2022-23 NFL MVP: Updated Predictions Entering Divisional Round

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured Columnist IJanuary 17, 2023

2022-23 NFL MVP: Updated Predictions Entering Divisional Round

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs signals at the line of scrimmage against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of the game at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    Now that the NFL's Wild Card Weekend is over, observers may feel like they have a better read on who will win the AP Most Valuable Player award—even if the MVP goes to the best regular-season player and has nothing to do with the postseason.

    After witnessing the New York Giants upsetting the Minnesota Vikings (31-24), the Jacksonville Jaguars engineering a comeback for the ages over the Los Angeles Chargers (31-30) and the Dallas Cowboys finally beating Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31-14), the league is now gearing up for the divisional round. That also means the big reveal for the sport's highest individual honor is getting closer.

    Unlike last year, when wide receiver Cooper Kupp finished in the top three in the voting, the first-, second- and third-place finishers for 2022-23 will likely all be signal callers.

MVP: Patrick Mahomes

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    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) passes the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Las Vegas, NV. Chiefs defeated the Raiders 31-13. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)
    AP Photo/Jeff Lewis

    When it comes to this year's front-runner for the MVP, this Jay-Z line applies: "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't."

    For Mahomes, those numbers are not only impressive, they're just too loud to ignore.

    The former Texas Tech standout led the NFL in passing yards (5,250) and passing touchdowns (41).

    He also set the new single-season total yards record with 5.614. The record had stood since 2011 when Drew Brees tallied 5,562 yards.

    Mahomes also led Kansas City to a 14-3 record, which was tied for best in the NFL.

    But as impressive as the statistics were, it was actually how he did it more than what he did.

    Tyreke Hill took his talents to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, so there were a lot of questions as to how effective Mahomes would be without his favorite receiver to throw to.

    And those were valid doubts because Hill is a superstar and an electric playmaker.

    A team doesn't just lose a player of that caliber and not face challenges in its offensive schemes that next season. But thanks to Mahomes, the loss of Hill wasn't as catastrophic as expected.

    The Chiefs still controlled the AFC West and played like Super Bowl contenders all year.

    Mahomes had to battle against some capable and talented players to separate himself enough to win his second MVP, and he did just that.

    Go ahead and chalk it up now: Mahomes is the 2022-23 NFL Most Valuable Player.

Runner-Up: Josh Allen

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    Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) rolls out before throwing a touchdown pass against the Miami Dolphins during an NFL wild-card football game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Orchard Park, NY. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)
    AP Photo/Matt Durisko

    If it weren't for the numbers that Mahomes put up this season, Josh Allen would be this year's MVP.

    The Bills quarterback had another efficient year under center, throwing for 4,283 yards and 35 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.

    But where he shined the most was his improved leadership.

    Allen took a step forward this season as a signal-caller and was able to lead his team to a 13-3 record, which was third-best in the NFL.

    He showed that he can make the right throws, manage the game clock and make the big plays when needed.

    Buffalo's ugly 34-31 win over Miami won't count in the voters' mind, but it did showcase how Allen has been able to fight through mistakes and get a victory almost in spite of himself.

    That's the kind of skill that will bode well for the Bills as they try to navigate their way to the Super Bowl.

    Unfortunately, it won't be enough for Allen to take home the MVP trophy.

Third Place: Jalen Hurts

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    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) in action during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    AP Photo/Matt Rourke

    Mahomes has the numbers this season, but if Hurts hadn't missed two games with a shoulder injury, he might have been able to solidify his own case for MVP.

    Philadelphia put fear into the NFL by winning big, and it was all because of Hurts.

    The former Heisman candidate for Oklahoma found a way to affect the Eagles locker room in such a way that there's been a major culture change.

    A winning culture change.

    Philly ended the regular season tied for the best record in the league at 14-3 and finds itself with a legitimate chance to make it to the Super Bowl if Hurts is healthy and the team is firing on all cylinders.

    Not only did Hurts improve on his passing, but his ability to run has been electrifying to watch. Hurts had 13 rushing touchdowns and 760 yards on the ground to go along with 22 passing TDs and 3,701 passing yards.

    And with the way he's been able to connect with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, he's made the Eagles the No. 1 seed that all comers need to worry about.

    This isn't Hurts' year to take home the MVP, but this could only be the beginning of the excellence that fans should expect to see from this young quarterback moving forward.