NFL News & Analysis

Predicting the 2022 NFL MVP: Josh Allen's slip-up opens the door for Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass during overtime against the Tennessee Titans at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen and the Bills slip up: A bad game isn’t the end of the world for Allen’s MVP chances, but his margin for error has definitely become slimmer. As of now, Mahomes is the new favorite, but the contest remains close.

• Unparalleled efficiency: Patrick Mahomes' stats were good but not great, but sustaining above-average efficiency stats over more than 80 dropbacks — as he did in Week 9 — is almost unheard of.

Jalen Hurts hanging in there: As long the Eagles keep playing well, Hurts just needs a couple of poor performances from his competition.

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After leading our MVP race for the best part of the past month, Josh Allen and his MVP campaign took a step back when he lost to the New York Jets and suffered a potential injury.

Whether his elbow will rule him out or just limit him in future games, it certainly affects his chances going forward.

Every week throughout the season, we will rank quarterbacks by their estimated MVP chances. These chances are based on simulating the remaining season and looking at individual efficiency stats and team success. The full methodology can be found in our initial version of this year’s MVP rankings.

2022 NFL MVP Favorites

QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Week 9 stats: 78.7 PFF offense grade | 0.09 EPA per play
Season to date: 88.6 PFF offense grade | 0.25 EPA per play

Mahomes' Week 9 stats were good but not great, but we should note that the interception wasn’t his fault, and sustaining above-average efficiency stats over more than 80 dropbacks is generally unheard of.

Had you told me before the game that the Chiefs would barely get to 17 points in regulation, I would have feared for Mahomes' MVP candidacy. However, he put the team on his back on a day the Chiefs managed to contribute a mere 14 rushing yards to 500-plus yards gained on Mahomes’ throws and scrambles.

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QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Week 9 stats: 60.7 PFF offense grade | -0.16 EPA per play
Season to date: 88.5 PFF offense grade | 0.25 EPA per play

Last week, we highlighted the Bills offense and noted how incredibly consistent it had been through the first eight weeks, as Josh Allen & Co. simply hadn't had a bad game. Well, this changed this past week as they struggled on offense against the New York Jets.

A bad game isn’t the end of the world for Josh Allen’s MVP chances, but his margin for error has definitely become slimmer. As of now, Mahomes is the new favorite, but the contest remains close.

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QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Week 9 stats: 72.1 PFF offense grade | 0.19 EPA per play
Season to date: 85.3 PFF passing grade | 0.20 EPA per play

On the one hand, Allen’s injury could help Hurts’ MVP chances: If Allen can’t continue to play at an MVP level, Hurts only has to beat out Mahomes for the award. And with two more Chiefs losses, possibly combined with mediocre or bad performances from Mahomes, the Eagles QB could be in luck.

On the other hand, Allen's potential fall from the race would hurt Hurts in the sense that it should help Mahomes more. Here is how to think about it: The MVP votes may be split into two groups: Those who would give more weight to Hurts’ team success and those who would give more weight to Mahomes’ and Allen’s individual statistics.

As long as Mahomes and Allen are close and split votes between the latter group, Hurts can win the MVP even if the former group is smaller. If Allen falls out of the race due to injury, Hurts is less likely to win the MVP as long as Mahomes stats are better.

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Defense adjustments

Our rankings also adjust for defenses faced. Quarterbacks who face easier defenses are more likely to put up stats that will eventually help win them the MVP award.  We will update our pass-defense rankings throughout the season.

Using these rankings, this is the past strength of schedule of opposing passing defenses for quarterbacks:

This is the future strength of schedule of opposing passing defenses:

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