Lamar Jackson now looks like NFL MVP, mainly because he’s not doing anything to lose it

The 2023 NFL season has been a down year for offenses across the board, creating uncertainty for who is going to win the MVP award — which has become the best quarterback on a great team award.

Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill was one of the non-quarterback players to consider this year, but he’s not likely to hit 2,000 receiving yards anymore and that was the type of production he would’ve needed to lock down serious consideration. The award is zeroed in on quarterbacks again, creating a logjam of MVP considerations because no one has run away with it.

Brock Purdy was the betting leader heading into Week 16, but he was buzzsawed by the Ravens’ defense, leading to Lamar Jackson being the current MVP frontrunner. Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott, Purdy and now Jackson have all been MVP favorites over the past month. That’s a lot of movement.

At this point, it seems like the MVP winner will be whoever screws up the least in the final few weeks of the season. Purdy’s four interceptions against Baltimore probably nullifies any chances that he had at nabbing a historic MVP award as the last pick in the 2022 draft. Jackson’s effort and unique skills helped the Ravens earn the huge road win and kept them on track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, which means he gets to be the betting favorite.

His overall statistical profile isn’t as dominant as it was when he won the MVP in the 2019 season, but his importance to the Ravens’ offense is incredibly apparent during the games. His presence allows the Ravens’ offensive line to survive being an imperfect unit in pass protection, he’s accurate with the football and he still has the trademark mobility that makes him one of the most exciting players in the game today.

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Those are factors that should be accounted for when assessing who should be the MVP of the league, even in a muddy year. The game on Monday night showed that Jackson and Purdy are not the same caliber of player, even though Purdy’s stats this year are otherworldly. Those quarterbacks who can be an engine for their offense through inopportune scenarios are typically the players whom voters have gravitated toward this year. Jackson is the singular force that’s allowed the Ravens to become one of the best offenses in the league. He operates on a plane that few quarterbacks do, which is why he’s on track to get the second MVP award of his career.

Winning usually is what locks quarterbacks in for the MVP award, which could pave the way for Bills quarterback Josh Allen to get back in the MVP race over the last two weeks of the regular season. The Bills looked absolutely cooked earlier this season, but they’re roaring back with a chance to win the AFC East if the Dolphins drop their final two games, including a Week 18 matchup of the division rivals.

But that would also require the Ravens winning their 13th game this weekend against Miami, essentially locking up the top seed for them and Jackson. Still, Allen may get serious MVP consideration if the Bills win out, win the AFC East again and maybe even get the No. 2 seed. Allen has accounted for 40 touchdowns this season (27 passing, 13 rushing) and has kept the Bills afloat as they found a new identity through a slew of early season injuries and an (unnecessary) offensive coordinator change.

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Jackson and Allen seem like the safest bets to get this award right now solely because the previous frontrunners (Hurts, Prescott, Purdy) have had too many gaffes in recent weeks to lock it down. Both of these players are worthy contenders for the award and whoever can go 2-0 with the fewest mistakes over the final two weeks of the season will probably take it home. The wind blows with the hot hand in 2023.

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