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Why Aaron Rodgers is Going to Win the 2020 NFL MVP
After the first few weeks of the 2020 NFL season, it became obvious that this was Russell Wilson’s world and we were just living in it. He’d been hitting marks that nobody ever had before, while willing his Seattle Seahawks to an undefeated 4-0 start.
The guy who had never even gotten so much as a single vote to win the NFL MVP was suddenly the poster child for the 2020 race.
I can’t really hate on the logic. I just wrote about why Patrick Mahomes is a poor 2020 NFL MVP bet, and Wilson alone was a huge reason why.
The problem? There was another section detailing why betting on Mahomes wasn’t a lock. That was the presence of an ageless veteran, Aaron Rodgers.
Wilson is undeniably the favorite right now, and the top NFL betting websites suggest as much (he’s tops with +200 odds to win at BetOnline), but there’s a very strong argument for Rodgers to win.
Here are the many reasons betting on Aaron Rodgers to win the 2020 NFL MVP award makes sense.
Aaron Rodgers is Doing More With Less
It’s interesting how narratives work. The sports media world scoffed at an elite dual-threat quarterback like Wilson being shunned in the MVP race, and they also mocked Green Bay for once again failing to get Aaron Rodgers some help at receiver.
Ever see this harrowing stat before?
Yeah, Rodgers has now thrown exactly two touchdowns to former first-round draft picks in his entire career. Newsflash, both came to the same guy, who happens to be a 36-year old tight end who usually is on the field to block.
The point? Rodgers is slaying right now, putting up MVP caliber numbers, and he’s doing it with inferior talent. He doesn’t have the litany of weapons Patrick Mahomes has, and he doesn’t have two explosive weapons like Wilson does in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
In fact, as I write this, Rodgers doesn’t have, well, anyone.
Davante Adams, his top weapon, is once again on the shelf for the second year in a row. He dominated in week one, but got hurt in week two and hasn’t played since.
Allen Lazard, his number two who broke out against the Saints, underwent surgery for a core muscle injury. He’s out for who knows how long.
In week four, Rodgers unleashed four touchdowns and over 300 passing yards with both of those guys out, and a slew of street free agent-level receivers at his disposal.
In a very loud and profound way, what Rodgers is doing right now is the most impressive thing in football.
Rodgers May Only be Getting Better in His System
Rodgers scoffed at the media in a recent interview, firing back about skeptics suggesting he was in decline the past few years.
His retort? His down years tend to be the best seasons most quarterbacks can hope for.
"It's just the facts bro."— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 6, 2020
Aaron Rodgers with the subtle flex to his critics ? pic.twitter.com/qgHi2WYm9t
A bit arrogant? For sure. True and refreshingly candid? Absolutely.
While Rodgers had certainly dipped below his insane expectations the last couple of seasons, he’s bounced back in a big way in 2020. He gives credit to his own talent and preparation, to be sure, but he also has openly said that being more comfortable in the second year of a new offense has a lot to do with it.
It’s not just Rodgers that had to iron out the wrinkles of a new offense, either. All of his receivers had to figure things out, and the collective chemistry and timing issues that gave the team some problems last year are no longer nearly as prevalent.
Sometimes it makes sense to make major changes, but other times, maintaining continuity and trusting that a good system will work itself out is the way to go. Rodgers is proving that this year.
Rodgers is Doing This at Age 36
Aaron Rodgers is at least 10 years older than most of the top quarterbacks in the league right now. Russell Wilson has been around for a while, but even he is five years younger than the Packers legend.
He’s pushing 37, and the guy is on pace for perhaps the best season of his storied NFL career.
Most quarterbacks get worse as they age. Skeptics thought that was already happening with Rodgers, and many anticipated a further drop-off in 2020.
Not only did that not happen, but the aging legend is putting up mind-boggling stats and carrying his Packers to a 4-0 record.
If Rodgers can keep up this pace and Green Bay keeps winning, it will be awfully difficult for voters to deny what he’s accomplishing at his age.
His Numbers Are Comparable to Everyone Else’s
Rodgers is killing it right now in about every capacity, and when you factor in his age, the team’s success, and his ability to do this without elite weapons around him, it’s insanely impressive.
The numbers won’t ever tell the whole story, but he may not need a narrative or a closer look through the lens to pitch his right to win league MVP this year.
Rodgers is neck and neck with the best passers in the league. Through four weeks, he’s second to only Russell Wilson in passing touchdowns and quarterback rating. He’s also completing over 70% of his passes, which is a pretty big deal when you note the big plays he’s seeking on a regular basis.
The latter has allowed Rodgers to create the third most 20+ yard passing plays, and post the league’s fourth-highest yards per attempt average.
Rodgers is taking shots and succeeding at a high rate, but he’s also still playing efficient football. His protection has been fantastic, too, but for a guy who typically holds onto the ball a little too long, he’s also taken just three sacks.
His o-line lost a key starter and is actually beaten up a tad, so this is arguably more a testament to his system and his willingness to get the ball out of his hands quicker than he has in years.
Narrative Street is Alive and Well
Need a narrative to latch onto? Russell Wilson has a good one, but how about the wrath of a veteran gunslinger that is out to prove he still “has it”.
It can’t possibly be the sample or that trivial, but when you hear Rodgers talk, there is a slight sense of a desire to let anyone know where they can shove it.
Rodgers has taken everything in stride. When Bleacher Report dropped what he called a “smear attack” a couple of years ago, he bounced back with rookie head coach Matt LaFleur and went 13-3.
When the doubters said he was finished and Green Bay spent a first-round pick on their future franchise quarterback in Jordan Love, A-Rod put his head down and kept fighting.
The old, washed up, passed over veteran passer has completely side-stepped all of the negativity, has put up elite production, and for the second year in a row has his Packers among the league’s best.
How is this not the leading NFL MVP narrative right now?
Green Bay is a Title Contender
Most league MVPs have their teams in contention for a special year, if not a championship. The eventual NFL MVP winner almost never actually wins the Super Bowl the season they win the award, of course, but that’s neither here nor there.
The point here is if you’re going to win the league MVP, you need to have a ton of individual statistical success. More often than not, that leads to your team doing pretty well.
Players don’t win this award with hollow numbers, though. Rodgers has a legit title threat on his hands, and regardless of how far Green Bay goes come playoff time, they’re already looking good enough to make him a frontrunner to win the 2020 NFL MVP.
Green Bay doesn’t need to go undefeated or anything, but they do need to rival whatever the Seahawks do under Russell Wilson. So far, so good.
Will Aaron Rodgers Win the 2020 NFL MVP?
My preseason pick was Patrick Mahomes, and I’d be a fool not to note the odds and current numbers make Russell Wilson look like the favorite.
But that’s just right now. And those numbers aren’t vastly greater than Rodgers’. And Rodgers is doing it with less.
In just about every way – age, supporting cast, coming back after “down” years – Rodgers is passing the eye test. He’s dominant. His offense is dominant. And he’s not even cooking with all of the ingredients he needs.
Patrick Mahomes lurks. Josh Allen is having a heck of a year. And Wilson is the odds on favorite for a reason. But if it’s even remotely close down the stretch, Rodgers has everything working in his favor.
Rodgers has already moved up to second place behind Wilson (+300) in terms of betting odds, though. If you believe as I do, now is the time to strike.