The 2019 NFL MVP candidates, ranked each week

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Patriots QB Tom Brady, and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson superimposed upon a blue background.

Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson are likely contenders for the 2019 NFL MVP Award.

Is anyone going to be able to dethrone Patrick Mahomes as NFL MVP?

A decade ago, Peyton Manning won the 2009 NFL MVP Award with 33 touchdown passes, 16 interceptions, and a 99.9 passer rating. Those numbers probably wouldn’t even warrant a Pro Bowl nod in 2019, let alone the league’s top honor.

It takes gaudy stats to stand out in the NFL of today.

Patrick Mahomes was happy to oblige in 2018 with 5,097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns. Only seven players have ever topped 5,000 passing yards, and Mahomes joined Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the only three to ever reach 50 passing touchdowns.

Who will step up to the plate in 2019? There’s no shortage of contenders.

With several NFL players — mostly quarterbacks — racking up monster numbers, we’ll keep track of the MVP race as it plays out week by week. The current favorites are right here at the top:

Week 13: Nothing changed. It’s still the Lamar Jackson show

Russell Wilson had a better passing performance, but not enough to chip away at Lamar Jackson’s lead.

The frontrunner:
Lamar Jackson

He only threw for 105 yards and one touchdown against the 49ers. He also lost a fumble for the first time all season. But Jackson also had 101 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The lasting image of the game will be when Jackson juked a 49ers defender out of his shoes.

Don’t forget about:
Russell Wilson

Wilson didn’t have a perfect week. He threw a wacky, batted interception that was returned for a touchdown by the Vikings and took a bad sack late in the game that almost proved costly. He still led Seattle to 37 points, though. Wilson threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns, giving him sole possession of the NFL passing touchdown lead through 13 weeks.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Shaquil Barrett

He’s slowed from his outrageous pace early in the season, but through 13 weeks the Buccaneers pass rusher is still the NFL leader with 14.5 sacks. In his latest game, he recorded two sacks against the Jaguars and forced a fumble that was scooped up and returned for a touchdown. That play also put him in the NFL lead in forced fumbles.

Week 12: The race is close to over

Lamar Jackson is still the frontrunner and there’s only one player who’s even in the same stratosphere now.

The frontrunner:
Lamar Jackson

The Ravens’ dual-threat quarterback was the favorite entering the week and solidified his case with a domination of the Rams. In a Monday Night Football showcase, Jackson threw five touchdown passes with no interceptions, rushed for 95 yards, and made a blowout win look easy. Even the crowd in Los Angeles was chanting MVP before the rout was over.

Don’t forget about:
Russell Wilson

The performance put a fair amount of distance between Jackson and Wilson. While the Seahawks got a win over the Eagles, Wilson threw just one touchdown with one interception. He’s still tied with Jackson as the NFL leader in touchdown passes and is slightly ahead in passer rating, but that won’t be enough unless Jackson starts to slip up.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Michael Thomas

The Saints wide receiver caught 10 passes against the Panthers in Week 12, his sixth double-digit reception season of 2019. He won’t win MVP, but Thomas could wind up with the most receptions a receiver has ever had in a single season.

Week 11: Lamar Jackson is now the man to beat

Lamar Jackson went off in a big game during Russell Wilson’s bye week and made himself the new favorite.

The frontrunners:
Lamar Jackson; Russell Wilson

In a crucial matchup between two AFC contenders, Jackson destroyed the Texans. He passed for 222 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also added 86 rushing yards on only nine attempts. With Wilson on bye, Jackson surged to the top spot and the performance of the Ravens defense knocked Deshaun Watson from the top tier.

Don’t forget about:
Dak Prescott; Deshaun Watson; Patrick Mahomes

The top tier is going to be hard to catch. Prescott has carried the Cowboys as of late and is the likeliest to jump up to MVP contention, but his nine interceptions are still holding him back just a bit. It also wasn’t a good week for Watson and Mahomes.

