National Football League
MVP Watch: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen are preseason favorites
National Football League

MVP Watch: Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen are preseason favorites

Published Sep. 5, 2021 3:02 p.m. ET

The 2021 NFL season is just days away.

Fans will get their first helping of regular-season action Thursday, when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a massive matchup to kick off the season. 

Fittingly, the quarterbacks in that clash, Dak Prescott and Tom Brady, are two of the early favorites to win this season's MVP award.


Indeed, the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers, will have some work to do to win back-to-back awards. The likes of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are also among the favorites heading into Week 1.

Here are the top five MVP favorites according to FOX Bet's insights, with a breakdown of each candidate's recent play and what's on the horizon.

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1. Patrick Mahomes +550

How it's going: Mahomes played sparingly in three preseason games for the Kansas City Chiefs, completing 65.5% of his passes for 199 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He rounded into form in his final taste of preseason action, a 28-25 win against the Minnesota Vikings. In that game, Mahomes went 8-for-9 for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

What's up next: The Chiefs open Week 1 with a tilt against the Cleveland Browns. The two teams faced off in the divisional round of the playoffs a season ago, with the Chiefs snagging a 22-17 victory. Mahomes went 21-for-30 for 255 passing yards and a touchdown in that game, as well as adding a rushing TD in the win.

What people are saying: "The great [quarterbacks] want that little extra thing you can give them to make them even greater than they are. This kid is the epitome of that."  ⁠— Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, via "The Herd"

2. Aaron Rodgers +1000

How it's going: After a drama-filled offseason, Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers seem to have adequately patched things up. It might not be all roses, but it's a working relationship. Rodgers didn't take the field for any of Green Bay's preseason games, and it's not too tricky to determine why. Coming up on his 16th season in the league, the reigning MVP likely won't need much time under center to knock off any rust.

What's up next: The Packers will visit the New Orleans Saints to start the season, though the game won't be played in New Orleans due to Hurricane Ida. The Saints opted to relocate to Jacksonville, Florida, which might have been in part an effort to stymie Rodgers. In seven career games in the state of Florida, Rodgers has a 3-4 record with a QB rating of 78.1, according to CBS Sports.

What people are saying: "I'm just glad Matty's got me on the sidelines, man." ⁠— Aaron Rodgers on observing the preseason, via Lily Zhao of FOX6

3. Josh Allen +1100

How it's going: It took until the third and final preseason game for Allen to get on the field for the Bills, but he looked every part of an MVP candidate in his 2021 debut. Playing the entire first half against the Packers, Allen completed 20 of 26 pass attempts for 194 yards and two touchdowns in a 19-0 win for Buffalo.

What's up next: The Bills open their season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben & Co. visited Buffalo in Week 14 last season, with the Bills rattling off a 26-15 win. Allen threw two second-half TD passes to put that game on ice after the Bills' offense struggled in the early going.

What people are saying: "His ceiling is Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is a Hall of Famer. … If Pat Mahomes wasn't in this league, who knows what we'd be saying about Josh Allen and his potential." ⁠— Chris Broussard, via "First Things First"

4. Tom Brady +1400

How it's going: At 44 years old, Brady has continued to defy the odds and shows little signs of slowing down. He's fresh off his seventh Super Bowl victory and fifth Super Bowl MVP award. However, the QB did have offseason knee surgery and admitted that the rehab was "tough." Nevertheless, Brady looked sharp in his final look during preseason, going 11-for-14 for 154 yards and a touchdown in a 23-16 win against the Houston Texans.

What's up next: As mentioned, the season opens with the Buccaneers hosting the Cowboys on Thursday. Brady has yet to face Dallas as a member of the Bucs, but he has had the Cowboys' number throughout his career, going 5-0 all time against Dallas, with 1,354 passing yards, 10 TDs and two interceptions. Those wins all came when he was a member of the New England Patriots, however.

What people are saying: "I don't think Tom Brady is in the MVP consideration this year or ever again. But that doesn't mean the rings won't keep adding up on his fingers." ⁠— Marcellus Wiley, via "Speak For Yourself"

5. Dak Prescott +1500

How it's going: Prescott's preseason has been marred by questions about his shoulder and his recovery from a devastating leg injury suffered last season. He didn't get on the field this preseason, meaning his first game action in roughly 11 months will be against the defending Super Bowl champions. Even with that daunting prospect, Prescott said he's "definitely ready" to get back on the field, via the team's website.

What's up next: The Buccaneers, of course. Prescott is 2-0 lifetime against the Bucs, with an 85.2% completion percentage for 440 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Those games predate the Brady Era, however. The absence of Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin adds a wrinkle to the proceedings, as the standout offensive lineman will be sidelined due to COVID-19, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

What people are saying: "I love night games. I love playing on primetime. I think it's just set for the perfect stage. Them coming off of the Super Bowl title and us, having fans back to full capacity, I think this is what the NFL and the world needs." ⁠— Dak Prescott on Dallas' matchup vs. Tampa Bay, via

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