NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL MVP: Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes closes the gap

Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) yells towards the crowd before the start of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

• Looking good for Josh Allen: Allen is the best quarterback in the league right now, as he leads the league in EPA per pass play and PFF overall grade.

Patrick Mahomes stakes his claim: The Chiefs quarterback had the most efficient game of the 2022 season, generating 0.82 expected points added (EPA) per pass play against the league's best defense.

Jalen Hurts needs to keep winning: Hurts' odds became longer after Mahomes' sensational performance.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Week 7 wasn't the most exciting week for the 2022 NFL MVP race because Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts were on a bye. However, this gave Patrick Mahomes a chance to make up some ground, and he did so with a great showing against a stellar defense. Interestingly, Joe Burrow also catapulted himself into a position where he could be part of the conversation if the three favorites slip up in the coming weeks.

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 Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Week 7 stats: Bye week
Season to date: 90.8 PFF grade | 0.33 EPA per play

Allen was on a bye this past week, and the estimated odds of him winning the MVP Award slightly decreased because of how well Patrick Mahomes played.

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QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Week 7 stats: 87.4 PFF grade | 0.82 EPA per play
Season to date: 84.9 PFF grade | 0.29 EPA per play

The Chiefs quarterback did all that he possibly could have done to strengthen his MVP candidacy. Statistically, he had the most efficient game of the 2022 season, generating 0.82 expected points added (EPA) per passing play. Better yet, he did that against a defense that ranked first in EPA allowed per play going into the game.

It's rare for quarterbacks to truly dominate the best defense in the league, but exactly how rare is it? The answer is very rare. When looking at quarterback performances against league-leading defenses, Mahomes’ game on Sunday ranks first in total EPA among 134 such games. The difference between that and the second-best performance is four total points.

Funnily enough, Mahomes was also responsible for the second-best game — the divisional-round game against the Bills last year.

Having those kinds of games against top-tier defenses will naturally help him stake a claim for the award, even if Josh Allen still has a slight edge in our predictive rankings.

QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Week 7 stats: Bye week
Season to date: 81.5 PFF grade | 0.18 EPA per play

Hurts was on a bye week, so Mahomes' outstanding game made the Eagles quarterback's odds slightly longer.

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Defense adjustments

Just like last year, our rankings also adjust for defenses faced, as quarterbacks who face easier defenses are more likely to put up stats that will 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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