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2019-20 NFL MVP: Latest Predictions Following Week 17

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

El quarterback de los Ravens de Baltimore Lamar Jackson (8) durante una jugada del partido de la NFL que enfrentó a su equipo con los Jets de Nueva York, el 12 de diciembre de 2019, en Baltimore. (AP Foto/Gail Burton)
Gail Burton/Associated Press

One of the many achievements Lamar Jackson is expected to earn in the coming weeks is NFL Most Valuable Player. 

The second-year quarterback out of Louisville has put together one of the most impressive individual seasons in recent memory and led the Baltimore Ravens to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. 

The 2019 edition of the award will be going to the best player on the best team in football, and the rest of the candidates should be fighting for second-place votes.

A case could be made for a handful of offensive players to follow up Jackson on MVP ballots, including two non-quarterbacks who had historic campaigns. 

                   

MVP Predictions

1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore

Through his performance in Baltimore's Week 16 win over the Cleveland Browns, Jackson became the first player in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season, per NFL.com research

Once the ballots are counted, Jackson is expected to be the ninth player in history to win the Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP, per NFL Network's James Palmer: 

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

Only 8 players have won the Heisman and NFL MVP -Frank Sinkwich (1944) -Paul Hornung (1961) -Roger Staubach (1971) -O.J. Simpson (1973) -Earl Campbell (1978 and 1979) -Marcus Allen (1985) -Barry Sanders (1997) -Cam Newton (2015) Soon it’ll be 9. #Lamarjackson

He finished the regular season with eight touchdowns in wins over the Browns and New York Jets to secure home-field advantage for the first time in Ravens history.

Since Week 9, the dual-threat signal-caller has led John Harbaugh's team to four wins over playoff qualifiers. 

In those games, Jackson recorded 12 total touchdowns and was picked off on one occasion versus the Buffalo Bills. 

Additionally, he has been one of the cleanest quarterbacks in the NFL with six interceptions and two fumbles lost. 

Jackson's all-around efficiency is one of the many reasons why the Ravens are the favorite to win Super Bowl LIV, per Caesars. 

           

2. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans 

Winning MVP as a non-quarterback is a difficult task given the importance of the position, but New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas may be deserving of a first-place vote or two. 

Thomas set a new NFL single-season reception mark with 149 catches from two different quarterbacks: Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater. 

NFL @NFL

That’s the record-breaker. Michael Thomas makes his 144th reception, a new single-season record! Congrats, @Cantguardmike! 👏👏👏 #Saints 📺: FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/csMF3GLW6Z https://t.co/2nWICAgpLa

The NFL's leading receiver recorded personal bests in targets, receptions, receiving yards, yards per game and tied his personal best in touchdown catches. 

Since Week 7, the Ohio State product earned over 100 receiving yards in eight of 10 contests. 

On nine occasions, Thomas hauled in more than 10 receptions in a single game, including his record-breaking performance in Week 16 versus the Tennessee Titans. 

In Weeks 14-16, he put together a three-game scoring streak, which was his longest of the season, as the Saints chased a first-round bye. 

New Orleans was unsuccessful in achieving that, so that means Thomas could add to his resume with three standout performances to put Sean Payton's team in the Super Bowl. 

No matter how far the Saints go in the postseason, Thomas' campaign will go down in NFL history as one of the best ever for a wide receiver. 

                  

3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey became the third player in league history to earn 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. 

NFL @NFL

Christian McCaffrey is just the third player to reach 1,000 rushing & 1,000 receiving yards in a single season! #KeepPounding @cmc_22 📺: #NOvsCAR on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/HYJhHN7b2Y https://t.co/emyGnA2Qr3

He joined Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig on the elite list by earning 26 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards in Week 17 versus the Saints. 

In the first 10 weeks of the campaign, the Stanford product totaled six triple-digit rushing performances, and he finished with three scores in his last three outings. 

On the receiving end, he had a pair of triple-digit performances and brought in 10 catches in five games, with the last coming in Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons. 

McCaffrey was one of the few bright spots in a tumultuous year for the Panthers, who lost Cam Newton to injury and fired longtime head coach Ron Rivera. 

Despite the team's struggles, the third-year back increased his career highs in carries, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards.

Although the Panthers did not qualify for the postseason, McCaffrey still deserves a position high up on MVP ballots because of his remarkable season.

             

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference