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Buffalo Bulletin: Josh Allen and The MVP Race

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Josh Allen is officially back in the thick of the race to become the 2022 NFL MVP. After an elbow injury and a few bad mistakes derailed what could have been an unstoppable season for Josh, he’s once again amongst the NFL’s elites competing for the league’s most prestigious individual award. But, our beloved Buffalo Bills quarterback isn’t the favourite just yet. The race is one of the closest in recent memory, and it will come down to the wire.

Josh Allen MVP Buffalo Bills Patriots
AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Other Candidates

Currently, there are three other players with reasonable expectations to compete for the MVP. It’s a quarterback game as every MVP since 2012 has played that most critical position, so it’s expected that the leading candidates would all play it too. Sorry Justin Jefferson, this season is incredible but the best you can do is Offensive Player of the Year. (You will absolutely get it.)

As far as statistics go, the race is very close. The three main contributors to an MVP’s stat-line are ball security, scoring, and yardage. How often do they score, how much of their offense is them moving the ball, and do they make those critical mistakes?

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly of all, is the story. The MVP is not an objective award. The tale is as important as the play on the field, and there are some incredible stories this season. From personal battles to winning the big games, it’s what we feel that matters.

Let’s take a look at Josh Allen’s competition for 2022/23.

Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)

SeasonPer Game (14)
Total Yards4219301.4
Total TDs35 (22+13)2.5
INTs50.36
Stats Per PFR

Jalen Hurts has been one of the most entertaining quarterbacks in the NFL this season, The Eagles are 13-1 with him healthy and active. He’s forced the NFL to completely backtrack on their lack of faith in him, and he combines immense success with a phenomenal underdog story.

Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles Josh Allen MVP
Desiree Rios/The New York Times

He should have been the runaway favourite, considering the turnaround of his team and his incredible record as a starter. However, two things stand in his way: A late season injury keeping him off the field for at least one major game (a close loss to the Cowboys), and the incredible QB play coming out of the AFC.

Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs (12-3)

SeasonPer Game (15)
Total Yards5091339.4
Total TDs41 (37+4)2.7
INTs110.7
Stats Per PFR

Of course it’s Mahomes. For two years, the only quarterback that was playing better than Josh Allen was Aaron Rodgers, and it was up for debate. Now, Mahomes is his main competition for the MVP. He lost Tyreek Hill and his defense has let him down, but he’s chugging on regardless and are a single Buffalo Bills loss away from the AFC’s #1 seed.

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs Josh Allen MVP
David Eulitt/Getty Images

The biggest problem with Mahomes’ MVP case is that it’s stale. He’s doing nothing better than he’s always done it. There’s very little intrigue, and the storyline is dull. He’s still the likely favourite at this time, however, a late entry into the MVP pool has reared his head.

Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

SeasonPer Game (15)
Total Yards4507300.4
Total TDs39 (35+5)2.6
INTs120.8
Stats Per PFR

Heeeeere’s Joey! Burrow has dealt with a lot this season, from losing his #1 target for a chunk of the year to losing his starting running back for a bit, things have been interesting. Burrow has returned to peak form in this late-season stretch, and has an opportunity to out-duel Josh Allen in prime time this week to put a signature on a great season.

Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals Josh Allen MVP
AP

The main issue for Burrow is that it may be too little too late. His cold start to the year, directly following a Super Bowl appearance, put a dampener on his stats. Those stats are ever-important in the MVP race. Not only that, but he’s has the NFL’s most consistent offensive line, which puts the onus of success squarely on his shoulders.

Josh Allen’s Case For MVP

SeasonPer Game (15)
Total Yards4775318.3
Total TDs39 (32+7)2.6
INTs130.9
Stats Per PFR

And so we arrive at Josh Allen. The Buffalo Bills have a third consecutive season with a quarterback contending for the MVP. The Bills entered this season with Allen at the helm of a team that was expected to be the best in the NFL. From injuries to drops to Allen himself playing through a busted elbow for a chunk of the season, things didn’t go as planned.

But that’s part of the story. Two All-Pros lost for the season. A constant reshuffling of the offensive line due to injuries and subpar pass-protection. The worst weather conditions in the NFL this season. Constant travel issues. The fewest home games in the league. The fewest regularly-scheduled Sunday games in the league too.

This season has been a mess for the Buffalo Bills, but Josh Allen has steered the ship through it all. He’s put up the big numbers, found new ways to win, and got a phenomenal storyline to go with it.

The Road Ahead

Gregory Fisher/USA Today

Now, with his arm healed up, he’s back to form and capable of stealing the award for the first time in his career. This time next week it could only be a two-man race. Josh Allen has two games left to seal the deal, and the perfect opportunity to cement his case in Cincinnati this weekend.

The Buffalo Bills have had two NFL MVPs since their induction: O.J. Simpson in 1973 and Thurman Thomas in 1991. Could it be time for a third?

Like this piece? Check out the previous Buffalo Bulletin on the return of Cole Beasley!

The Buffalo Bulletin on Buffalo Fanatics is a weekly editorial by Iestyn Harris. Check back regularly for hot topics, riveting discussion, and, occasionally, some actual insight.

Featured Image: Original Composite