The NFL prides itself in the parity of the league. Its motto of “Any Given Sunday” is even more prophetic this year than perhaps any in recent memory. For example, the 2022 preseason NFL odds on favorites to reach Super Bowl LVII, Buffalo Bills (6-3), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) do not own the best rest records in their respective conferences. Moreover, Half of the ten teams with the best odds to win the Super Bowl heading into the season own .500 or worse records as the league is at the midpoint of its 2022 campaign.
Since the NFL is halfway through its season, it is the perfect time to start looking at who are the leading candidates for the 2022 MVP.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Hurts is the architect of the NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team as the Eagles (8-0) head into their Week 10 game against the Washington Commanders (4-5) tonight as an 11-point favorite on most NFL lines.
Hurts took a giant leap forward in year three of his development this season. He directs the league’s No. 2 ranked scoring offense at 28.3 points, as the Eagles have the third most touchdowns (29) and the No.4 rated offense overall.
Seen primarily as a runner his first two seasons in the league, Hurts is now as dangerous with his arm as his legs. The September Player of the Month honoree ranks in the top 10 in most passing categories. More importantly, he doesn’t turn the ball over. Hurts completes 68.2% of his passes for 255 yards a game with 12 touchdowns while adding seven scores on the ground.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Barkley is a primary reason that the Giants (7-2) already have their most wins since 2016, which is the last time they made the playoffs. Barkley, who punished the Houston Texans for 152 yards on 35 carries and one touchdown in the G-man’s 24-16 victory on Sunday, leads the league in rushing with 931 yards and is sixth with six scores on the ground. It was the fourth time he had hit the century mark and the third occasion of tallying at least 140 rushing yards.
Barkley also ranks in the top three in the league in yards from scrimmage. He leads the Giants with 29 receptions and is second in receiving yards.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes has stepped up his production in the last three weeks to become the favorite to win MVP, per Vegas NFL odds. Mahomes completed 26 of 35 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns in KC’s 27-17 win over Jacksonville on Sunday, marking the fourth straight game he has gone over the 300-yard mark. He has eight touchdown passes though he has also been picked off five times during this stretch.
The Chiefs have won three straight and sit atop the AFC with a 7-2 record.
Mahomes is on pace to at least tie his career-best numbers despite not having top receiver Tyreke Hill anymore. He leads the league in passing yards (326) and touchdowns (25). Ten different receivers have a receiving touchdown, which is the most in the league.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
It is still early, but Tagovailoa has the Dolphins (7-3) in a position to earn its first playoff berth since 2016 and claim their first division crown since 2008. Miami is 7-1 in games that Tagovailoa has started.
Tagovailoa is playing the best football of the season, leading the Dolphins to four straight victories. He has completed 72.1% of his passes and accumulated at least 261 yards a game via the air while tossing ten touchdowns and no interceptions during this stretch.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen is doing everything that could be asked for and is doing it well. The problem is he tries to do too much. His decision-making still has a lot to be desired, particularly in the red zone.
Allen ranks third in passing yards, second in touchdown passes and third in QBR. However, he also leads the league in interceptions (10), four of which have come in the last two games.
Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry are other contenders.