Willman’s NFL MVP top five at the halfway point 

One defensive player, four QBs make list 

Eagles+QB+Jalen+Hurts

Gracie Rogers

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

It is getting to that point in the NFL season where the most valuable player race has begun to solidify itself. While it is traditionally a quarterback’s award, one defensive player is quietly making a case to have a massive second half and win the award. 

Despite that slight chance, there are four QBs with legitimate shots to take home some hardware at the end of the season. 

  1. C.J. Gardner-Johnson 

Gardner-Johnson is the one defensive player on the outskirt of the MVP discussion up to this point in the season. His teammate has a much better chance of winning the award, but he has been the best defensive player on the only undefeated team left in the league.

Up to this point, he has the sole lead in the league in interceptions with five, which have all come in the previous four weeks of play. On top of that, he has 42 tackles, one sack and six pass deflections. 

Although a massive uphill battle, if the Eagles can remain undefeated and the offense struggles, he might sneak away with enough votes to win the award. 

He will probably need double-digit interceptions, over 85-90 tackles and several more sacks to be considered. But, despite all of those challenges, he is the best bet for any defensive player to win the award. 

  1. Josh Allen

Headed into Week 9, Josh Allen was the front-runner for the award. Sadly, the previous week was a terrible performance by Allen and the Bills as a whole. They fell to the Jets 20-17 and Allen went 18/34 for 205 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. 

It was easily the worst performance for the QB all season, but his team is still 6-2 and in first place in the division. 

He is also putting up good stats with 2,403 yards and 19 touchdowns on a 64.1 completion percentage. The one downfall of his case is his eight interceptions through eight games, a pace of 17 on the season. 

Allen is also a threat on the ground, with close to 400 yards and four scores, numbers only competed with by the No. 1 player on the list. 

If Allen can limit his interceptions to no more than 12 and have a record of 13-4 or better, he will easily end the year at the top of this list if things go his way. 

  1. Patrick Mahomes

The biggest name in football is once again in the MVP conversation. The Chiefs are 6-2 and Mahomes is playing great with a depleted receiver corps compared to previous seasons. 

So far, he already has 2,605 yards and 21 touchdowns on a 66.2 completion percentage. Like Allen, his six picks are more than the two players above him on the list but is not the end of the world. 

Mahomes is on pace to potentially break the single-season passing yard record and be in the mid-40s in touchdowns. If he can break through voters’ recency bias, he can easily take home another MVP. 

  1. Geno Smith 

The biggest surprise of the season so far has been Geno Smith. Replacing Russell Wilson in Seattle, he has exceeded expectations.

He has the Seahawks sitting at the top of the NFC West at 6-3 and has 2,199 yards, 15 touchdowns and only four picks on a spectacular 73.1 completion percentage. He certainly will not have the most impressive stats at the end of the year, but comparing expectations to reality he has been the most VALUABLE player in the league. 

  1. Jalen Hurts 

The QB of an undefeated team will almost always be at the top of the MVP ladder. The 2022 season is no different as Jalen Hurts leads the pack having his Eagles at 8-0. 

However, his candidacy relies heavily on the record, if the team falls to a 12-5 or 13-4 finish, he will not win the award. 

So far this season he has 2,042 yards and 12 touchdowns with only two picks. His completion percentage is impressive at 68.2%. On the ground, Hurts has added 326 yards and six scores, being a dual-threat comparable to Josh Allen. 

If the season were to end today, Hurts would be the MVP, however, a betting man should not pick Hurts to be in this position at the end of the year.