Wilson and Jackson Slide, So Rodgers Slips in the NFL MVP Odds
Week 9 showed us just how tight the NFL MVP race is. In our last edition, we all but said the award was Aaron Rodgers to lose. One off week from Rodgers and great weeks from Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson and—all of a
sudden—Rodgers falls into a tie for third according to the oddsmakers. Without further ado, may we present…
Wilson (NFL MVP Odds +250) moves back into the top spot after a ridiculous performance against the Buccaneers. 378 yards, five TDs, zero interceptions. Now I realize the Tampa Bay defense this season will never be compared with the ’85 Bears, the ’00 Ravens, or even their own teams of the early aughts, but those are special numbers being put up by a special player. One way to measure an MVP is how his performance elevates a team. Of Seattle’s seven wins this season, five of them have come by four points or less or in overtime. If you’re asking me if I trust the Seahawks when they’re giving points, the answer is no, the games are just too close. If you’re asking me whether they win games straight up rather than against the spread, then the answer is yes and Wilson is the reason why. The Seattle Seahawks aren’t playing great football, Russell Wilson is playing great football.
Speaking of great football, what did we just see from Jackson (NFL MVP Odds +350) against the Pats? One of the big story lines this season in the NFL has been how New England was undefeated, not because of the GOAT, but because the defense was playing at an unreal level. Jackson didn’t put up insane numbers, though he did account for three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing). He threw for 161 yards and ran for 61 more. He completed 74 percent of his passes.
What set things apart was the way he commanded the field. He didn’t look panicked or rushed. He was in control the entire 60 minutes. And it was in front of a national audience on Sunday night. One of the only reasons he may still be trailing Wilson in this race is that Jackson has had the better supporting cast. Baltimore as a team has played better than Seattle, but that’s due largely to Jackson’s poise and decision making. I think many of the questions of can he continue to maintain for a full season have been answered. I’ve been on the Jackson bandwagon for most of the season. Hop on now while there are still a couple good seats left.
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Texas Sixed Odds and One of the Best Value Picks in the NFL MVP Race
Speaking of people who I’ve been championing since before it was en vogue in the MVP battle, let’s go south, or in the case of last week, across the pond, and look at Deshaun Watson’s NFL MVP odds (+600). The numbers weren’t flashy or gaudy against Jacksonville – 22-of-28 passing, 201 yards, two TDs – but much like Jackson, it was his command of the game that stood out. He displayed the innate ability to realize “I better tuck and run here before I get drilled in the pocket” several times against the Jags. The end result was only one sack behind an offensive line that was down two starters and a second straight game with no interceptions. Things will look to get better for Watson as a much banged up Texans team is on its bye in Week 10. Potentially, that means that Tytus Howard, Laremy Tunsil, and Will Fuller may be back to either help protect Watson or give him an extra target to throw to, even if all in a limited role, when facing Baltimore on November 17.
In a race as tight as this one, the month of October that Rodgers (NFL MVP Odds +600) put up is the only reason that his first game in November didn’t drop his odds further. Green Bay averaged 30.7 points per game in six games from September 22 through October 27. Then the Packers lay an egg with 11 points against a sub-.500 Chargers team that had allowed 20 or more in four of five coming in. Rodgers threw for just 161 yards in the game with one score. Bright spot, no turnovers.
That type of performance can’t happen when you’re in a fight for a division because someone a couple weeks ago challenged Kirk Cousins and now he’s leading the Vikings like an $84M quarterback should. In fairness to Rodgers, the entire team played poorly, but it sits on an MVP’s shoulders to help elevate his squad. That is what separates the top three in the list from Mr. Moustache.
Looking ahead to Week 10, we could see some more movement at the top. Jackson has a very favorable matchup against the still winless Bengals where the Ravens are a double-digit road favorite. Meanwhile, Wilson has to deal with San Francisco on the road on Monday night. Wilson has always performed well in the spotlight, but the Niners defense is LEGIT. Rodgers gets Carolina at home, so look for a get right game there. One interesting note: heading into Week 10, only Jackson has had his bye week. Watson’s is this week, Wilson and Rodgers get theirs in Week 11. Will a later bye week for the majority of our candidates rejuvenate and propel or will it derail momentum?
NFL MVP Odds