Heading into the 2022 season, Josh Allen was the betting favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook to take home the NFL MVP award at +700. After his scorching start to the season leading the Buffalo Bills to a 5-1 start and compiling 1,980 passing yards (completing 67% of his passes), with 17 touchdowns, four interceptions, another 257 rushing yards and two more touchdowns on the ground, it’s easy to see why his odds have moved to +130 to win the award.
While Allen and company were off due to the team’s bye, I wanted to see how Buffalo’s signal caller compared to previous MVP winners through their first six games. Allen has never won the award, but did finish second in 2020. Aaron Rodgers (twice), Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady are the last five players to win the award. How does he stack up to the past winners? Let’s find out.
Tom Brady (2017 MVP)
At 40 years and six months old, Brady became not only the oldest MVP in the history of the NFL, but of all four major North American Sports Leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL). His stats through six games of 2017 were 1,959 passing yards (completing 66% of his passes), with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions. Brady led his team to a 4-2 start, and a +75 point differential. He carried this success all the way to the Super Bowl, but fell short, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Patrick Mahomes (2018 MVP)
Following the oldest MVP ever, 2018 gave us the youngest MVP since Dan Marino won the award in 1984. Mahomes lit the NFL on fire during his first year as the starter for the Kansas City Chiefs, winning 12 games and posting absurd stats. Through his first six games, Mahomes had 1,865 yards passing (completing 64% of his passes), while throwing for 18 touchdowns and four interceptions. He closed the season winning nine of 10 games, taking the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game, where he lost to Brady in overtime.
Lamar Jackson (2019 MVP)
In 2019, Jackson had one of the most unique seasons ever seen by an NFL quarterback. Starting the season on an 11-game win streak, Jackson’s ability to pass and run baffled even the best defensive coordinators in the league. During his first six games, Jackson had 1,507 yards through the air (completing 65% of his passes), with 11 TD passes. Jackson rushed for an additional 460 yards and two touchdowns. His eye-popping numbers weren’t enough to elevate the Baltimore Ravens all that far in the postseason, however, as they fell to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round.
Aaron Rodgers (2020, 2021 MVP)
Rodgers was the first player to win back-to-back MVP awards since Peyton Manning did it with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008 and 2009. In 2020, Rodgers threw for 48 TD passes, the most in a season during his career. He also set career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt. Through his first six games, Rodgers went 5-1, with 1,657 yards (completing 66% of his passes), throwing 17 touchdowns to two interceptions.
His fourth MVP in 2021 came after posting 13 games with two-plus passing touchdowns and no interceptions, leading the Green Bay Packers to a 13-3 record. Through six games, Rodgers again went 5-1 with 1,436 yards (completing 67% of his passes), throwing 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. Despite back-to-back MVPs, Rodgers fell short in the playoffs.
Not since Kurt Warner in 1999 has the NFL MVP won the Super Bowl.
What This Means for Josh Allen
The NFL is clearly in transition at the quarterback position. Recent MVP winners Brady and Rodgers, the last of the old guard, have struggled with their teams this year. Week 7 saw Brady lose to a rebuilding Carolina Panthers squad, while Rodgers and the Packers lost to backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke and the Washington Commanders. They look old, slow, and are lagging behind the top of the league with identical 3-4 records. An MVP coronation looks to be off the table for these two in 2022.
Mahomes and Jackson are having great seasons in their own right. What makes Allen’s case better than these two are the head-to-head wins Buffalo has notched over Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs and Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens. Allen has the wins, and if he keeps up his pace, he’d turn in a historic season. At his current pace, Allen would finish the season with 5,610 passing yards, 48 TDs, 11 interceptions, and a 109.1 quarterback rating. His rushing numbers on top of his passing numbers are eye-popping: he’s on pace for 728 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this type of season would be superior to any of the previous MVPs talked about above. Knock on wood, if Allen stays healthy, the award might be his to lose.