Onside Kick: MVP Race

Now we’re past the midway point of the season, it’s become more clear which players are up there with the league’s best. So, this week the Onside Kick takes a look at five players who could be in the running come award time…

Lamar Jackson; Baltimore Ravens, Quarterback

Ravens’ second-year quarterback, Lamar Jackson has come into his own this season. The Heisman Trophy winner has put together an impressive stat line of 1813 yards through the air, 12 passing touchdowns and only five interceptions. However, its Jackson’s running ability that is the difference-maker. The former Louisville playmaker is on pace to shatter the single-season rushing record for a quarterback. He used his athletic ability to its maximum potential on Sunday Night Football in week nine when he dominated the supposedly unplayable New England Patriots defence and handed them their first loss of the year.

Christian McCaffrey; Carolina Panthers, Running back

In the modern NFL, it is rare that a running back wins the league MVP award; only one has won it in the last ten years, Adrian Peterson in 2012. However, Christian McCaffrey is not any old running back. The 23-year-old is on track to move up to second-highest ever in yards from scrimmage in a single season, only behind Chris Johnson’s legendary 2009 season. Arguably the most explosive playmaker in the NFL, the former Stanford Cardinal has been the main reason why the Panthers are challenging for a playoff spot. If they do make it to the postseason, McCaffrey will have to be in the conversation for MVP.

Aaron Rodgers; Green Bay Packers, Quarterback

The Green Bay Packers are back to their best, mainly thanks to the play of their Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. The 35-year-old has proven himself to still be an elite player at this stage in his career and could win his third MVP award this season. Throwing for 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions in nine games, Rodgers has helped the Cheese-heads march to second in the NFC. 

Deshaun Watson; Houston Texans, Quarterback

After a disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs last season, Deshaun Watson is playing the best football of his career. The former Clemson signal-caller has been unstoppable in every game he’s played. He even out-played last year’s MVP, Patrick Mahomes in a 31-24 week six victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Clocking up 2432 yards and 18 touchdowns so far in 2019, the 2017 first-round pick has led the Texans to a 6-3 record and has put them in the driving seat for their division. 

Russell Wilson; Seattle Seahawks, Quarterback

Becoming the NFL’s highest-paid player in the offseason heaped a lot of pressure on Russell Wilson, but he has more than delivered. The 30-year-old has possibly the most impressive stat line of any quarterback this year: 22 touchdowns to only one pick. Seattle will have a tough time getting to the playoffs as they are in the most competitive division in the NFL this year with the NFC West being home to three real Super Bowl contenders. Yet Wilson has the ability to lead them deep into the postseason.

Subedited by Riley Taylor

Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr). Licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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