Watson had one of the worst games of his career with zero touchdowns, an interception, and a fumble. Mahomes also threw an interception, although he had a touchdown, 182 passing yards, and 60 rushing yards in a win.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Christian McCaffrey

Any hope of keeping up with the quarterbacks is essentially over now. He’s still having a ridiculous season with over 150 yards of offense per game and 14 total touchdowns, but the Panthers aren’t winning and he had a rough outing against the Falcons.

Week 10: Welcome back to the top, Lamar Jackson

It may be a three-player race at this point with Lamar Jackson surging into the race with Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson.

The frontrunners:
Russell Wilson; Deshaun Watson; Lamar Jackson

It’s hard to rank these three quarterbacks, but they appear to be the clear top tier at this point. Wilson faced the toughest test any quarterback could have — a road game in San Francisco — and left with a respectable stat line. He was beat up, fumbled once, and completed 24 of his 34 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Most importantly, he got an overtime win.

But the star of the week was Jackson, who destroyed the Bengals with 223 passing yards and three touchdowns on only 17 pass attempts. His best play, though, was a 47-yard rushing touchdown that included a spin move straight out of a video game. He now has a 101.7 passer rating and averages 78 rushing yards per game.

Watson had the week off, but is still top five in completion percentage, passing touchdowns, and passer rating.

Don’t forget about:
Christian McCaffrey; Patrick Mahomes

McCaffrey had 108 rushing yards against the Packers, but the lasting image from his game in Green Bay will be him getting stuffed at the goal line. Fair or not, it’s tough to award most valuable player to someone who has been trusted twice to gain a couple yards to win a game and couldn’t get in the end zone either time.

The return of Mahomes from a knee injury was impressive. He threw for 446 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a losing effort against the Titans. Mahomes has some catching up to do, but if anyone’s capable, it’s the 2018 MVP.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Aaron Jones

The Packers running back is tied with McCaffrey for the rushing and receiving touchdown lead at 14. He scored all three of the Packers’ touchdowns against Carolina and has 943 yards from scrimmage through 10 games.

Week 9: Christian McCaffrey is a frontrunner

Russell Wilson solidified his lead, but Christian McCaffrey has a chance to be the first non-quarterback MVP in seven years.

The frontrunners:
Russell Wilson; Christian McCaffrey; Deshaun Watson

A five-touchdown day with no interceptions certainly keeps Wilson at the top. His 118.2 passer rating isn’t far from the single season record of 122.5 and he’s on pace to finish the year with 39 touchdowns and two interceptions.

McCaffrey’s coming, though. He had 146 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown against the Titans in Week 9. He’s now on pace for 2,488 yards from scrimmage and 26 total touchdowns.

Watson was an escape artist against the Jaguars and finished with two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was an incredible performance, but he slips to third only because the two ahead of him had ridiculous days.

Don’t forget about:
Lamar Jackson; Patrick Mahomes

Baltimore was chanting MVP after Jackson ran for two touchdowns and threw one more against the previously undefeated Patriots. He has a strong case, but it’ll be interesting to see how voters handle a quarterback who’s adding incredible rushing stats to average passing stats.

Mahomes is falling behind due to his injury, but he’s still averaging 311.4 passing yards per game with a 113.1 passer rating. He could easily make up the deficit if he returns and hits the ground running.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Mike Evans

The Buccaneers receiver is on pace to finish the year with 1,684 yards and 14 touchdowns. If the second half of his year is even a little better than the first half, he could finish with a top 10 season all-time in both categories.

Week 8: Deshaun Watson had an MVP moment

While Russell Wilson is still the leader, Deshaun Watson’s signature moment will stick in minds for a long time.

The frontrunners:
Russell Wilson; Deshaun Watson; Patrick Mahomes

Wilson’s both the touchdown leader with 17 and the passer rating leader at 115.5. He didn’t have a prolific day against the Falcons, finishing with 182 passing yards, but still threw two touchdown passes.

