With four weeks left to play in the regular season, the league’s top players are running out of time to solidify their cases for 2020 NFL MVP.
Will Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills or Russell Wilson of Seattle Seahawks? Both players lead electric offenses, hold 8-4 records or better, and are searching for their first MVP award.
Patrick Mahomes, the league leader in passing yards, is searching for his second MVP award in three seasons, while Aaron Rodgers, leading the league in touchdown passes, seeking his third career MVP title?
And while it’s generally a quarterback’s award, Derrick Henry of the Tennesse Titans and Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings are having seasons that are hard to ignore.
Read on for my third and penultimate 2020 NFL MVP rankings with four weeks left in the regular season.
2020 NFL MVP Rankings through Week 13
1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Quarter Season Rank: 2
Half Season Rank: 2
While Patrick Mahomes was knocking on the door of the top spot in the first two iterations of my NFL 2020 MVP Watch, he bursts through to the top at the three-quarter season mark. The Kansas City Chiefs are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 11-1 for the best record in the NFL, and Mahomes has everything to do with the Chiefs success.
The 2018 NFL MVP and 2019 Super Bowl MVP will look to add more hardware to his trophy case as the clear front-runner for 2020 NFL MVP with four weeks left to play.
Mahomes leads the NFL with 3,815 passing yards, is 3rd in the NFL with 31 touchdown passes, and somehow has just thrown two interceptions over 463 pass attempts. The Chiefs have scored 370 points, the 2nd-most in the NFL, with a +116 point differential, also the second-best mark in the league.
While the Chiefs roster isn’t devoid of talent beyond Mahomes, he’s still the driving reason behind their offensive success. It would take a couple Chiefs losses, bad games by Mahomes, or an incredible four-week stretch from one of the players behind him for Mahomes to lose out on the 2020 NFL MVP award.
2. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Quarter Season Rank: 3
Half Season Rank: 3
With a quarterback to be named later falling off in the last four weeks, Josh Allen moves up to the second spot in the MVP Rankings.
Allen has super solid numbers across the board: 3,403 passing yards (5th in the NFL), 26 passing touchdowns (6th), and eight interceptions. His 69.9% completion rate is also the fourth-highest in the league. While Allen’s passing numbers alone make him an MVP candidate, it’s what he can also do with his legs that has him ranked so far. Allen has carried the ball 87 times this season, gaining 87 yards and scoring six touchdowns. That would make 32 total touchdowns, but Allen actually has 33: including a receiving touchdown because why not?
Allen has the Bills sitting pretty at 9-3, with one of the best records in the NFL. With Buffalo’s defense having up-and-down weeks, Allen’s offensive production has been integral to the Bills winning ways. Allen has a shot at the 2020 NFL MVP award, but will need a super strong finish to the season in order to do so.
3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Quarter Season Rank: 4
Half Season Rank: 5
Aaron Rodgers is having an incredible season, and it’s almost a crime to rank him at #3. While his 3,395 passing yards are good for 6th in the NFL, it’s his touchdowns you’ll want to look at: 36 scores through the air, the most in the NFL and four more than any other player. He’s on pace to throw 48 touchdowns over 16 games, while just throwing four interceptions so far.
Just like the first two contenders in this edition of NFL MVP Watch, Rodgers isn’t just putting up flashy numbers for fun. He’s driving his team towards victory each and every week. Green Bay is 9-3, cruising through the season and currently holding the second seed in the NFC.
Rodgers has a couple paths to winning the 2020 NFL MVP Award:
- Accelerate his touchdown pace (he’s already throwing three per game) and finish with 50-60 passing touchdowns.
- Run the table, finishing 13-3 for the second straight year, and hoping the Chiefs and Bills lose a couple games.
Unfortunately for Rodgers, voter fatigue could play a factor. The Packers has won the award twice, in 2011 and 2014. While it’s been six years since his last MVP award, voters are so used to seeing Rodgers produce at this level that they may overlook him in favor of a good story in Josh Allen’s Bills, or a transcendent talent in Mahomes third season. One thing’s certain: the Packers are glad to have Rodgers services at quarterback.
4. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Quarter Season Rank: 7
Half Season Rank: 10
While it’s still quite unlikely a running back while win the MVP award, I couldn’t help but raise Derrick Henry in the rankings after some impressive games for the Tennessee Titans. A three-touchdown, 178-yard rushing performance against the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago was a perfect testament to Henry’s value.
