After a strong Week 5 performance against the Kansas City chiefs, in which he led his Buffalo Bills to a victory while throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another, Josh Allen is back in the MVP fold. In fact, his performance — and the start of his fourth campaign to this point — was so convincing that he leapt to the very top of the leaderboard in terms of NFL MVP odds. Though it’s a very tight race, Allen leads the pack at +450, with Kyler Murray (+500) and Tom Brady (+650) on his heels.
Rounding out the top five at +700, along with Dak Prescott, is Chargers QB Justin Herbert, who had an even more inspiring Week 5. In an unforgettable 47-42 clash over the Browns, the second-year stud threw for nearly 400 yards to go along with four scores through the air and an additional one on the ground. Allen is 25, while Herbert is 23, and the future is exceptionally bright in both cases.
If you asked Bills fans who they’d rather have, the bulk would likely stick with their guy. Ditto for the Chargers. So why not ask someone who spent time as a member of both teams? That’s exactly what “NFL Total Access: The Locker Room” host Michael Robinson did, bringing Shawne Merriman on the podcast and making him choose between the two to start a franchise.
His choice? Herbert — but he began his explanation by arguing that the Bills shouldn’t want Herbert or anyone other than Allen leading the charge.
“Josh Allen is tough, right? He’s tough, he’s gritty. It’s almost as if he’s built for that organization and that city,” said Merriman, who spent six seasons with the Chargers and played two for the Bills. “Like, I don’t think Herbert would have fit well out there, even though I think he’s a more talented quarterback as far as what he can do, right? I don’t think he would have fit well.
“Josh Allen, his personality, his grit, the way he plays the game, it fits so well with the organization, that fan base. Because something about Buffalo, one thing about them, they will love you to the end of the earth. There’s no better fan base in all of sports, in my opinion.
“...there's no other quarterback in the National Football League that fits better in that organization than Josh Allen.”
Merriman isn’t alone in his love for Buffalo, even if he did spend a much longer time with the Chargers. Journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, for one, has spent time playing in nine NFL cities, and he also voted Buffalo as his favorite. The same goes for Drew Bledsoe, who spent three years with the Bills as opposed to nine in New England and two in Dallas.
So although Merriman didn’t choose Allen as the better quarterback of the two young stars in question, Allen should be happy that he’s playing in the optimal environment. As for Herbert, Merriman couldn’t say enough good things.
“For Herbert, you're talking about somebody who's just, he's got so many different facets of his game, whether it's throwing the ball — he's 6-6, 6-7, you're looking at him like, ‘holy crap’ — and then you see him run the ball and he's running like someone that's 6-2, 200 pounds,” Merriman said. “... I think his mechanics, everything about him, in my opinion, is a better quarterback than Josh Allen.”