Watson made up some ground with 279 yards and three touchdowns, but the real win for the Texans quarterback was when he threw a game-winning touchdown after getting KICKED IN THE FACE! It’s a moment that’ll still come to mind when MVP ballots are cast at the end of the season.

Don’t forget about:
Christian McCaffrey; Aaron Rodgers; Lamar Jackson; Dak Prescott

McCaffrey’s now at 1,078 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns through only seven games. He has a real shot at challenging Chris Johnson’s single-season scrimmage yards record of 2,509.

Eight touchdowns, no interceptions, and 734 yards in the last two weeks puts Rodgers in the mix. Jackson and Prescott both had the week off, but their numbers still warrant inclusion on the list.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Michael Thomas

Drew Brees or Teddy Bridgewater, it doesn’t matter. Thomas is averaging an NFL-best 109.4 receiving yards per game and already has 73 receptions through eight games. He’s on pace to break the single-season receptions record and have a top 10 all-time season in receiving yards.

Week 7: A Patrick Mahomes injury makes things complicated

The 2018 MVP is expected to miss some time due to a dislocated kneecap.

The frontrunners:
Russell Wilson; Patrick Mahomes; Deshaun Watson

The Seahawks struggled against the Ravens in Week 7 and Wilson threw his first interception of the year. Still, he’s the favorite with 15 passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. Mahomes is on his tail for now, but the longer he’s out with a knee injury, the more difficult it’ll be for him to make up ground.

Watson had another two-interception game, but he was screwed out of a touchdown by officials and still threw for more than 300 yards against the Colts.

Don’t forget about:
Christian McCaffrey; Lamar Jackson; Dak Prescott

McCaffrey had a bye this week, leaving room for others to catch up. Jackson was one of those players, even though his passing stats haven’t caught back to his torrid pace early in the year. The Ravens quarterback now has 576 rushing yards — more than all but five running backs.

Prescott’s been a tough one to figure out in 2019. While the Cowboys went on a three-game slide, he’s still the NFL leader in Total QBR and he’s one of four players averaging more than 300 passing yards per game.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Dalvin Cook

The Vikings running back was here in the first few weeks of the season, but a couple ho hum days dropped him from the ranks. Another 142 yards in Week 7 put him back over the 100 yards per game average, though. He now leads the NFL in rushing again and had a league-best eight rushing touchdowns too.

Week 6: Russell Wilson’s lead increased

The gap is start to widen between the Seahawks quarterback and the field.

The frontrunners:
Russell Wilson; Patrick Mahomes; Deshaun Watson

Wilson added another two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and a game-winning drive to his MVP résumé in Week 6. He’s the leader in passing rating by a good margin now and the only quarterback who’s started every game and hasn’t yet thrown an interception.

The Mahomes-Watson duel went in the Texans’ favor, but it wasn’t a statistically great day for either passer. While Mahomes had three touchdowns, he also threw his first interception of the year and completed just 54.3% of his passes. Watson came out victorious, but threw one touchdown and two interceptions. They’re still the tier below Wilson, though.

Don’t forget about:
Christian McCaffrey; Dak Prescott

One is a running back and one’s on a three-game losing streak. They both have an uphill climb to be MVP, it’s just too early to count them out, though.

McCaffrey’s yardage was held in check, but he still scored two touchdowns. He’s now the NFL leader in rushing yards, yards from scrimmage, and touchdowns.

While Prescott hasn’t been winning, he’s still been an effective quarterback and he’s the league leader in ESPN’s Total QBR. He’s falling fast, but he’s just barely hanging on still.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Chris Godwin

In three games between Weeks 4 and 6, Godwin caught 29 passes for 448 yards and four touchdowns. Now the Buccaneers receiver leads the NFL in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He’s on pace for 1,765 yards, which would be the sixth most ever in a season.

