Somehow, someway, we are already halfway through the 2019 NFL season. Believe me, that pains me to say, but we’ve had some interesting storylines so far this season. It’s been the “Year of the Backup Quarterback”, Sam Darnold has apparently secured a role as the child in a made for Netflix reboot of “The Sixth Sense”, the 49ers’ plan of taking a defensive lineman with a top five pick every year has finally paid off, and the Browns somehow got worse after firing Hue Jackson and adding Odell Beckham Jr.. But, the most compelling storyline has to be the MVP race. Here’s my current top five for the award, as well as the current Vegas odds for each candidate.
*All odds are as of November 5th and provided by BetOnline.*
5. Aaron Rodgers
Current Odds: +600
Rodgers was fully in the mix up until last weekend’s loss vs the Chargers. Entering that game, he was the betting favorite at +250. Luckily, for Rodgers, one poor game isn’t the end all be all, as every player listed has had a bad game this season. In the seven remaining games, Rodgers faces three teams over .500 (Panthers, 49ers, Vikings.)
Unless Rodgers goes on a vintage “Discount Double Check” championship belt celebration tear, I don’t expect his odds to get any better because the top four candidates are in a tier above him.
4. Deshaun Watson
Current Odds: +350
Watson has been on an absolute tear this season. He’s thrown for 2,432 yards and 18 touchdowns with a 70.2 completion percentage. Not to mention, he has five rushing touchdowns and 279 rushing yards. Watson is the sole reason why the Texans are first place in the AFC South. He’s having a career year even though Deandre Hopkins, the best receiver in the NFL, has more drops than last year (3 versus 2 last year). The Texans play only three teams above .500, but they’re three of the toughest teams in the league. (Ravens, Patriots, Colts.)
Watson has a legit shot at the MVP. If he can find a way to win at least two of those three, which are back to back to back, he has as good of a case as anyone else.
3. Lamar Jackson
Current Odds: +350
Lamar has come out and has vastly exceeded everyone’s expectations for him this season. He’s the main reason why the Ravens are currently the number two seed in the AFC, and are also coming off two straight statement wins (at Seattle, vs. New England.) Yes, his passing numbers have been pedestrian, as he only has 1813 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 64.3 completion percentage, but as everyone already knows, the magic is in his legs. Lamar has 637 rushing yards and five touchdowns. 2450 total yards and 17 touchdowns isn’t something to scoff at; especially when everyone in the media said he should transition to wide receiver. Lamar has arguably the toughest remaining schedule, as five of their last eight games are against teams .500 or better. (Rams, 49ers, Bills, Texans, Steelers.)
Lamar has to win at least three of those five, as well as the other three games against teams below .500 to have a legit shot. He needs to have another game or two where he dominates in the passing game.
2. Christian McCaffrey
Current Odds: +600
I know, I know. There’s no way a running back can win MVP; it’s become a Quarterback award. Now, I’ll admit you have a point, but listen to this: Christian McCaffrey is on pace to destroy Ladanian Tomlinson’s numbers from his 2006 MVP season. Give Kyle Allen all the attention you want for coming in and being *arguably* better than Cam Newton, but this Panthers team lives and dies with “Dairy Sanders.” The Panthers also have a tough stretch to end the season, having to face five teams over .500 (Packers, Seahawks, Saints x2, and Colts.)
McCaffrey’s best shot at winning MVP is if he ends up passing Tomlinson’s 2006 numbers, leads the Panthers to the playoffs, and one of the quarterbacks on this list starts to fall off. Either way, he’s the surefire Offensive Player of the Year. Plus he really should have won the Heisman at Stanford.
Current Odds: +275
Future’s son’s stepfather is easily the front runner for MVP. Wilson is just simply dominating. 22 touchdowns to only one interception, which technically was also a touchdown. That has to mean something. But seriously, nobody expected Wilson to come out playing this well. I mean he lost his longtime number one receiver, Doug Baldwin, to injury/retirement right before the draft. Tyler Lockett has since entered the argument of top 5-7 receivers in the NFL DK Metcalf has also looked like an absolute steal in the draft, after dropping like cinder blocks thrown into the river due to his three cone drill time. The Seahawks are about to finish the season with the gauntlets of all gauntlets. Six of their final games are against teams over .500, (Panthers, Vikings, Eagles, 49ers x2, and Rams.)
If Russ can continue this dominant run, especially against that lineup of games, he’s easily the unanimous MVP. The only argument against Russ is that the Seahawks might not win the division. They’re two games behind the undefeated 49ers and have struggled in games lately, while the 49ers have shown no signs of slowing down.
Honorable mentions: Matt Stafford, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garoppolo.