Early Season NFL MVP Contenders? Five Stars That Have Shone This Season

We are at the sixth week of action in the NFL regular season and already, thoughts are turning to which players could be in the running to be the league’s MVP come the end of the season.

It is an award that has, in recent years, been dominated by quarterbacks. Since Shaun Alexander and then LaDainian Tomlinson won the award in 2005 and 2006, only one other player, running back Adrian Peterson in 2012, has won the award, other than a quarterback.

Peyton Manning holds the record for most MVP wins with five, with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers still actively playing with three each alongside NFL legends Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown.

Only three other players have won multiple MVP awards, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Kurt Warner, all QB’s who have two wins apiece.

So, who is in line to land the coveted trophy this season? Let’s take a look at five contenders who have caught the eye so far, and their odds as provided by BetRivers Sportsbook.

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Josh Allen (QB – Buffalo Bills) +350

  • Games Played – 5
  • Pass Attempts/Completions – 183/111
  • Passing Yards/ Avg – 1370/7.5
  • Touchdowns – 12
  • Interceptions – 2
  • Sacked – 5
  • Rushing Attempts – 35
  • Rushing Yards – 188
  • Touchdowns – 2
  • Fumbles – 3

Josh Allen is a big part of why the Buffalo Bills have been the team in form over Weeks 2 to 5 of the season. Aided by a Bills defense that has really stepped up to the plate, Allen has shown his form of last season was no fluke and he has continued that high level of performance this season too. Forget the blip against Pittsburgh on the opening weekend, the Bills and Allen are the real deal this season.

Kyler Murray (QB – Arizona Cardinals) +400

  • Games Played – 5
  • Pass Attempts/Completions – 165/124
  • Passing Yards/ Avg – 1512/9.2
  • Touchdowns – 10
  • Interceptions – 4
  • Sacked – 10
  • Rushing Attempts – 30
  • Rushing Yards – 110
  • Touchdowns –3
  • Fumbles – 2

Not only has Murray overseen the only 100% winning record in the NFL over the first five weeks of the season, he has been the catalyst for that somewhat unexpected success for the Cardinals. Like other rushing quarterbacks, he does tend to find being sacked often more of a problem and interceptions are higher than most, but his ability to keep plays alive and his passing range, as well as his feet, have been a massive part of the Cardinals early season success.

Justin Herbert (QB – Los Angeles Chargers) +650

  • Games Played – 5
  • Pass Attempts/Completions – 207/139
  • Passing Yards/ Avg – 1576/7.6
  • Touchdowns –13
  • Interceptions – 3
  • Sacked – 9
  • Rushing Attempts – 19
  • Rushing Yards – 60
  • Touchdowns –1
  • Fumbles – 1

The Oregon native has shown that the Chargers have found their franchise QB for the next ten years. Herbert is on course for a stellar career in the NFL after a stunning rookie season and then he followed that up with a fantastic start to this season too. Efficient, confident, poised and leading his team to a 4-1 record. If the Chargers continue their excellent start to the season, then Herbert’s claims for MVP may be too strong to ignore.

Tom Brady (QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers) +700

  • Games Played – 5
  • Pass Attempts/Completions – 225/149
  • Passing Yards/ Avg – 1767/7.9
  • Touchdowns – 15
  • Interceptions – 2
  • Sacked – 9
  • Rushing Attempts – 9
  • Rushing Yards – 36
  • Touchdowns –1
  • Fumbles – 2

He may be approaching 83 years of age, or whatever he is, but Tom Brady is still performing at the elite level when it comes to quarterbacks. Nobody has massed for more yards and thrown more touchdowns than Brady this season and lets not forget, he has some credit in his favor for taking the Bucs to Super Bowl success last year. A three-time former MVP winner, he will be in the reckoning for number four for sure.

Lamar Jackson (QB – Baltimore Ravens) +1300

  • Games Played – 5

    Courtesy All Pro Reels at Wikimedia Commons – CC BY SA 2.0
  • Pass Attempts/Completions – 167/112
  • Passing Yards/ Avg – 1519/9.1
  • Touchdowns – 8
  • Interceptions – 3
  • Sacked – 13
  • Rushing Attempts – 56
  • Rushing Yards – 341
  • Touchdowns – 2
  • Fumbles – 5

A previous winner of the MVP award, Lamar Jackson has shown this season he is a bonafide QB, and not an enhanced running back. The threat of him running is still there, but with a stronger receiving corps, he has shown the quality of his throwing. The number of sacks and interceptions are probably what go against him a little here, but make no mistake, the Ravens are 4-1 because of Jackson’s play in some crucial and close games.

There are other players that could make it into the conversation for MVP. Dak Prescott, Mattew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and even Patrick Mahomes, provided he can steer the Chiefs back from their slow start, could all be in contention.

Outside of quarterbacks, it looks like Derrick Henry, the Titans running back is on for another stellar season, but the odds on anyone other than a QB landing the title are slim.

Who are you backing for MVP this season?


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