We’re about two-thirds of the way through the NFL regular season, and the MVP conversation is as murky as ever. With a handful of quarterbacks in the conversation but none truly pulling ahead of the pack, Jonathan Taylor has inserted himself into the conversation after a historic effort in Week 11. Can the running back win the trophy? Let’s take a look at the odds.
Does Jonathan Taylor Really Have a Chance?
How good was Jonathan Taylor in Week 12? The Colts’ running back became the first player in NFL history to run for 175 yards, four rushing touchdowns, and catch a touchdown in a single game. Taylor also became the first player in Colts’ franchise history to score five touchdowns in a single game. This massive, historic game came against the Bills, who allowed the fewest points per game in the NFL heading into Sunday. LaDanian Tomlinson and Lydell Mitchell are the only other players who have matched Taylor’s incredible feat of eight straight games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown. Taylor is now on pace to finish with over 2,200 yards from scrimmage and 23 total touchdowns. Is that enough to win him the MVP?
The last running back to win the NFL MVP was Adrian Peterson in 2012, as he finished with 2,314 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. Those numbers are highly attainable for Taylor with the way he’s been playing – he already has 11 touchdowns this year. With a couple of more big games down the stretch, he could beat Chris Johnson’s record of 2,509 yards from scrimmage in a season. Taylor’s MVP odds have jumped to as he’s been the driving force behind a three-game win streak for the Colts with wins in five of their last six games. The AFC is wide open, and if the Colts can finish as a top seed in the conference, Taylor has every right to be in the MVP conversation.
Which Quarterback Will Pull Away?
As fun as it is to talk about Taylor’s MVP prospects, the fact of the matter is Derrick Henry finished 2,141 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns last year and didn’t get a single MVP vote. It’s still doubtful that a non-quarterback will win MVP as it’s been a quarterback in 13 of the last 14 seasons. Taylor likely has a much better chance to win Offensive Player of the Year with impressive current odds. Tom Brady is currently the MVP favorite with odds. He faces the Giants on Monday night, and a big game for him could see his odds jump considerably.
Josh Allen had been the favorite for the award, but he’s fallen to odds after the Bills have lost two of their last three games and were blown out by Taylor’s Colts on Sunday. Kyler Murray () has likely missed enough games to put him out of the conversation while it’s hard to believe Aaron Rodgers () would win with the controversy plaguing this season for him. Patrick Mahomes () is back in the conversation with some excellent play lately, but he was underwhelming against the Cowboys when he had the chance to put himself back atop the conversation. The reality is that whichever quarterback gets hot over the final couple of months of the season will be the winner of this award, and it’s difficult to project who that will be as of now.