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Russell Wilson’s competition for MVP is ... who at this point?

Nickelodeon’s Double Dare Takes The Gridiron At Super Bowl LIII Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

In 2012, he couldn’t be the Rookie of the Year because of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

In 2013, he couldn’t be the MVP because of Marshawn Lynch and the defense.

In 2014, he couldn’t be the MVP because of Marshawn Lynch and the defense.

In 2015, he couldn’t be the MVP because of Cam Newton.

In 2016-2017, well, he wasn’t the MVP, he was just very good without Marshawn Lynch or much of a defense.

In 2018, he couldn’t be the MVP because of Patrick Mahomes.

In September, he couldn’t be the best quarterback because of Patrick Mahomes.

In September, he couldn’t be the NFC Offensive Player of the Month because of Christian McCaffrey.

In October, where are your excuses now?

Thanks to back-to-back losses by the Kansas City Chiefs, three straight losses by the Dallas Cowboys, and Christian McCaffrey having the worst rushing day of his career (next to the second-worst, which came in September against the same team), Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is now the lone player that I can say is at the top of the MVP conversation.

Exhibit A: There is no quarterback playing at the level of Russell Wilson so far.

QB is the “MVP” position and the only other one that gets consideration is also the only position that is constantly under fire by about 25% of fans, running backs. (This is my rough estimation. I do not think that it is a 50/50 discussion. I’d even say 25% is really generous. It might be 5% and it might just be very vocal number crunchers.)

Over his last three games, Mahomes has completed just 56% of his passes, 7.8 Y/A, and a rating of 89.3. Mahomes hasn’t topped a rating of 100 in any of his last three games. Wilson has hit 100 or better in 16 of his last 19 games. Mahomes could be the NFL’s second-best QB right now, but he’s not ahead of Wilson based on the first six games of 2019. This shouldn’t be in dispute anymore.

Matt Ryan is the only QB with more passing touchdowns than Wilson, but he also has seven interceptions compared to 0 by Wilson. Wilson has thrown four interceptions in his last 20 games. 16 quarterbacks have thrown at least four interceptions this season alone. That includes five picks in five games for Jimmy Garoppolo, putting the San Francisco 49ers QB out of MVP consideration right now despite his team being undefeated.

Deshaun Watson is having a great season too, but had two interceptions on Sunday against the Chiefs. So far half of Watson’s games have been great and half have been no better than mediocre. Wilson has six great games.

Tom Brady is a usual suspect and the New England Patriots are 6-0, but his rating is just 86.9 over the last four games, and his Y/A is under 7.0. It seems unlikely that Brady can win MVP without an uptick in his numbers and a downtick in Wilson’s and some other candidates. It’s a wide gap between Wilson and Brady at this point.

Other QBs who have been or could be talked about based on what we’ve seen so far — Kyle Allen (wow, but no), Kirk Cousins (really?), Dak Prescott (losing), and maybe Matthew Stafford if he beats the Green Bay Packers on Monday night and gets the Detroit Lions off to a surprising 3-1-1 start. Speaking of the Packers, Aaron Rodgers is not really the top-10 in any major category other than interceptions.

I can’t see a single QB near Wilson at this point. His numbers are indisputable and the Seahawks are 5-1.

Listen to a new episode of Seaside Reactions after every Seahawks game!

Exhibit B: The Seahawks are 5-1

Wins talk, Losses Falk.

The Patriots are 6-0, but the MVP can’t be anyone other than Brady and he’s not putting up the numbers this season.

The Buffalo Bills are 4-1, but Josh Allen is a really bad passer. His rushing isn’t that spectacular either. Frank Gore is not going to get an MVP vote.

The Baltimore Ravens, Wilson’s opponent in Week 7, are 4-2, but Lamar Jackson’s got 4 TD/5 INT over his last four games. His passing numbers are bad. He’s thrown more picks this year than Wilson’s thrown since Week 3 of 2018.

The New Orleans Saints are 5-1, but Teddy Bridgewater is admirable, not an MVP. Alvin Kamara’s a broken tackles machine unlike any other right now but his numbers have dipped without Drew Brees. He’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry since Week 2 and his pace over those five games is just 883 rushing yards and 653 receiving yards with six touchdowns. Is Darren Sproles an “MVP”? That’s what those numbers look like. Austin Ekeler’s numbers are much better this year, but he’s on a 2-4 team.

The 49ers are 5-0, but the MVP is the run game or the defense. It’s not any one running back either. It’s a team effort to get to 5-0 and I can’t see an MVP anywhere on the team.

The Packers are 4-1 but can anyone besides Aaron Rodgers be an MVP on that team? Rodgers is on pace for 19 touchdown passes for the whole season. Wilson has 14 touchdowns with ten games left to go. Aaron Jones is on pace for 26 rushing touchdowns(!) and under 1,000 yards (lol). He’s been under 40 rushing yards in three of five games.

The Carolina Panthers have won four straight games and are 4-2 with Christian McCaffrey winning NFC honors in September. He’s the second-best MVP candidate in the NFL right now. After losing the starting quarterback, the Panthers are undefeated with Allen and McCaffrey’s pace is over 1,600 rushing yards, over 800 receiving yards, and 24 touchdowns. If McCaffrey finishes with 2,200 total yards, 20 touchdowns, and the Panthers are 12-4 or 13-3, it could be a Carolina player stumping Wilson in the race once again.

And I imagine that a lot of voters will want to affirm their 2017 draft thoughts on McCaffrey, that he’s a special, unique running back who deserves more credit than all other running backs. That’s why you’ve seen so many rush to praise McCaffrey this season (with good reason) because much like Luck from 2012-2018, it affirms their opinions from a past draft. And almost everyone who writes about the draft DESPERATELY wants to be able to say “I was right.”

If Luck is great and Wilson is “third roundy,” then the draft was right.

If McCaffrey is great, then the draft was right.

A lot of draft experts expected Wilson to be a backup. A lot of draft experts expected McCaffrey to revolutionize the running back position. Wilson being the best player in the NFL goes against what many experts had predicted. McCaffrey being the best player in the NFL does not. So when McCaffrey plays like he has this season, and Carolina wins, that’s Wilson’s biggest competition in the MVP race.

“Commonly held opinions.”

For seven years we’ve been talking about why Wilson “couldn’t” win these honors because of external factors. In year eight, he could win MVP. But his biggest hurdle may not be the 49ers.

It could just be the will of the voters to admit he’s always been better than they said he was.