What will the NFL MVP race look like for the 2020 season?
Over the past two seasons, two of the NFL’s most electrifying playmakers have been named the league’s MVP.
And according to FOX Bet, it looks like the MVP wheel will once again land on one of the same two superstars after the 2020 season.
The 2019-20 season concluded with Patrick Mahomes leading the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years. He was also named Super Bowl MVP.
However, last season isn’t the one that made him famous. It was Mahomes’ 2018-19 campaign that made him a legend.
In 2018, his first year as a starter, Mahomes blew the quarterback competition out of the water. He passed for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, 11 more TDs than second place Andrew Luck. He led the league in QBR (80.3) and finished second in quarterback rating (113.8).
Kansas City finished the 2018-19 season with a record of 12-4 and made it to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 1993-94 season.
The Chiefs would lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but the tone was set for the future of the NFL quarterback position: Mahomes became the first player in Chiefs history to win MVP and Kansas City would be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Your 2018 MVP is…
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 3, 2019
Then, during the 2019-20 season, something odd happened: another quarterback in his first full season as a starter ascended to the top of the QB ranks.
The Baltimore Ravens transitioned out of the Joe Flacco era into the Lamar Jackson era midway through the 2018-19 season, but it wasn’t until the 2019-20 season arrived that Jackson took flight, spearheading the most potent offense in the NFL.
Baltimore finished the season 14-2 behind a remarkable individual campaign from Jackson. He passed for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,207 yards and another 7 touchdowns. In the process, he broke Michael Vick’s record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season.
He also did stuff like this:
LAMAR. JACKSON. @Lj_Era8 TO THE HOUSE ‼️‼️
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 10, 2019
The Ravens secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC going into the playoffs, but fell in the Divisional Round. Still, Jackson became only the second player to win the NFL MVP award unanimously (Tom Brady), and at age 23, he became the second-youngest player to ever win the award.
Naturally, entering the 2020 season, Mahomes (+375) and Jackson (+600) are the favorites to win MVP again.
According to @CaesarsEnt Patrick Mahomes is the 4-1 favorite to win the 2020 Pro Football MVP.
Mahomes won the MVP in the 2018 season, and the most recent player to win multiple MVPs in a 3-year span was Peyton Manning in 2008 and 2009. pic.twitter.com/hQIbl6urWr
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 11, 2020
In addition, Mahomes (+600) and Jackson (+1000) are the favorites to win NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
The Chiefs (+270) and Ravens (+340) are also favored to win the AFC, and Kansas City (+600) is favored to repeat as Super Bowl champions, with Baltimore (+650) close behind.
The Week 3 Monday Night Football matchup between the two might be the most-anticipated game of the year and potentially in recent memory.
2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes
2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson
Week 3 – Monday Night Football! pic.twitter.com/ycJg9FeIyn
— PFF (@PFF) May 7, 2020
So, who is going to win MVP this season? Is it a tw0-horse race or are there some sleeper picks for the NFL’s most prestigious award?
NFL columnist Adam Schein thinks the race is over before it will start: if healthy, the MVP is Mahomes’ to lose.
“Patrick Mahomes last year didn’t win the MVP. He got injured during the regular season. So instead, he won the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl MVP … Patrick Mahomes will have a better season than he did last year now that he’s healthy.”
"Listen, Patrick Mahomes is going to win the MVP… He's only been a starter for 2 years in the NFL. He's only getting better."@AdamSchein has NO doubt that Mahomes will be the 2020 NFL MVP. pic.twitter.com/dAmGOt1Uja
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) May 12, 2020
Mahomes’ 2019-20 campaign was slightly marred by injury, after he dislocated his patella in a Week 7 matchup with the Denver Broncos. He missed two games and returned to the lineup in Week 10 against the Tennessee Titans.
In the 14 games of which Mahomes started last season, the Chiefs went 11-3, losing those three games by a combined 16 points. KC ended the regular season on a 5-game win streak before winning three more playoff games, including Super Bowl LIV.
On the season, Mahomes passed for 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns, with only 5 interceptions.
But, while Mahomes is the favorite to win his second MVP in three years, he’s not the only viable choice.
Patrick Mahomes is the 4-1 favorite to win the MVP award in 2020, but there are some interesting possibilities with longer odds https://t.co/3K4N5JuoTx
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 12, 2020
Jackson is right behind Mahomes in terms of MVP odds, followed by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who surprisingly has never received a single vote in the MVP selection process.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times explains why Wilson has probably never received a vote:
“What’s probably hurt Wilson is that in some of his best seasons there were other pretty clear-cut candidates who ended up getting most or all of the votes, like last year with Jackson. Since Wilson entered the league, the most contested MVP vote came in 2016, when Matt Ryan won it getting just half of the 50 votes cast and five others getting votes (Carr, Elliott, Brady, Rodgers and Prescott) … Wilson’s timing, basically, just hasn’t been all that good when it comes to getting MVP votes.”
— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) May 14, 2020
Outside of the young legends Mahomes and Jackson, and the veteran gunslinger in Wilson, the NFL Network this week listed its list of nine dark-horse candidates to win the MVP, surprisingly led by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
“Allen has all of the criteria in place to be a dark-horse MVP candidate … Allen vastly improved in Year 2, significantly boosting his marks in completion percentage (58.8, up from 52.8 in 2018), TD-to-INT ratio (20:9, up from 10:12) and passer rating (85.3, up from 67.9). Not to mention, he showcased a definite clutch gene, leading the NFL in fourth-quarter comebacks (4) and game-winning drives (5).”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) May 14, 2020
Overtaking Mahomes or Jackson for the MVP crown will be a task for the ages.
We’ll see if there is another superstar under center, or elsewhere, who can overcome the two wunderkinds.