It's been a long yet quick NFL season as we're down to the last two weeks of the season and many didn't think we'd make it here with Covid running rampant throughout the country. Many games were postponed and moved around and many star players sat out games due to the pandemic. However, we've made it through and of course talks of who the NFL MVP is are starting to heat up.
It was always foolish of people to try and crown an MVP with several weeks left but now we've finished the stretch-run and the last couple weeks will come down to keeping everyone healthy and getting through the games rather than putting up big numbers. That means we can start seriously talking about the MVP.
At this point, there's two clear front-runners as to who the MVP is. One being Aaron Rodgers, and one being Patrick Mahomes. When you scratch the surface and just look at the numbers, many will say Rodgers is the MVP, but of course you always have to look at the context and circumstances surrounding each player. When you look into it, Patrick Mahomes runs away with the award.
Here's the numbers:
Aaron Rodgers: 3,828 Yds, 40 TDs, 4 INT, 118.0 QBR, 69.6% comp.
Patrick Mahomes: 4,462 Yds, 36 TDs, 5 INT, 110.6 QBR, 67.3% comp.
Again, context is important. What about Rodgers' situation? Well, the big argument you hear from Rodgers truthers is that Mahomes has much better weapons. Does he really, though? This season Davantae Adams has 1,186 Yds and 14 TDs to Tyreek Hill's 1,211 Yds and 15 TDs. At tight end, Robert Tonyan has much less yards than Travis Kelce as Tonyan has 551 and Travis Kelce has 1,318, but they're both tied in touchdowns at ten. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling combine for 1,023 Yds and 8 TDs while Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins combine for 918 Yds and 7 TDs. So the only real margin is TE receiving yards. Not that big of a difference.
Here's what really sets the weapons argument to rest, though. The offensive line. The Packers have a top-five graded offensive line in the league this year and Rodgers faces the lowest pressure rate in the NFL plus he actually has a running game. The Chiefs have a bottom-five offensive line especially when you add in their run-blocking which ranks dead last in the NFL. The Packers' best lineman is David Bakhtiari who has been great and the Chiefs' best offensive lineman is Mitchell Schwartz who has been out since week 6. Mahomes is working with a much worse offensive line and many will point to the fact Mahomes has only been sacked 22 times to Rodgers' 18, but that just shows how good at escaping the defense because Mahomes is being pressured on more than 20% of his dropbacks but has more often than not made something out of nothing and it is evident in their rushing yards as Mahomes has 287 rushing yards and Rodgers only has 126.
You know what they say about running the ball; it opens up the passing game if you can do it effectively. Green Bay has that luxury as they rank in the top ten in rushing yards per game at 128.9 ypg. meanwhile the Chiefs rank 15th with 116 ypg on more attempts and 17th in red zone TD rate while Green Bay ranks 2nd in that category. On top of that, Aaron Jones has 968 rushing yards this year (5.6 Y/A) and 8 TDs while Clyde Edwards-Helaire sits at 800 with 4 TDs (4.4 Y/A). But wait, there's more. Aaron Jones has added 298 Yds and 2 more TDs with Clyde at 297 and 1 TD.
Now for the defense. The Packers defense is 5th in points allowed, 9th in sacks, 24th in interceptions, 9th in passing defense, and 11th in rushing defense. On the other hand, Kansas City is 8th in points allowed, 21st in sacks, 2nd in interceptions, 10th against the pass, and 21st against the run. So, the Packers defense gets the edge having a better pass-rush and run defense. The defense is considered a weapon in making it easier for your offense after all.
All of that being said, I think the weapons argument can be put to rest.
One of the biggest reasons Mahomes deserves the edge over Rodgers is the strength of schedule. The Chiefs have had a much harder schedule as Green Bay got the entire NFC East this year. The Packers have also only beaten 1 playoff team on the road while the Chiefs have beaten 5. The Chiefs play in the much tougher AFC and the Chiefs have beaten all of their NFC opponents this year while Green Bay lost to the only playoff AFC team they faced in Indianapolis. The Chiefs also have won more games thanks to Mahomes (13) to Rodgers and the Packers (11). Also, here's a look at Mahomes vs Rodgers against like opponents this year:
What about the namesake of the award? Who is actually more valuable to their team? Rodgers and the Packers have outscored their opponents by 152 total points in wins this year (13.8 point avg. differential) including several blowouts. Did they really need Rodgers to play in all of those games to win, especially all four quarters? The Chiefs have only outscored their opponents by 123 toal points this year in more wins (9.4 point avg. differential) and have only won their last 6 by a combined score of 24. Do we really think The Chiefs still win the Las Vegas, Tampa Bay, Miami, Denver, Carolina, and New Orleans games without Mahomes?
Another way to look at the MVP race is who has had lowest performances. Aaron Rodgers' worst performance this year came against the Bucs where the Packers lost by 28 and Rodgers went for 160 Yds, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. That's one of the worst quarterback performances this year not just by Rodgers. Mahomes' worst game came against the Miami Dolphins where Mahomes threw 3 interceptions, 393 Yds, and 3 TDs in a win over the Dolphins. You could argue the Raiders loss was Mahomes' worst game but he only had one interception, 340 Yds, and 2 TD's. That game wasn't his faut. Mahomes has never even lost by more than one possesion in his entire career let alone this season.
So, for all the MVP voters and NFL fans, take all of this into account. If you're only looking at the box score, you'll think Rodgers has it in the bag, but Mahomes has been more impressive as Chiefs games always seem to come down to Mahomes pulling a rabbit out of a hat and he does it every single time he's asked to even though it's unrealistic. Rodgers is a fantastic quarterback and a great candidate but Mahomes has just been more impressive this year.