As the season draws to a close, two quarterbacks stand out in the race for the NFL MVP. Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs continues his irresistible momentum with all the ardor of his youth. Aaron Rodgers of the Packers is the veteran who refuses to give up.
Rodgers leads his peers in the touchdown column with 40, all while throwing just four interceptions. He is also third in accumulated gains with 3,828 yards.
Mahomes, who inherits a heavy command today against the Saints, instead leads the way with 4,208 yards, while he ranks third in touchdowns with 33, down from just five interceptions.
Statistics have become so common with rare talents like Rodgers and Mahomes that no one cares anymore. However, in both cases it is a production that allows us to legitimately wonder if their DNA is indeed from human sources!
Last Sunday, Mahomes racked up 393 yards against the Dolphins. It was a sixth straight game for him with at least 315 yards in the air. He became the third pivot in history, after Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, to reach the 4,000-yard mark in three of his first four seasons. And to think that his first season, he spent it on the bench!
For his part, Rodgers crossed the 40 touchdown pass, becoming the only one in history to reach this plateau three times.
The results of the last few games can still influence the race, but if the vote were to hold now, it would be difficult not to grant Rodgers the MVP title.
Both quarterbacks are fabulous, but the Packers’ one has to do more with less. Of course, he is banking on an extraordinary receiver in Davante Adams, but otherwise the options too often leave much to be desired.
Mahomes has an unlimited arsenal with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson. Pure speed! It clearly doesn’t take away his insane talent, but production is made easier compared to Rodgers.
It is important to ask a question. If they weren’t playing with Rodgers, what would happen to Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Equanimeous St. Brown?
Towards a rare feat
If Rodgers wins, it will be his third career MVP. This is a rare feat that has only been accomplished by five players before him – Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown.
If Mahomes snatches the title, he would join a select squad made up of the players mentioned above, in addition to Rodgers, Kurt Warner, Joe Montana and Steve Young, who have won the precious trophy at least twice.
Whatever happens, Mahomes and Rodgers continue to shape their legend. It remains to be seen if fans can revel in a duel between the two quarterbacks at Super Bowl 55 on February 7.
5 POINTS TO LOOK FOR …
The series portrait
To date, the Bills, Chiefs, Steelers, Packers and Saints have secured their playoff presence. The Steelers can also formalize the title of their division with a gain at the expense of the Bengals or a loss of the Browns to the Giants. If the Titans have the Lions, they will also have their ticket. Otherwise, they’ll need a Ravens defeat. A Rams victory over the Jets will also secure them a spot in January, as will the Seahawks if they win against Washington.
Duel at the top
The clash between the Chiefs and the Saints promises to be candy. It is rather rare that two opponents who show such a good success rate clash at this stage of the season. In history, this will only be the sixth game starting in week 15 where both teams show a combined save percentage of .846 or better.
The clock is still ticking and Derrick Henry is at 1532 rushing yards with 14 TDs. With a touchdown against the Lions, the Titans carrier would become only fourth in NFL history with two straight seasons of over 1,500 yards and at least 15 rushing touchdowns. For the curious, the others are Terrell Davis (1997-98), Shaun Alexander (2004-05) and Larry Johnson (2005-06).
Xavien Howard on fire
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has a rare feat within his grasp. Not only does he already have nine interceptions, but he has managed one in five straight games. If he adds one to the Patriots, he’ll be part of a select six-man club who have intercepted a pass in six straight games, the longest streak to date.
Good old larry
Larry Fitzgerald continues to produce for the Cardinals despite turning 37. Although he’s not at his peak anymore, he’s only five receptions from the 50’s this season. It would be a 17th season for him with at least 50 receptions, which would tie Jerry Rice’s mark. Great minds think alike!