If you take a look at the current MVP odds according to DraftKings, a new name has overtaken Patrick Mahomes for the current odds on favorite.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts.
Hurts has without a doubt been phenomenal this year. He’s No. 10 in the NFL in passing yards, No. 6 in passing touchdowns, and sixth among all players in rushing touchdowns. He’s third in the NFL in EPA/play, and oh yeah—the Eagles are 12-1 with a strong case as Super Bowl favorites in the NFC.
So, why is it considered such a shock that he’s right there in the MVP race?
So we’ve reached THAT point in the season, huh.
Of course when considering the MVP case for Jalen Hurts, the Eagles team is considered. They have the best offensive line in football and a bevy of receiving talent led by potential first team All-Pro AJ Brown at wide receiver.
However, the Eagles offense is maximized by Hurts’ ability as a runner, and his development as a passer is something that can’t be ignored. When the Eagles get in the redzone they’re the most efficient offense in the NFL. Their EPA/rush is first in the NFL at 0.25, and every other team in the top five has run the ball in the RZ at least 30 times less than the Eagles this season.
Hurts leads the NFL in red zone runs, and among players with 20 or more attempts in the red zone, his EPA/rush is five points higher than the next highest ball carrier, which is Chargers RB Austin Ekeler. Hurts is making the Eagles offense so much more dynamic with his ability as a runner, and in an NFL where defenses try to defend the run out of 2-high structures, his running forces defenses to move a guy into the box.
Hurts is also seventh in total EPA on passes in the red zone, and this is where the case for Hurts is also made. His development as a passer has taken this offense from a good one to an elite one, an offense that has a curveball for everything a defense will throw at it. Across the board, all of his numbers are up. Completion percentage, On-Target throw percentage, Yards per Attempt. More importantly, his passing over the middle of the field has taken a huge leap, both in attempts and completions.
Hurts went 68/102 over the middle of the field last year and only 4 TDs.
Let’s look at this year.
This is where we want to be. Hurts’ numbers jumped to 95-for-127 and seven touchdowns through 14 games this season. His development as a passer raises the ceiling of the offense to new heights, and his willingness to throw the ball over the middle has kept defenses from limiting what the Eagles can do. Sure, having AJ Brown helps a lot, but Hurts has become so much better as a passer.
Patrick Mahomes will probably win the MVP award, and rightfully so. What he’s done this year with a weaker cast is worthy of that. But Jalen Hurts is more than worthy of MVP, due to his ability to raise the floor of the Eagles offense with his running ability and raise the ceiling of the Eagles offense with his continued development as a passer.