Skip to main content

NFL MVP Watch Entering Week 5: Familiar Face Leads Early

It's already looking like a QB will claim the award yet again.

As we reach the quarter mark of the 2022 NFL season, it's a good time to take a peak ahead at the MVP conversation. There's plenty of time for narratives to build (and players to get hurt) but enough statistics that it's not just all noise.

Related: Top 5 Games for NFL's Week 5 Schedule

Things can change in a hurry. Before the season, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady had two of the three highest MVP odds, but they're not remotely close to this list as of now. And some might have thought that Jalen Hurts was closer to losing his job than bringing home hardware a month ago.

So let's dive into the top MVP candidates before more things shake up in Week 5. And, let's be honest, it's going to be a quarterback for the 10th year in a row. So before we get to the real list, let's honor the best of the rest.

Non-Quarterback Division

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
After missing most of 2020 with a torn ACL and coming back slowly from the injury last season, Barkley is finally looking like the all-around back the Giants drafted second overall in '18. In fact, he may be better than ever. His 5.5 yards per carry are a career high, and his 115.8 rushing yards per game and 142.5 yards from scrimmage per game lead the NFL. He's a major reason why the Giants are off to a surprising 3-1 start.

Top 5 MVP Candidates Entering Week 5

5. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
There's a clear drop-off from 4 to 5, but Herbert does lead the league in passing yards (312.5 ypg) despite playing with a rib cartilage fracture last week. Not only that, but his interception rate sits at a career-low 1.2 percent, fifth best in the league. The Chargers' lack of success (and a season-ending injury to left tackle Rashawn Slater) may hold him back later in the season, but Herbert is putting up the big numbers people expect.

4. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
It's hard to deny the leap Hurts has taken this season. He's not just getting it done on the ground, where he's second among QBs with 205 rushing yards and third among all players with four scores. He also leads the league with 9.1 yards per attempt and is completing a career-best 66.7 percent of his throws. And if the Eagles keep up their undefeated season for much longer, he'll shoot up this list.

3. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson has accounted for an astounding 84.1 percent of the Ravens' yardage this season. That's not particularly sustainable, especially considering he accounted for "just" 66.4 percent of Baltimore's yards in his 2019 MVP season. Still, Jackson is playing at that MVP level once again and leads the NFL with a 9.4 percent touchdown rate. The Ravens haven't given him the weapons other quarterbacks on this list have, but he's enough offense by himself.

2. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Allen has a narrative edge this season as the best quarterback to not yet have the MVP, but he also has a strong statistical case too. Allen ranks second in yards per game (306.8), third in QBR (76.5), and sixth in completion rate — all at or near career highs. He earned his "signature win" over Jackson in Week 4 and has a strong chance to come away with the No. 1 seed, which may seal his fate.

1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Voters tend not to like repeat winners — unless they have no other option, like Rodgers last season. But it's actually been four years since Mahomes won, and he's well overdue. He leads the league with an 82.3 QBR and has an outstanding 11:2 TD-to-INT ratio. With or without the hardware, he remains the best and most creative quarterback in the league, as if he needed yet another circus touchdown last week to remind you that he's one of one.