We've hit the midway point of the season and there are still a handful of players in the running for NFL MVP. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are up there once again, but so is former unanimous MVP Lamar Jackson. The Ravens are tied with the Chiefs atop the AFC at 7-2 through nine games.
NFL Insider Brian Baldinger of the Audacy original podcast “The Best Football Show” explained why Lamar Jackson is his midseason MVP at this point.
“To me, it’s Lamar Jackson,” Baldinger said (9:20 in player above). “He’s at an MVP level. They lead the league in rushing, Lamar’s a big part of it averaging well over five yards a carry. He’s run for five touchdowns. But you look at their passing game and it’s good, it’s not elite yet but it’s good.”
Jackson has rushed for 440 yards on 84 carries this season. He's also done it through the air as well with nearly 2,000 yards thus far. Most importantly, he's completed 71.5% of his passes despite the Ravens not having the best offensive weapons around him.
“He leads the league in completion percentage. That’s saying something,” Baldinger continued. “Whether you want to say short passes, long runs, well he’s got a healthy yards per attempt average right now.”
The one knock on Jackson is that he’s only thrown for nine touchdowns with three interceptions. He’s had some trouble holding onto the ball as well.
“It’s not the top of the charts. It’s not C.J. Stroud throwing 14 touchdowns but they’re a run-first team for the most part,” Baldinger said. “The thing is that the ball is in Lamar’s hands. And a lot of these – whether it’s RPOs, play-action fakes, all that stuff – it’s all Lamar making good decisions with the football.
“Outside of some fumbles that he’s got to clean up, no doubt about it, the balls on the ground too many times, but outside of that, he’s my choice to be the MVP.”
Of course, Jackson likely won’t be the unanimous MVP like he was back in 2019, but the Ravens quarterback is making a nice case for himself.
“I watched him last week and he made it look easy. And they pulled him last week in a blowout win in the fourth quarter,” Baldinger said. “He could’ve put more numbers up.”
Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley played the fourth quarter against Seattle and threw a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. In theory, that could’ve been another score on Jackson’s resume.
The Ravens face off against the Browns in an AFC North showdown this weekend in Baltimore.