Five weeks of the NFL season are in the books, and the MVP race is starting to take shape. While it’s still far too early to declare a winner, quite a few young quarterbacks, and one AARP member, have solidified themselves as the clear favorites for the MVP Leaders in Week 6.
NFL MVP Leaders Through Five Games
2021 Stats: 1,767 passing yards (1st), 15 touchdowns (2nd), 108.5 passer rating (5th), 93.4 PFF grade (1st), 0.270 EPA/play (4th)
The more things change, the more things stay the same. At the ripe old age of 44, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady remains the gold standard of quarterback play. While he does have arguably the best receiving core in the league, there aren’t too many other quarterbacks that could have piloted this team to a 4-1 start despite having arguably the worst defense in football.
Brady continues to be one of the most aggressive quarterbacks in football, showing mastery of the deep ball in a way that New England’s scheme never truly allowed. He has one of the highest average depth of targets in football and, despite this aggression, does not yet have a turnover-worthy play, per PFF. These numbers also don’t include dropped passes, and Brady’s receivers are near the top of the league in this category. The NFL has a fantastic collection of young quarterback talent, but they’re all chasing the GOAT for the MVP title.
He also leads the NFL in passes with an air distance of over 20 yards, is tied for 6th in aDOT, is PFF's clear #1 QB this season, has yet to throw a turnover worthy pass, has the second fastest time to throw, and has lost the most EPA due to drops.
— Andre Weingarten (@Swami_EA) October 13, 2021
2021 Stats: 1,519 passing yards (5th), 10 combined touchdowns (9th), 104.4 passer rating (11th), 87.1 passer rating (6th), 0.246 EPA/play (8th)
Lamar Jackson might not be at the very top of the statistical lists, but he is doing more with less than any other quarterback in the league. After seeing an absurd amount of preseason injuries, the Ravens currently sit at 4-1 thanks to some fantastic play by the former first-round pick. Singlehandedly accounting for more yards than a good portion of NFL teams, Jackson has carried this Ravens team to the top of a very competitive AFC West.
Through the first three years of his career, Baltimore has primarily operated under a run-first philosophy. After losing all of their running backs in the offseason, the Ravens transitioned into a pass-first offense, and Jackson has flourished in this vertical attack. What’s craziest is that he’s doing all of this without first-round pick Rashod Bateman. Bateman should make his NFL debut any day now, which means that this offense could get even more dangerous down the stretch.
2021 Stats: 1,512 passing yards (6th), 10 touchdowns (9th), 113.0 passer rating (4th), 82.9 PFF grade (9th), 0.261 EPA/play (6th)
Even after a relatively disappointing game against the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray remains one of the MVP favorites. Leading the only undefeated team left in the league, the former first-overall pick has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league by nearly every metric. Barring health, it’s hard to see him slowing down any time soon.
2021 Stats: 1,370 passing yards (9th), 12 touchdowns (5th), 103.7 passer rating (13th), 81.9 PFF grade (13th), 0.243 EPA/paly (9th)
Josh Allen laughs in the face of your regression. After two relatively slow weeks, the Buffalo Bills franchise quarterback has regained his 2020 form and once again looks like one of the best quarterbacks in football. After taking down the Kansas City Chiefs in convincing fashion, it’s safe to say that Buffalo is the team to beat in the AFC. Allen’s done all this despite JUST missing Stefon Diggs on a few deep shots. Once those passes start connecting, his numbers should jump through the roof.
2021 Stats: 1,576 yards (4th), 13 touchdowns (3rd), 104.7 passer rating (10th), 89.4 PFF grade (3rd), 0.269 EPA/play
It’s crazy to think about now, but there was a time when a decent percentage of NFL fans and analysts believed that the Chargers shouldn’t have drafted Justin Herbert with the sixth-overall pick. Well, those takes have aged like milk. One of the best young quarterbacks in the league, Herbert has built on his impressive rookie campaign to establish himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in football. A perfect fit for first-year head coach Brandon Staley, the Chargers lead an incredibly-competitive AFC West with Herbert setting the world on fire with his arm.