Never Mind Jackson vs. Mahomes, Wilson’s Come to Play
Coming into the 2020 NFL season, a lot of the focus was on the two hot-shot quarterbacks in the AFC: Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and Patrick Mahomes of the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs. The conversation has very much been about which of the two will break through the conference and face an unlucky foe coming up from the NFC.
While both Jackson and Mahomes have continued to be stellar, despite them both being in their mid-20s, it’s an NFC veteran QB who’s positioning themselves for the MVP crown. Won by Mahomes in 2018, and then Jackson in 2019, one Russell Wilson has undoubtedly made a case for the 2020 NFL MVP award. So, what’s the Seahawks shot-caller done to muscle in on the AFC duo, and could he pull his team further than a fine regular-season record?
Wilson’s on the warpath
Since coming into the league in 2012, Wilson hasn’t missed a single start and hasn’t ever posted a losing record on a season. He’s never thrown fewer than 20 touchdowns in a season, has a total average pass completion percentage of 64.8 percent over 131 games, at the time of writing, and has run in 19 of his own scores. Simply put: the Cincinnati-native has been playing at an elite level for years.
However, for many of his earlier years in the NFL, the fleet-footed QB was primarily a complement to the almighty defense. While he’d still fire some incredible shots down the field, there was a much heavier reliance on running down the clock and deploying the ground game through the likes of Marshawn Lynch. Now, as Wilson has developed, the defense has faded, not being as formidable or reliable as it once was. Now, it’s Wilson and his offensive maneuvers that run the show.
The star QB often finds himself needing to come from behind, duel for four quarters to win a shootout, and often compensate for defensive lapses. Last season, his 4,110 yards and 31 touchdowns dragged the Seahawks to an 11-5 record despite them only scoring seven more points than they conceded. This season, in the first three games – Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys – Wilson has thrown 14 touchdowns and 925 yards, but the team still only had 25 net points.
Seahawks swaying expert opinion
It’s still early days, but Wilson and his Seahawks are rated very highly. As of Seattle’s crushing victory over Dallas, NFL’s Dan Hanzus held the Seahawks in fifth in the power rankings, while Sporting News placed the NFC West in second for their rankings. In the conference championship rankings, with three teams undefeated, the top recommended bookmakers of SBO have Seattle as the clear favorites at +400. Likely coinciding with these rankings is Wilson’s odds of +300 to win the MVP award this year, ahead of the +700 Mahomes and Jackson who has fallen below Aaron Rodgers to +1400 after the recent loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, although that’s likely to rise again if the Ravens get back to dominating teams.
The key to Wilson’s lofty praise has been that he’s been the one to dig the Seahawks out of holes, doing so repeatedly, and often by fine margins. However, the real question is if he’ll be able to keep it up to the 16-game mark. Mahomes and Jackson are in less-intense situations and can put up the numbers needed to impress MVP voters. As they stand as their teams’ most important players, team success would always be related to their efforts under the center.
Wilson has enjoyed an incredible start to the season and is well on pace to have the best season of his nine-year career. To beat the likes of Mahomes and Jackson to the accolades, however, he’ll need to keep it up through to January.