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Monday, March 4, 2024

Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa are co-MVP favorites but it shouldn’t be that close

Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa are co-MVP favorites but it shouldn’t be that close

Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes are the co-favorites to win NFL MVP, but Mahomes probably doesn’t deserve it. Imagine saying that sentence a few months ago.

Nothing against Mahomes, the greatest quarterback of the post-Tom Brady generation and perhaps many other generations. But if anyone is voting for Mahomes now β€” and in fairness, nobody votes now since there are 12 weeks to go in the season β€” it would be based more on his reputation than his play this season.

The BetMGM odds have the two quarterbacks even through six weeks:

Mahomes hasn’t been bad this season. He has been very good. But he hasn’t been as good as Tagovailoa, or maybe a handful of other players either.

Comparing Patrick Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa

Let’s start by comparing Mahomes and Tagovailoa, who are the co-favorites:

Tagovailoa: 1,876 yards, 71.1 completion percentage, 9.5 yards per attempt, 14 TD, 5 INT, 114.1 passer rating

Mahomes: 1,593 yards, 68.3 completion percentage, 7.1 yards per attempt, 11 TD, 5 INT, 95.7 passer rating

That doesn’t look equal. And if we’re judging off of quarterback wins, Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs and Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins are both 5-1. There’s only one great reason Mahomes would be considered even with Tagovailoa at this point, and it’s due to what we thought of Mahomes and Tagovailoa before the season started, not what they’ve actually done this season.

Tagovailoa has better receivers, but having a worse supporting cast never seems to be a criteria for MVP. Mahomes’ numbers are well down from last season when he won MVP and deserved it. There’s still plenty of time for Mahomes to catch up this season, but he does need to catch up. And probably not just to Tagovailoa.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is atop the NFL MVP odds after six weeks of the season. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Who are the other MVP candidates?

There will be separation in the race as the season goes on, but there are some interesting candidates emerging. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has bubbled up in the conversation. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was briefly the favorite this season after a win over the Dolphins, and he’ll stay in the race. Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff has an interesting case brewing, especially if the Lions can get one of the top seeds in the NFC.

It would be a great season for a non-quarterback to get some consideration, as unlikely as that is. Christian McCaffrey has scored in every game and is having a great season. Tyreek Hill has been incredible for the Dolphins, though a receiver has never won MVP. If Jerry Rice never won an MVP, Hill likely won’t either.

Mahomes hasn’t been on an MVP level this season. His passer rating is lower than Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson and C.J. Stroud. Goff has more passing yards. Justin Fields has as many passing touchdowns. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but we can see that Mahomes and the Chiefs offense isn’t playing at its normal level through six weeks.

Mahomes has a great reputation and deserves it after an unprecedented start to his career. But this season? He shouldn’t be in MVP consideration. Not yet, anyway.

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