Vegas has the odds to win NFL MVP as follows (as of 7/31): “Pat-Who” Mahomes and Joe Burrow at +650, followed by Josh Allen at +750, Justin Herbert at +900, and Jalen Hurts at +1000. Notice how only one of those names plays in the NFC.
The argument could be made that any player out of the NFC is a dark horse to win MVP. Some of them are still plausible names at least – unless you’re Vegas. Here are the four most likely players from the NFC who could steal the trophy and shock the football world.
Darkhorse NFC MVP Candidates for 2023
If ever there was a year for a running back to show that he’s not a system player or ‘only good because of his quarterback’, this is the year and the player. Hall of Fame Quarterback? Gone. Offensive coordinator? No one, including most Packer backers, could name him (it’s Adam Stenavich by the way). Open field to prove yourself? Never been wider. So, Jones has no one to blame but himself if he doesn’t have a breakout campaign.
If Green Bay makes the playoffs (and inevitably loses to the Niners), it will be almost solely because of Aaron Jones’ legs, no offense to Jordan Love‘s arm. In a division that has become up for grabs, Green Bay needs to forget a certain number and start cheering for #33. As Aaron Jones runs, so Green Bay goes. If he goes far, he has earned that trophy and brought hope back to Wisconsin. Exhale, cheeseheads.
Who has the most passing yards in Raiders history? It’s not Stabler or Plunkett. It’s Derek Carr. He also holds the Raiders record for most touchdowns as well. Only one problem: he doesn’t play for the silver and black anymore. There is absolutely no reason to think that Carr won’t thrive in New Orleans. Taysom Hill. Jimmy Graham. Alvin Kamara. Chris Olave. Michael Thomas. Those are his weapons, and he will be firing away.
After being dumped by the Raiders, do you really think that this guy needs any more motivation to ball out? He does have the luxury of being in a soft division so playing teams like the hapless Buccaneers and the listless Falcons twice will be a huge benefit. When your biggest obstacle is the Panthers and an unproven Bryce Young, things are looking pretty good from your seat in the Superdome.
Feel good story of the year? Carr leads the Saints to the NFC South title and they win a home playoff game. Ending of the story? Carr wins the MVP. Come on, you can’t not like that script. Carr is another player that you can’t really root against, and one that you shouldn’t snub or overlook.
When he’s on the field, he is arguably one of the most versatile backs in the game. Speed, agility, soft hands, and turns on a dime. He’s a high-end sports car on a team full of speed and a nasty defense to boot. McCaffrey is that ‘If Only’ guy. If only he can have a full season without a nagging injury. If only the offense utilized him more. If only he could prove the doubters wrong and earn that ‘elite’ status that some pundits crown him with.
McCaffrey certainly has the skill and experience to be that guy, he just needs to put together a complete campaign this season. Defenses already spend their time scheming specifically against all the ways that CMC can hurt them, imagine if he was firing on all cylinders and really got going. Literally any team could win the NFC West (yes, even the Cardinals) so the playmakers have to… guess what?! Make plays.
McCaffrey is just that: a playmaker. He can change the game and cause nightmares for defenses. If he puts it all together, he should take home the Most Valuable Playmaker award.
Best player on the worst team? No contest, Justin Fields wins an award he’d probably rather not have. It seems like the Bears have been a revolving door of offensive players that have flashes of brilliance and fizzle quicker than an Alka-Seltzer (which most Bears fans down after a Sunday afternoon). They can’t stay healthy or productive, and so Fields has to use his legs to literally move the ball down the… field.
Admittedly, Fields is quite the long shot to win an MVP, and until the Bears address the offensive needs and give Fields something – someone to throw the ball and hand off to – he’s going to be in for a long season. But he was last season as well and still found a way to look like an MVP in the making.
Give him a solid receiving core and a few designed running plays per game, and the Bears could become -gasp! Relevant again. It’s not the worst thing that could happen in football (that would Brady unretiring…again.) If this happens, he certainly is deserving of the award and it would be hard not to give him the nod.
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