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The 2019-20 NFL season is on the horizon, and multiple headlines have changed the MVP race. While some candidates arise from thin air, others are the presumed favorites. Based on a list compiled by nine panelists from The Athletes Hub, here are the favorites for the upcoming MVP race:
10. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (Average Ranking: 8th, First Place Votes: 0, Highest Ranking: #6, Lowest Ranking: #10)
After being elected into his fifth Pro Bowl in 2018, Russell Wilson seems to be getting the cold shoulder heading into the new campaign. This comes with somewhat justice, as the Seattle Seahawks offensive line has never been great, and now they recently lose a veteran leader in the receiving core in Doug Baldwin.
Still, this doesn’t take away from the fact that Wilson can ball out with little talent around him. In 2018, Wilson ranked 3rd in QBR (110.9) and had the second-fewest INT behind New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees.
9. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (Average Ranking: 8th, First Place Votes: 0, Highest Ranking: #5, Lowest Ranking: #10)
After a second consecutive season riddled Carson Wentz with injuries in 2018, it’s understandable why our panel elected to give him unfavorable odds this upcoming season. In fact, over half the panelists gave Wentz the worst odds to be crowned MVP in 2019.
Over the last two seasons though, Wentz has shown glimpses of emerging as an elite passer. With a TD:INT ratio of nearly 4:1 during that time, Wentz has enough weapons to make an impact moving forward.
8. Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (Average Ranking: 8th, First Place Votes: 1, Highest Ranking: #1, Lowest Ranking: #10)
In somewhat of an oddball selection to be in the race for MVP in 2019, Christian McCaffrey finished better than most expected. After bulking up in the offseason, remember that this is a player that merited 107 receptions last season; an NFL record among running backs.
With a single vote to win the MVP award, it’s interesting to speculate whether a non-quarterback contender can be taken seriously. The last time a running back took home MVP was Adrian Peterson back in 2012.
7. Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald (Average Ranking: 6th, First Place Votes: 0, Highest Ranking: #2, Lowest Ranking: #10)
After not receiving a single vote for MVP in 2018, despite a season with a league-high 20.5 sacks, 25 tackles for loss and 41 quarterback hits, our panel still considers Aaron Donald a contender for the award in 2019. This begs the question: What more does Donald need to do?
For starters, it would likely take for Donald to surpass Michael Strahan’s single season sack record of 22.5. In addition, the Los Angeles Rams defense as a whole needs improvement.
6. Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield Average Ranking: 6th, First Place Votes: 0, Highest Ranking: 4th, Lowest Ranking: #8)
It’s surprising to see Baker Mayfield rank so high among our panelists. While he didn’t receive a first place vote, Mayfield ranked in the top five on four of our panelist’s lists.
With a new receiver in Odell Beckham Jr going into next season, it’s hard not to root for the Cleveland Browns in 2019. As long as the pressure doesn’t mount too high for the ‘Dawg Pound’, it’ll be interesting to see where Mayfield ranks among his colleagues.
5. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (Average Ranking: 5th, First Place Votes: 0, Highest Ranking: #3, Lowest Ranking: #9)
While Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback to get under center, it’s odd to see him rank fifth in terms of MVP odds. It’s a fair assumption though, as Brady ranked 7th in passing yards, 12th in QBR, and 18th in completion percentage last season.
The New England Patriots are missing a huge offensive piece in Rob Gronkowski, and their offensive line was dented through free agency. Brady has the tendency to make the best of the pieces around him, but we’ll see if this order is too high.
4. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (Average Ranking: 4th, First Place Votes: 0, Highest Ranking: #2, Lowest Ranking: #8)
Despite finishing in the top five for MVP odds, not a single panel member claimed Aaron Rodgers would finish with the award. With a new head coach in Matt LaFleur, this will be an interesting year for the veteran.
Despite the Packers only winning 6 games in 2018, Rodgers threw for only 2 INT; a career-low and NFL best. Pending the health of the roster, Rodgers should be in the mix for the MVP.
3. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (Average Ranking: 4th, First Place Votes: 1, Highest Ranking: #1, Lowest Ranking: #10)
Drew Brees has led the league in completion percentage in each of the last two seasons, and led the league in passing yards the three years prior to that. As a result, it’s no surprise that five of our nine panelists ranked Brees within the top three when it came to the MVP odds.
Even after losing Mark Ingram, the New Orleans Saints have one of the most complete offenses in the NFL. If Brees were to win MVP, he would surpass New England Patriots’ Tom Brady as the oldest player to win the award.
2. Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (Average Ranking: 4th, First Place Votes: 1, Highest Ranking: #1, Lowest Ranking: #9)
After a tremendous comeback season, Andrew Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to 10+ regular season wins for the first time since 2014. En route, Luck finished 2nd in TD passes (39) and 5th in passing yards (4,593).
Our panel agrees that Andrew Luck is a front runner in the 2019 NFL MVP race, and perhaps it’s because of his protection. Among qualified quarterbacks, only New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees was sacked less than Luck last season (18 to 17).
1. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (Average Ranking: 1st, First Place Votes: 6, Highest Ranking: #1, Lowest Ranking: #4)
Even with the looming suspension of Tyreek Hill, it seems as though Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to repeat as NFL MVP in 2019. Six of our nine panel members gave Mahomes the best odds, while his lowest ranking was #4.
The numbers behind Mahomes last season were astonishing, and obviously no one is expecting for him to put up another 5,000+ yards and 50+ TD this season. Still, with the ability to move out of the pocket and make highlight reel-type plays, Mahomes should still be considered a contender.
Featured Image: SB Nation