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NFL MVP 2020: Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes remains the MVP favorite at the halfway point of the 2020 NFL season

Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass against Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns (53) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath of Week 9, it seems as though the public perception of the league's MVP has shifted away from Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and toward the direction of Kansas City‘s Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay‘s Aaron Rodgers. There is also some MVP talk surrounding Minnesota‘s Dalvin Cook and New OrleansAlvin Kamara, but we think a lot would have to happen in the final weeks for this to come to fruition.

As long as Wilson remains on track to throw 50 touchdowns and Rodgers and Mahomes outplay their MVP campaigns of 2011 and 2018, respectively, we still believe it’s a quarterback’s award. So, how exactly did last week’s play shake out our estimated odds?

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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Before we get to the rankings, here is a short overview of the methodology:

  • We trained a model to predict the winner of the MVP award at the conclusion of the regular season. The model is based on three regular-season parameters:
    1. The number of wins (and how that ranks across the league)
    2. Rank in the division
    3. Expected points added per play (and how that ranks across the league)
  • Since the model works with regular-season stats in hindsight, we need to simulate the remaining games of the season in order to feed the model. We invoke our weekly win-total simulations as well as a Bayesian Updating method to simulate each quarterback's EPA per play in 2020.
  • During the season, we update our beliefs on all quarterbacks with Bayesian Updating, incorporating up-to-date EPA per play and making adjustments based on both the PFF passing grade and the quality of defense faced.
  • Using these updated beliefs, we can simulate the EPA per play for the remainder of the season for each quarterback.
  • The number of wins and whether a QB wins his division is obtained from our weekly win-total simulations.

Defense adjustments

As we do every week, we will go through the strength of defenses first, explaining how we adjust for each defense before identifying the quarterbacks who played the most difficult schedule (and received the highest positive adjustments).

The recorded strength of each defense leads to the following adjustments for quarterbacks (a positive adjustment means a difficult schedule so far; a negative adjustment means an easy schedule).

The favorites

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Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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