After the Eagles dismantled the Titans on Dec. 4, coach Nick Sirianni was asked about Jalen Hurts’ prospects for the league’s MVP award.
“With four weeks left in the season, Jalen may not himself want to talk about this, but do you think … ,” a reporter asked Sirianni.
Sirianni interrupted the reporter. “I don’t want to talk about it, either,” he said with a laugh. “What are you guys asking me about?”
“Do you see him as a legitimate MVP candidate [compared] with other guys in the league?” the reporter asked.
“That’s something we have no control over,” Sirianni said. “You want your players to be acknowledged for the successes that they’re having …
“I love where he is but that MVP stuff is for you guys to decide … and he’s probably going to say the same thing to you.”
Hurts, a team-first guy, doesn’t talk about his MVP chances, either. He’s all-business in news conferences, intense and focused. After all, there’s another game coming up.
Just because the coach and quarterback won’t discuss Hurts’ growing MVP chances, that doesn’t mean the NFL and sportsbooks aren’t talking about it.
Jalen Hurts MVP Odds
Hurts moved into the betting favorite to win the MVP on Monday, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, surpassing Patrick Mahomes. The odds:
- Hurts: minus-115
- Mahomes: plus-150
- Joe Burrow: plus-750
Hurts should be the favorite. The Eagles are an NFL-best 12-1. The Eagles have scored at least 29 points in six of their last seven games.
The Eagles lead the NFL in points scored, averaging 29.7 per game. Mahomes’ Chiefs are second at 29.5. Burrow’s Bengals are seventh at 25.8.
Another factor to consider: Projections for the Chiefs and Bengals were much higher than for the Eagles coming into the season.
Hurts’ Eagles were 9-8 last season, then lost in the wild card game to Tampa Bay. The Bengals made it to the Super Bowl, after defeating the Chiefs in overtime in the AFC title game.
NFL MVP STAT COMPARISON
- Record: 12-1
- Completion percentage: 68 percent
- Passing yards: 3,157
- Passing touchdowns: 22
- Yards per attempt: 8.1
- Interceptions: 3
- Passer rating: 108.4
- Rushing yards: 686
- Rushing touchdowns: 10
- Record: 10-3
- Completion percentage: 65.8 percent
- Passing yards: 4,160
- Passing touchdowns: 33
- Yards per attempt: 8.1
- Interceptions: 11
- Passer rating: 103.4
- Rushing yards: 280
- Rushing touchdowns: 2
- Record: 9-4
- Completion percentage: 68.1 percent
- Passing yards: 3,685
- Passing touchdowns: 27
- Yards per attempt: 7.9
- Interceptions: 9
- Passer rating: 102.4
- Rushing yards: 234
- Rushing touchdowns: 5
Hurts has a huge advantage in fewest interceptions thrown, rushing yards gained and rushing touchdowns. He matches up well in the other categories. An Eagle hasn’t won the league MVP since quarterback Norm Van Brocklin in 1960, the year the Eagles won the NFL championship.
THE CASE FOR HURTS
The Eagles have a tremendous offensive line but Hurts is the individual who makes things click. Hurts has the ball in his hands every play, so his decision-making has to be advanced and precise.
Hurts’ running prowess must be big part of the MVP equation. That unique skill makes the Eagles’ offense unpredictable and difficult to contain.
He also has evolved into one of the league’s most effective pocket passers.
Imagine, Hurts has thrown 388 passes with three interceptions — and two of the picks hit the receiver in the hands.
Hurts’ season has been MVP-quality. The Eagles have greatly surpassed every expectation. That’s because of their improved defense and Hurts-led offense.
THE CASE FOR MAHOMES
Mahomes is spectacular — and fun to watch. He won the MVP in 2018. He pulls off scrambling plays and makes awkward, underhanded and sometimes left-handed passes look like he had planned them all along.
Mahomes always seems a play away from something legendary happening. When he drove the Chiefs down the field with 13 seconds to play to tie the Bills in the divisional game last year, that might have been the greatest sequence of plays in league history.
Mahomes didn’t help himself Sunday with three interceptions against a bad Broncos team.
THE CASE FOR BURROW
Burrow makes plays behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. He has been sacked 35 times and plays under pressure nearly every time he drops back.
When the Bengals got off to an 0-2 start, folks wondered if there were a Super Bowl losers’ hangover in play.
But Burrow rallied Cincinnati, now tied with the Ravens atop the AFC North. Cincy went from a struggling team to one nobody wants to face in the playoffs. That’s what MVP candidates do.
THE WINNER IS …
Picking an MVP shouldn’t be a hasty examination of statistics. Selectors should look at field command, leadership, team success, plus the raw numbers. Maybe it’s a feel, too. Who “feels” like the MVP over a 17-game season.
If Hurts weren’t playing this well, Mahomes and Burrow would be excellent MVP candidates. But Hurts has earned the universal praise of former players and coaches, plus national media types touting his candidacy.
The selection process shouldn’t be difficult. Hurts checks every box, his stats are comparable to the other candidates and his intangibles are well known and dynamic.
The Eagles are the league’s best regular-season team, driven by a 24-year-old quarterback having a historic season.
When you combine the numbers, the expectations exceeded and what you see him accomplishing every week on the field, Jalen Hurts should win the MVP award.
The voting shouldn’t even be close.