Patrick Mahomes has won the NFL's Most Valuable Player award twice in his first six seasons as a starting quarterback, including a year ago when he captured it on the way to his second Super Bowl run. As a matter of fact, he also clinched his second Super Bowl MVP award.
For those who wanted an encore, not only for the Kansas City Chiefs but individually for Mahomes as well, the good news is that the quarterback is still in the hunt for the league's top individual player honors. The bad news is that he's been outplayed so far by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Through the season's midpoint, analysts from around NFL media are all predicting the same thing in a unified front: Lamar Jackson is the MVP of the National Football League to this point in the season.
There's plenty of meaningful football yet to be played to determine the league's MVP.
Over at the NFL's official site, a special panel came together to hand out a series of midseason awards for the 2023 season so far and Jackson was the MVP favorite with 10 total votes. One analyst wrote, "It's a down year overall for quarterbacks statistically, which leads me to believe voters will consider a more abstract factor: just how much stress Jackson puts on defenses."
In that same poll, Mahomes's vote total was close at seven overall but it also tied him with Jalen Hurts, showing just how crowded a final vote might be if no one is able to really separate himself from the pack.
Over at Pro Football Focus, they also graded Jackson as their highest-rated quarterback so far this season and gave him their midseason MVP trophy. They also mentioned that Josh Allen of the Bills and Mahomes "have cases too."
At CBS Sports, Jackson is also the favorite for their MVP award through 9 games. "Jackson is off to the best start of his career as a passer, and he's doing it for arguably the best team in the NFL."
At The Ringer, Nora Princiotti says the MVP is "pretty simple" and calls it for Jackson as well. She admits Mahomes will "always have an MVP case" but concludes "Jackson is executing a new offense brilliantly, and he’s the most important player to both the Ravens run game and passing game."
Overall it's hard to argue with the findings here. Jackson, who previously won the 2019 MVP race in a unanimous vote, is completing 71.5 percent of his passes for a Ravens team that sits at 7-2 in the midst of a brutal division. He's thrown 9 touchdowns and ran for 5 more with a shade under 2,000 passing yards and another 440 on the ground. In short, as he's aged, he's become just as dangerous while increasing his efficiency.
As for Mahomes, he's got better passing stats with 17 touchdowns thrown and over 2,400 passing yards, but he's also turned the ball over much more with 8 interceptions to only 3 for Jackson.
Given the tough schedules for both teams from here on out, the competition will have plenty to say between now and the end of the season.