The NFL season is already four weeks old, and some clear MVP frontrunners are starting to emerge. While it’s still far too early to declare a clear favorite for the hardware, five players have stepped up their game in 2022 and are truly playing like the best of the best.
Before we get into it, let’s address the elephant in the room: everyone on this list is a quarterback. The “V” in MVP stands for valuable, and the quarterback position is so disproportionately important that it would be foolish to award it to anyone that doesn’t play the game’s most valuable position.
Top Five NFL MVP Frontrunners After Week 4
1. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
What can’t Josh Allen do? After setting the world on fire in the first two weeks, the Buffalo Bills quarterback struggled in Week 3 and started off slow in Week 4. However, facing a 20-3 deficit late in the second quarter against a strong Ravens team, Allen found a way to lead a miraculous comeback and secure a 23-20 victory.
Through four weeks, Allen is at or near the top of just about every relevant quarterback metric out there. He has the physical tools to do whatever he wants on the football field and the mental capacity to know when to throw, run, and take over a game. We’ve still got a lot of football left to play, but everyone else is chasing him at this point.
2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Every single time you watch him play, Patrick Mahomes does something that a human being shouldn’t be capable of doing. This time, that something involved throwing three touchdowns and dropping 41 points on a loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, with one of those touchdowns being one of the most ridiculous of his career. After a (relatively) up and down 2021, Mahomes is back on track as arguably the best quarterback in football, and it should be fascinating to watch him, Allen, and the next guy on this list compete for the NFL MVP honors.
a Tony Parker spin+floater in the paint pic.twitter.com/HoaPJ3CTli
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) October 3, 2022
3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
If the Ravens could close out a game, Lamar Jackson would probably be at the top of this list. After failing to reach terms on a contract extension in the offseason, Jackson is showing the world exactly why he decided to bet on himself. Through four games, the former first-round pick has completed 65% of his passes for 893 yards and a league-high 11 touchdowns while adding another 316 yards and two scores on the ground. Of course, it’s hard to overlook blowing two separate 17-point leads. While the defense is mostly to blame here, Jackson needs to be better about actually sealing the deal down the stretch. If he can do that, then he should be in serious contention for his second MVP award.
4. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles had ample opportunity to invest in the quarterback position over the past two years, yet they never wavered from former second-round pick Jalen Hurts. Right now, that loyalty is paying off in a big way. The formerly unrefined passer has polished his game and is steadily developing into one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the league. Through the first month of the season, Hurts ranks fourth in PFF grade and is perhaps the biggest reason that the Eagles remain the NFL’s lone undefeated team.
5. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
No, seriously. While he is a distant fifth on this list, the former New York Jets bust has put together an astonishing September. Through one month of action, Smith ranks first in completion percentage, fourth in yards/attempt, third in passer rating, sixth in QBR, fifth in EPA/play, and first in PFF grade. He’s taken a terrible Seattle Seahawks roster and somehow brought them to a 2-2 record while playing like a top 10 quarterback by just about every metric. Can he keep this up for a full season? Probably not, but he deserves recognition for just how well he’s played after spending so much time on the bench.