Week 5: It’s Russell Wilson time

Another slow day for Mahomes opened the door for a new MVP leader.

The frontrunners:
Russell Wilson; Patrick Mahomes; Deshaun Watson

Wilson’s four-touchdown day against the Rams was his best of the 2019 season so far, but not by much. He’s had a passer rating above 100 in all five games and now leads the league in both rating and touchdowns. With Mahomes slowing down, Wilson is sitting in the top spot now.

The 13 points scored by the Chiefs in Week 5 was the first time the team has been held under 25 points in the Mahomes era. He still managed 321 yards and one touchdown, but that’s just one touchdown in two weeks. Mahomes is certainly in the running, but he’ll need to pick up the pace.

Watson wasn’t that far off the list of candidates, but his surge to a frontrunner came from a 426-yard and five-touchdown performance against the Falcons. He now has the second most touchdown passes and second best passer rating in the NFL.

Don’t forget about:
Dak Prescott; Gardner Minshew

Losses for the Cowboys and Jaguars hurt both players’ case. While Prescott threw three interceptions, he’s still the leader in Total QBR (whatever that means). Minshew threw for 374 yards and two touchdowns, but he’s the only one on this list leading a team with a losing record.

Jackson’s three-interception day and Brissett’s 151-yard performance dropped these two from the MVP race ranks for now.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Christian McCaffrey

The Panthers running back essentially beat the Jaguars on his own with 237 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. He’s the NFL leader in rushing yards and is pacing for an NFL-record 2,771 yards from scrimmage.

Week 4: Even after a slow day, Mahomes is still the favorite

Mahomes didn’t throw a touchdown, but nobody else seized the opportunity to pass him.

The frontrunners:
Patrick Mahomes; Russell Wilson; Lamar Jackson

Mahomes didn’t have a horrible day in Week 4, but a 34-30 win over the Lions was just the third start of his career that ended without a touchdown pass. Still, he’s the NFL leader in passing yards, touchdowns, and passer rating so Mahomes is clearly the man to catch.

Wilson is the runner up for now after a mistake-free, one-touchdown day against the Cardinals. Jackson isn’t far behind, but fell to third after throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions in a loss to the Browns.

Dak Prescott and Tom Brady fell from this tier after each had a rough week. Brady got a win but recorded the worst passer rating he’s had in any game since 2006. Prescott struggled to lead the Cowboys offense to success in a loss to the Saints and finished with no touchdowns and one interception.

Don’t forget about:
Jacoby Brissett; Dak Prescott; Gardner Minshew

Prescott still has nine touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 113.7 passer rating. Even if his poor outing in Week 4 knocks him from the list of frontrunners, he still isn’t that far off.

Brissett’s still in this tier too after throwing three touchdowns and an interception in a loss to the Raiders. Brissett, Mahomes, and Jackson are in a three-way tie for the touchdown pass lead.

The newcomer is Minshew, a rookie quarterback who just keeps making magic for the Jaguars. He threw two touchdowns and no interceptions in a come-from-behind win over the Broncos.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Shaquil Barrett; Christian McCaffrey

It’s the same two names as last week in this tier.

Barrett became the first player to ever record nine sacks four games into a season. McCaffrey became the league leader in rushing yards and has 218 receiving yards to boot.

Week 3: Don’t count out Touchdown Tom

There’s a clear leader with a tier of contenders nipping at his heels.

The frontrunners:
Patrick Mahomes; Lamar Jackson; Tom Brady; Russell Wilson; Dak Prescott

Mahomes is the reigning MVP and he’s well in line to repeat with 1,195 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and no interceptions through three weeks. That puts him on pace for 53 touchdown passes and the NFL’s first ever 6,000-yard season.

The tier behind Mahomes is crowded. Brady, Jackson, and Wilson all have seven touchdowns with no interceptions. Prescott has nine touchdowns with two interceptions.

