Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Aaron Rodgers makes NFL MVP debate with Patrick Mahomes a real toss-up

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In any other year, Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown and intercept totals would end the NFL MVP discussion before it could begin.

The Packers quarterback now has 44 touchdowns and five interceptions – passing totals close to those he featured in his 2011 and 2014 MVP seasons. In 2020, that’s enough to start a conversation with the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes , who is attempting to win the award for the second time in three seasons.

PACKERS-TITANS: Rodgers and Adams lead the Green Bay rout

These two quarterbacks have distanced themselves from other contenders such as the Bills ‘Josh Allen and the Titans’ Derrick Henry, who will also be in the mix when the vote takes place.

It’s really a choice between Rodgers and Mahomes.

Rodgers made this debate more interesting in a 40-14 Packers victory over Henry and the Titans in “Sunday Night Football” in Week 16. Rodgers had 231 yards and four touchdowns – an interception in the fourth quarter was the only flaw of another awesome bonus. -performance time. Green Bay are one home advantage and 13-3 straight seasons win in the NFC.

Rodgers has more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than Mahomes, who is 38 and 6, respectively. The difference, of course, is that Mahomes has a substantial advantage in footage (4,740 vs. 4,059). The Chiefs are 14-1 and are also looking for back-to-back Super Bowl championships.

Mahomes is currently the best player on the best team. Rodgers closed the gap with five straight wins. Quarterbacks could settle this debate during Super Bowl 55, but the MVP race will be settled before then.

Rodgers made a legitimate cause for the regular season award.

MORE: Mahomes intended for catcher on Chiefs’ failed turn play

Watch his previous MVP seasons. In 2011, Rodgers led the Packers to a 15-1 record the year after winning Super Bowl 45. He had 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions. Green Bay fell apart with a playoff loss to the Giants.

In 2014, Rodgers led Green Bay to a 12-4 record with 4,381 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Packers failed the Super Bowl due to a 28-22 loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.

Rodgers was the best player in the NFL those seasons, and the MVP vote (on finalists Drew Brees in 2011 and JJ Watt in 2014) wasn’t near either.

Mahomes is the favorite in 2020, and he brings all the same elements as Rodgers – including star power and the “wow” factor. There’s a reason these two are co-stars in the State Farm commercials. Mahomes mastered Andy Reid’s system in his third year as a starter.

Rodgers took a leap forward in his second season in Matt LaFleur’s system. Last year, he produced 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns and four interceptions. The biggest difference could be the completion percentage – Rodgers is at 70.3% this year. He’s never finished more than 70% in a single season since taking over from Brett Favre as a starter in 2008.

Favre, of course, won three consecutive MVP awards from 1995 to 1997. The only other players with three or more are Peyton Manning, who has five, and Tom Brady, Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas with three apiece. Rodgers has been trying to join this class since taking second place in 2014, and this is his best chance to do so.

Favre also shared the award with Barry Sanders of the Lions in 1997 – the last time there were any co-MVPs. Could it be an alternative with Rodgers and Mahomes this year?

It could be the best case scenario for Rodgers.

Rodgers’ success is taken for granted at this point, but the reality is he’s arguably having his best season at 37. If it comes down to who’s most valuable to their franchise, then that’s another statistical draw with Mahomes.

The Chiefs lead the NFL with 425.8 yards per game; the Packers are at 393.9 yards per game. Green Bay is now averaging 31.5 points per game, a touch superior to Kansas City at 30.2. The gap is closer than it looks, and these two dynamic quarterbacks have one week left to come up with a closing argument.

In any other year the matter would be closed. But it’s 2020.

Anything can happen during week 17.


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