It’s Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts for NFL MVP

Image for article titled The MVP race is a 2 man cage match

Image: Getty Images

The MVP discussion has been reduced to an A and B call between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. Joe Burrow is listening, but in the final quarter of the season he’s looking inside from the outside. As things stand, Mahomes occupies the B-place in this race, while Hurts ousts the 2018 MVP in the 2022 MVP duel.

To Hurts’ advantage, his consistency was incredible. He’s a metronome for the Eagles. Hurts currently leads the No. 1 offense and jumped in Week 14 en route to a 48-22 win over the Giants. Mahomes represents the second-best offense but threw three picks on Sunday, albeit against a stifling Broncos defense.

To his credit, Mahomes leads the NFL in touchdown passes by a larger margin than the gap between second-place Joe Burrow and ninth-place pass touchdown generator. However, when you factor in Mahomes’ and Hurts’ quick touchdowns, the difference in total touchdowns shrinks to 35 for Mahomes and 32 for Hurts.

Mahomes also owns the highest QBR in the NFL, ahead of Hurts, who is fourth, but the latter has rushed for more yards this season (686) than Mahomes in 2021 and 2022 combined. Hurts’ scrambles aren’t as electrifying as Lamar Jackson’s during his 2019 unanimous MVP season. He’s more methodical, but the effect works the same.

Hurts’ three interceptions for a team that has lost only once all season gives him an edge over Mahomes’ 11 (fourth-best in the NFL). This lowlight role includes a pass to cover during a late drive against the Colts in Week 3 that was tipped, intercepted and ultimately prevented the Chiefs from attempting a game-winning field goal.

G/O Media may receive a commission

40% discount

Samsung 65 inch 4K OLED Smart TV

TV time
This 4K OLED Smart TV is integrated with Alexa, can run Xbox Game Pass, has an incredible picture and even has Dolby Atmos & Object Tracking Sound.

Against Tennessee, Hurts scalpeled a 40-yard touchdown shot into the gap between AJ Brown and the cornerback, who had Velcro attached to his chest. His throws against Brown, who the Titans traded this offseason, got Titans general manager Jon Robinson fired.

Sunday was a reunion of sorts between Hurts and Brian Daboll, Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2018, as Hurts was the starter before being benched for Tua Tagovailoa in the second half of this season’s national championship game against Georgia. Ironically, it was Hurt’s trouble opening up defense with his deep passing that left his starting roll for Tagovailoa vulnerable.

Over the weekend, Hurts and Mahomes delivered the two best deep throws of the weekend. Mahomes scooped a no-look outlet pass to Jerick McKinnon, who hopped 56 yards for a goal while Hurts split the Giants defense with a hole-in-one Deep ball to Devonta Smith on a 4th and 7th that fell between two defenders. As of Week 14, Hurts has passed more touchdowns on throws of 25 air yards or more than any NFL signal caller except Geno Smith. It feels like Hurts somehow stole Russell Wilson’s passing accuracy and refuses to give it back.

The prophets betting money on Hurt’s 40-to-1 or +4000 odds to grab his first preseason MVP should take a bow. But they’re not the only ones getting paid. Hurts’ rookie contract finally expires in 2023, and that performance likely lifted him up a few NFL tax brackets. He’s developing at a quantum pace and meanwhile he’s racing towards his first MVP. Hurts has beaten every speed bump blocking his way to the top and there aren’t many left to stop him.