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With Thanksgiving just a few days away, the NFL MVP race is starting to gain some focus. After 11 weeks of action, some clear frontrunners have emerged to claim the title of best in the league. While the first name on this list is a familiar one, several passers in the midst of a breakout year still have a chance at the award.
NFL MVP Race: Top Five Candidates Entering Week 12
1. Patrick Mahomes
If the season ended today, Patrick Mahomes would win MVP by a very comfortable margin. The former first-round pick is in the midst of arguably his best season ever, and that is a truly terrible thought for the rest of the league. Despite having no proven weapon outside of Travis Kelce, Mahomes currently ranks second in the league in EPA/play and leads the NFL in touchdowns and yards. He’s the best player at the game’s most important position and, until further notice, he’ll be the frontrunner for the game’s highest individual honor.
2. Tua Tagovalioa
Remember when some believed Tua Tagovailoa wouldn’t make it through the season as Miami’s starter? Well, the Alabama product has erased all doubts about his abilities in the midst of a true breakout campaign. In his eight starts, Tagovailoa has completed 71.0% of his passes while leading the league in yards per attempt, touchdown rate, QBR, EPA/play, and passer rating. Yes, the unmatched receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have certainly inflated Tagovailoa’s stats to a certain extent, but it’s impossible to put up those types of numbers without being pretty good yourself.
3. Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts falls down a spot in the NFL MVP rankings thanks in part to two pedestrian weeks. After an upset loss to the Washington Commanders, Hurts was barely able to beat the Jeff Saturday-led Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. Still, a win is a win, and Hurts is the biggest factor behind Philadelphia’s league-best 9-1 record. Even with this recent slump, Hurts is still one of the best dual-threat players in the league and could still win the award with a strong finish.
MERRILL REESE CALLS JALEN HURTS' GAME-WINNING TD pic.twitter.com/qIBadskoVG
— Nick Piccone (@_piccone) November 20, 2022
4. Geno Smith
Geno Smith propaganda will continue until morale improves. While he’s clearly behind the top three names on this list, it’s impossible to ignore everything the former New York Jet has accomplished during his time under center. Nobody thought the Seahawks would be tied for the NFC West crown at this point in the season, and they wouldn’t have made it this far without Smith’s exceptional play. Through 11 weeks, the quarterback ranks eighth in EPA/play, fifth in PFF grade, and seventh in yards per attempt.
5. Josh Allen
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once viewed as the clear frontrunner for the award, a string of uneven performances has caused Josh Allen to plummet in the MVP race. Ever since halftime against the Green Bay Packers, Allen simply hasn’t looked like his old, dominant self. Sure, the high-ceiling plays are still there, but he has too many negative throws and questionable decisions to merit serious MVP considerations. Rest easy, Bills fans, he’s still one of the best in the game, he’s just not THE best quarterback in football.