Is Baker Mayfield an MVP Candidate?

NFL MVP Frontrunners through week 13

The winner of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award is always highly debated. More so than any other major professional sport. While the MVP award has been dominated by the quarterback position the last 7 seasons and will continue to be dominated by quarterbacks for the foreseeable future, it always fun to debate who really deserves to be in the conversation for the award and who will ultimately walk away with it.

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The front runners for the award fluctuate week by week. If a player wants to cement his name into the conversation, it goes without saying that they must be a dominant force in the league. However, they must also be consistent.

This year, we saw names like Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, and Aaron Rodgers as the early season favorites to win the award. After week 13, Russell Wilson falls out of the conversation. He has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his last 5 games. Josh Allen re-entered the conversation after his dominant performance on Monday Night against the 49ers where he threw for 375 yards and 4 touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers never really left the conversation and is a name that gets thrown into the MVP race every season.

However, there is a dark horse that has entered the MVP conversation. A player that has a very polarizing aura about him. That player is Baker Mayfield of the 9–3 Cleveland Browns. A team that will enjoy its first winning season since 2007 and they are well on their way to the franchises first playoff berth since 2002 when they lost in the Wildcard game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Does Baker Mayfield deserve credit for the success of the Cleveland Browns? Absolutely he does. He is the quarterback. The head of the offense. He does deserve some credit. However, he doesn’t belong anywhere near the MVP conversation. In fact, he is not even the most valuable player on his team. I would endorse Myles Garrett or Nick Chubb as MVP candidates before I toss Baker Mayfield’s name in there.

Now that we have dealt with the large elephant in the room, let’s get down to business. Who are the MVP candidates after week 13 of the NFL season?

As of right now, I would say it is a three-man race in this exact order.

1. Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes has led the Chiefs to yet another playoff berth and we are only through 13 weeks. They sit at 11–1 with their only loss coming at the hands of the Las Vegas Raiders. Since then, Mahomes has been lights out. He continues to put on a magic act each week. There is always that one Patrick Mahomes throw that ends up on Sports Center even if it ends in an incompletion.

In all seriousness, the way he manages a game is simply amazing. He can take the top off your defense with a perfect dime to one of his speedy receivers, or he can dissect your defense down the field with ease whenever he chooses. There isn’t an NFL defense that can stop this man from doing whatever he wants on the football field. The ease at which he plays, and the calm demeanor is unlike anything the NFL has ever seen. If I were a Chiefs fan, I would never feel out of a game with him under center. You always have a chance to put up points in a hurry when Mahomes drops back to pass.

2. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has yet again led the Packers to what seems like an inevitable NFC North Division Title. He seemingly breaks a new quarterback record every week. Unlike Mahomes, Rodgers deserves a lot of credit because he can make an undrafted, rookie wide receiver look like Terrell Owens. As much as I hate to say it as a Bears fan, Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He is never in a rush and rarely makes mistakes. That is a testament to his offensive line and pass protection.

Rodgers won this award back in 2014 and is still playing at an elite level at the quarterback position. This past week, Rodgers threw his 400th career passing touchdown and has now recorded 35+ passing touchdowns in 5 consecutive seasons. He beat out two hall of fame caliber quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Drew Brees to this milestone. Rodgers is one of the best to ever do it and is firmly in the conversation for the NFL MVP Award.

3. Josh Allen

Josh Allen started off the season as the front runner for the MVP. He was dominating opposing defenses with his arm and his legs. He did taper off a bit through the middle weeks of the season but would still dazzle fans with the way he escapes the pass rush and can make strong throws down the field while rolling out to his left or right. Without a doubt, he is the strongest quarterback I have ever watched. Josh Allen takes on 300+ pound NFL defensive lineman and stiff arms them into the sunken place like it’s nobody’s business. Obviously, those plays are a spectacle to watch as a football fan.

Through week 13, Josh Allen has led the Buffalo Bills to a 9–3 record. They currently sit in 1st place by 1 game over the surprising Miami Dolphins in the AFC East. So far, Allen has amassed 22 passing touchdowns and 3,028 passing yards. He has added 6 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown. He is a triple threat quarterback that could probably hold his weight at middle linebacker. For that, I have to put Josh Allen in the MVP conversation.

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