The Titans are 8-4, a strong record with a lot of thanks due to their running back. Henry leads the league in rushing with 1,317 rushing yards. Aside from the excellent Dalvin Cook (1,250 yards), no other back has more than 1,000 yards on the ground yet this season. The gap between Henry and the rest of the league’s running backs (again, hold for Cook) is a key reason he deserves to be mentioned in the MVP conversation.
Henry has pounded in 12 scores on the ground (2nd in the NFL) and coughed up the football just once. He’s not much of a receiving threat, with 102 yards on 15 catches, but has broken off a 53-yard reception this season.
5. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Quarter Season Rank: 1
Half Season Rank: 1
At the quarter-season mark, it was Russell Wilson and then everyone else. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes closed the gap at the half-season mark, but Wilson still led the charge with a lead in touchdown passes (28) and a strong 6-2 record.
Fast forward four weeks, with the Seahawks going 2-2 in that stretch and Wilson throwing just four additional touchdown passes, and the brakes have been pumped on Wilson’s MVP campaign.
When all is said and done, Wilson should at least garner some consideration, perhaps earning his first NFL MVP vote of any kind. 8-4 is still a strong record, and has Seattle in position to compete for the NFC West title. Despite a couple down games, Wilson’s passing production is only rivaled by that of Mahomes and Rodgers.
3,479 passing yards (3rd in the NFL), 32 touchdowns (2nd) and a 70.0% completion rate (3rd) prove Wilson is among the best of the best in the NFL. He has, however, tried to make a little too much happen lately: throwing 11 picks and taking 40 sacks.
If Wilson’s final four weeks put Seattle back on top in the NFC and the quarterback puts up some more electric numbers, he could rise in the rankings at the season’s end. But as it stand now, he squandered the lead he held for over half the season.
6. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Quarter Season Rank: 10
Half Season Rank: 8
Ben Roethlisberger‘s MVP stock has steadily rose this season. While Roethlisberger’s numbers alone wouldn’t land him in this position, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers dominant record that has Big Ben in for some late-career MVP consideration.
The Steelers, of course, started 11-0 and were the NFL’s last undefeated team this season. While Pittsburgh fell to Washington in Week 13, 11-1 is still an elite record, with only two other teams in the NFL eclipsing ten wins so far.
Again, the numbers might not jump off the page: 3,105 passing yards (12th in the NFL), 27 touchdowns (a much better 5th in the NFL) and seven interceptions, while completing 66.9% of his passes. But they’re better than average numbers, and until last week, no team has been able to stop Roethlisberger from emerging victorious this season.
Also consider the Steelers change in fortune from 2019, when they finished 8-8 in a season where Big Ben made just two starts. Getting their longtime quarterback back on the field has elevated the Steelers to new heights, as they’ve already eclipsed their 2019 win total by three games with four left to play.
7. Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarter Season Rank: 5
Half Season Rank: 6
Like Wilson earlier, Tom Brady‘s MVP case has taken a bit of a tumble since the half season rank. He doesn’t fall too many positions, mostly because there is a slight drop-off after Brady in this edition of MVP Watch. When I last wrote about Brady’s MVP stock, Tampa Bay was 6-3. Now at 7-5, the Buccaneers are looking much less dominant and much more vulnerable. Unfortunately, Brady didn’t do enough to lead the Buccaneers to victory in two of their last three games. He threw two interceptions against both the Rams and Chiefs, raising his season total to 11. He managed just 216 yards, completing 54.2% of his passes, in a 27-24 loss to the Rams, before also losing 27-24 to the Chiefs.
While winning MVP with a second team would have been an incredible feat, Brady has probably dug himself too deep of a hole to get out of this season. But like Roethlisberger, it’s apparent that Brady is affecting his team’s win total: after finishing 7-9 in 2019, Tampa Bay is 7-5 in 2020, with the chance to add as many as four extra victories.
With the bad out of the way, here are some reasons Brady is still in the mix, albeit lower in the rankings. 3,300 passing yards (8th in the NFL) and 28 passing touchdowns (4th) while leading the NFL’s 6th-highest scoring offense is impressive for any player, yet alone a 43-year-old with a new team.
8. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Quarter Season Rank: Unranked
Half Season Rank: 7
At the half season mark, I allowed Dalvin Cook in to my MVP Watch even though the Minnesota Vikings held a losing record. Now with four wins in five games, and Cook being a huge driving force in those victories, his inclusion feels even more deserved.