Those numbers are all pretty similar and should be grouped together. Brady and Wilson were a tier lower last week, but made up that ground by throwing a couple touchdowns each. Jackson didn’t throw a touchdown in Week 3, but his rushing stats make him the No. 2 contender after Mahomes.

Don’t forget about:
Jacoby Brissett; Dalvin Cook

Both Brissett and Cook are newcomers to this spot. Brissett now has seven touchdowns and just one interception as the Colts’ starter after a big game against the Falcons in Week 3.

Cook was in the non-QB tier last week, but at this point he’s more than just that. The Vikings running back has 375 yards and four touchdowns through three weeks. That’s a 2,000-yard and 21-touchdown pace.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Shaquil Barrett; Christian McCaffrey

The Buccaneers have a sack machine in Barrett. He’s now at eight after recording four in Week 3. The only other player in NFL history to have that many sacks three games into the season was Mark Gastineau in 1984. He finished that season with a then-record 22 sacks.

McCaffrey is just four yards behind Cook in yards from scrimmage and just one touchdown behind the Vikings running back. The Panthers running back can climb even higher if he has more games like his 188-yard performance in Week 3.

Week 2: Mahomes is close, but Jackson’s still No. 1

There was some shuffling, but not much changed in the far-too-early MVP race.

The frontrunners:
Lamar Jackson; Patrick Mahomes; Dak Prescott

The top tier remains the same, although Mahomes edged Prescott for No. 2 and is just barely trailing Jackson. Both Jackson and Mahomes have seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Mahomes has the edge in passing yards (821 to 596), but Jackson is still the favorite thanks to 120 rushing yards tallied in a 23-17 win against the Cardinals.

Prescott is third for the crime of throwing just one interception against Washington. Still, he has 674 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and a ridiculous 82.3 completion percentage, so he remains a legitimate contender.

Don’t forget about:
Russell Wilson; Tom Brady

Wilson was on the outside looking in after Week 1, but three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Steelers has him in the mix now. Wilson has five touchdowns and a 134.5 passer rating through two weeks.

Brady also has five touchdowns and no interceptions, though he’s just a little bit behind with a still-very-excellent 124.8 passer rating.

Marcus Mariota’s lackluster 154 yards in a 19-17 loss to the Colts drops him from the list of current contenders.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Dalvin Cook

No player has more rushing yards (265) or touchdowns (3) than Cook. He’s averaging 132.5 yards per game for the Vikings, which would be a 2,120-yard season if the pace held through the remainder of the schedule.

Week 1: Jackson jumps out the gates for an early lead

At the top of the heap in the first weekend of the season were a trio of young quarterbacks who shined in blowout wins.

The frontrunners:
Lamar Jackson; Dak Prescott; Patrick Mahomes

Jackson threw five touchdown passes against the Dolphinsundoubtedly the worst team in the NFL — but nobody’s going to care who the touchdowns came against when the season ends. While both Jackson and Prescott finished Week 1 with a perfect passer rating, the Ravens quarterback has the slight edge because Prescott only threw four touchdowns against the Giants.

Not too far behind is the reigning MVP, Mahomes. He threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars, a team with a defense that’s actually good.

Don’t forget about:
Tom Brady; Marcus Mariota

Perhaps you’ve heard of Brady? The three-time MVP is 42 now, but still looked pretty damn good when he threw for 341 yards with three touchdowns in a 33-3 beatdown of the Steelers.

Mariota also had three touchdowns in Week 1 and did it in a 43-13 win over the Browns. If he had more than 248 passing yards — 75 of which came on a Derrick Henry screen pass — he’d be up in the top group.

Non-QB who won’t win, but deserves consideration anyway:
Sammy Watkins

A receiver has never been named the NFL MVP before, and Watkins won’t get it this year. But 198 receiving yards and three touchdowns is one helluva week for the Chiefs receiver, who ate the Jaguars secondary alive to start his season.

Read more at SB Nation.

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