By Nick Catlin
As Week 9 concluded, all 32 NFL teams have finished half of their scheduled regular season games. After the New Orleans Saints defeated the Los Angeles Rams 45-35, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has now truly cemented himself in the MVP race alongside Patrick Mahomes and Todd Gurley- and with a new player entering the mix. KCOU Sports’ Nick Catlin takes a look at each of the front-runners.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs QB
Week 9 vs. Cleveland: 23-32, 375 yards and 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
As the Kansas City Chiefs remain the No. 1 seed in the AFC Standings, Mahomes recorded his fourth straight game with at least 3 touchdowns. Although he threw an interception, it was at the end of the half, as he was rushed out of the pocket- a desperation throw that would have no consequences for the Chiefs moving forward. Mahomes and the offensive unit totaled 499 yards and controlled the game from start to finish. With a 16-point victory over the Browns, the Chiefs are 8-1 going into their matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints QB
Week 9 vs. Los Angeles Rams: 25-36, 4 touchdowns
Brees and the Saints emerged victorious in a 45-35 shootout over the Los Angeles Rams in a battle for potential home-field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs. Half way through the regular season, Brees is on average to have 4,672 yards, 36 touchdowns with two interceptions. With a victory over Gurley also places Brees ahead of Gurley at this moment. Brees’ season so far has not and more than likely will not fill up the stat sheet like Mahomes. However, Brees’ turnover differential could be a turning point in the comparison of the two. Brees QBR this season is 120.6, higher than the last 5 NFL MVP’s.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams RB
Week 9 vs. New Orleans Saints: 79 total yards, 1 touchdown
Although Todd Gurley scored a touchdown this week, Gurley didn’t perform up to his other superior performances after the first drive of the game. He totaled only 79 yards, his lowest since week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals- where he scored 3 touchdowns in a 34-0 victory. The performance isn’t the only problem to his MVP champaign- the loss to Brees hinders his chances as well. Winning NFL MVP as a running back is already an uphill climb opposed to quarterbacks. Gurley will have to bounce back as they return to Los Angeles to face their division-rival Seattle Seahawks.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons QB
Week 9 vs. Washington Redskins: 26-38, 350 yards and 4 touchdowns, 1 interception
Despite a 1-4 start for the Falcons, they have won three straight game to have a .500 record through the first half of the season. 2016 NFL MVP Ryan has been the centerpiece of the team’s success, especially with starting running back Devonta Freeman being placed on Injury Reserve to begin the season. Halfway through the year, he has thrown 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. In his MVP champaign at this point two seasons ago, Ryan had 14 touchdowns with 4 interceptions at this point.. Although the Falcons will likely have to go on a win streak and make the postseason, Ryan’s individual play has put him in the conversation as a legitimate MVP candidate.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org