Cook sits second in the NFL with 1,250 rushing yards, but leads the league with 113.6 rushing yards per game. Cook’s 13 rushing scores also make him a league leader, with 35 catches and one receiving score serving as icing on the cake.
Cook had an MVP-type performance against the Lions in early November, with 206 rushing yards and two scores on the ground. I did let Cook fall to #8 this week and have him ranked behind Derrick Henry, after Cook led the Titans running back last week. This is due to Henry closing the gap in key categories while leading a superior team. But with a couple more dominant performances, Cook might be able to earn the title of most valuable running back in the NFL.
9. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Quarter Season Rank: Unranked
Half Season Rank: 4
I would really love to have Kyler Murray higher on this list. He’s an exciting young player, and his Hail Mary touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins against the Bills was easily one of the best moments of the entire season. Yet, without that one pass, the Arizona Cardinals would be 0-5 in their last five games. Even with it, 1-4 isn’t much better. Murray and the Cardinals have squandered a 5-2 start, and Murray’s MVP case has taken a huge hit as a result.
Looking at just his passing numbers, you might ask why Murray is on this list: 2,987 passing yards (16th in the NFL) and 22 passing touchdowns (11th in the NFL) along with a 66.9% completion rate have him looking like borderline Top 10 quarterback at best. So why is he the 7th-ranked quarterback on this list?
An uncanny ten touchdowns on the ground, along with 665 yards, make Murray one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the league. And even though the Cardinals have faltered in the season’s second half, they’ll still have a shot at the playoffs, and that’s all thanks to Murray’s efforts.
10. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Quarter Season Rank: Unranked
Half Season Rank: Unranked
While the 4-8 Houston Texans are all but out of the playoff hunt, Deshaun Watson has done some incredible things this season that earn him at least a Top 10 spot in the MVP Rankings.
Watson has put up an incredible 3,542 yards through the air, second only to Patrick Mahomes. He’s passed for 24 touchdowns, 9th in the NFL, while rushing for another three scores on the ground, and, like Allen, catching a touchdown pass because why not.
Watson’s win total, and quite frankly, his touchdown pass total, will hold him back from serious consideration for this award. But on a 4-8 Texans team, Watson has been one of the NFL’s top players, and has earned at the very least, a spot on Sak Sports Blog’s MVP Watch. That has to count for something right?
Honorable Mention: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Quarter Season Rank: Unranked
Half Season Rank: 9
Drew Brees was trending in the right direction at the half season mark, appearing in the #9 position as the New Orleans Saints held a 6-2 record. Unfortunately, Brees has played in just one game since ten due to injury. And while it may seem silly, the Saints doing well with Taysom Hill at quarterback actually hurts Brees’ stock a little.
Without playing more than 12 games this year, Brees will be hard-pressed for actual MVP votes. But when he was on the field this season, he was one of the best players in the NFL.
- 2020-21 NFL Predictions: Standings and Super Bowl Matchup
- NFL 2020 Midseason Predictions: Final Standings and Super Bowl Matchup
- NFL 2020 Picks: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
- NFL 2020 Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6, Post-Week 7, Post-Week 8, Post-Week 9, Post-Week 10, Post-Week 11, Post-Week 12, Post-Week 13
- NFL MVP Watch: Quarter Season, Half Season
- How Much is Saquon Barkley Worth to the Giants?
- Expectations for Odell Beckham Jr’s Second Year in Cleveland
- Quarterback Dilemma in Chicago: Nick Foles vs Mitch Trubisky
- 2019 Preseason Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, Super Bowl Matchup
- 2019 NFL Playoff Bracket Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
- Eli Manning is a Sure-Fire Hall of Famer
- Grading the Russell Westbrook-John Wall Trade
- Minnesota Timberwolves Select Anthony Edwards First Overall in the 2020 NBA Draft
- James Harden Wants Out of Houston, Prefers Brooklyn Nets
- “Run it Back:” Anthony Davis to Re-Sign with Los Angeles Lakers
- Who is 76ers Guard Shake Milton?
- 2019-20 NBA Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, MVP and Finals Matchup
- Re-Selecting the 2020 NBA All-Stars
- Top Five Duos in the NBA Bubble
- Track Review: Give No Fvk by Migos featuring Young Thug and Travis Scott
- Track Review: @ MEH by Playboi Carti
- Review: Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert
Travel and Hiking
- Stumptown, Rose City, “Weird”: My Portland 2020 Day Trip
- Hike: Mount Beacon Fire Tower Out-and-Back
- Hike: Breakneck Ridge Loop
Header Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports