aside from Mahomes’ undeniable generational talent he has debatably the best surrounding offensive weapons with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Not only is he surrounded by elite weapons that fit his play style perfectly he is playing with the greenest light in football under Andy Reid's offense. Mahomes is going to put up huge statistical numbers because he simply has to for the Chiefs to win even with their defense playing better.
3. Carson Wentz
This is going to irk a lot of people but if you’ve read my previous article’s you know I think Carson Wentz is an elite game changing quarterback. I’m not going to deny it his recent soft tissue injury is yet again another cause for concern but when healthy I believe Carson Wentz can come close to Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes' level.
If you consider what Wentz was working with in 2019 with his practice squad receivers and constant injuries on offense his stat line is very good:
4,039 Passing Yards, 63.9% Completion, 27 Touchdowns and 7 Interceptions.
Now heading into 2020 Wentz will lead an offense with a lot of potential, Philadelphia has in my view the 3rd and 6th best tight ends in the NFL in Ertz and Goedert as well as a number of playmakers on the outside in Jalen Raegor, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Yes, Jeffery and Raegor likely won’t play until week 2 but Wentz showed in 2019 that he could shoulder the load for 16 games let alone 2 to start the season. The loss of Brandon Brooks is big, but the Eagles still have Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Jason Peters protecting Wentz on the offensive line, so he is still in safe hands. Personally, I believe Miles Sanders is the X-Factor for the Eagles offense and Wentz’ MVP chances in 2020. If Sanders can be a 1,000-yard rusher and also have north of 500 receiving yards again the Eagles offense has the potential to be electric and top 5 in the NFL.
4. Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson is one of one and like Mahomes a generational talent with his athletic ability, however, the reason I have him at 4th is because like how Wilson’s narrative works on his side Jackson’s works the other way. Jackson once again in 2019 had play-off struggles which makes him 0-2 with an average of 51.1% completion percentage, 3-3 touchdown to interception ratio and an average QB Rating of 68.3 across his 2 play-off games, which has turned a lot of people and analytics against him.
Additionally, while it is a different sport both James Harden and Russell Westbrook only have one MVP each, both of which came in the first year of historical league changing seasons and despite in fact elevating their play in their following two seasons they didn’t not earn the same honours as that level of play had become their normal. Hence, I worry a similar trajectory/ narrative could fall upon Jackson after his 1,206 rushing yards in 2019. However, unlike Westbrook and Harden, Jackson has a hole in his game that he can improve and therefore elevate his play to another level.
If Jackson becomes a very good passer of the football in 2020, and I’m not talking completion percentage and touchdowns which the Ravens elite run game makes almost easy but instead whether he can makes the big time throws, tight window throws and throw his guys open on a consistent basis. He showed he can do it as flashes in 2019 which is still great for a young quarterback but if he can do it consistently in 2020, he has a very good shot of winning back-to-back MVP honours.
5. Tom Brady
Let’s not overreact to either of two things, Bradys 2019 season as well as the Buccaneers offense in 2020. Both have been drastically overstated in my opinion and in fact make a happy medium which could lead to Tom Brady winning his 4th MVP award.
In 2019 Tom Brady apparently ‘fell off a cliff’ which is wildly inaccurate and untrue. Undeniably his numbers and New England’s offense regressed but when you consider his situation it becomes far less a bad season but in fact a pretty decent one. The Patriots skill position players were:
Other than Edelman and James White who is a running back, no other receiver had over 397 yards on the season. Brady was throwing to a young, unathletic and inexperienced group of receivers who created the least separation in the entire NFL and dropped 34 passes on the season ranking 2nd worst. Hence, finishing the season 12-4, throwing for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions is decent season.
As for the Buccaneers offense, they undoubtably has weapons on weapons for Brady to throw to as well as a revamped run game but it should not be underestimated that Brady has played his entire career in New England inside the Patriots offense, and while I have no doubt Brady will learn the Buccaneers play book quickly and begin getting on the same page with his receivers, this offseason was cut short limiting his ability to do the above so I expect there to be a few growing pains in the first few weeks of the season against good defenses like the Saints, Broncos and Chargers which could mean his stats aren’t quite on par with 1 through 4 on my list. However, in Arians offense with Evans, Godwin, Gronk, Howard, Brate and now Fournette who can catch out of the backfield you would be naive to believe Brady is not going to thrive and put up some very nice numbers.