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Why Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes will win 2022 NFL MVP over Eagles’ Jalen Hurts

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The 2023 Super Bowl is set to be a great battle between the Chiefs and Eagles, and it is highlighted by the high-level play of each team’s young quarterback.

Jalen Hurts, 24, has a chance to become one of the youngest quarterbacks to ever win the big game. The Eagles starter has posted a 16-1 record in his starts this season and has improved rapidly over his three seasons in the NFL.

As for Patrick Mahomes, this territory is familiar. The 27-year-old is playing in his third Super Bowl in the last four years and is trying to win his second. He still is on the upswing of his career, but the talented quarterback was the oldest AFC starter to make the postseason in 2023.

So, in a strange way, Mahomes is becoming the proverbial “old guard” among the conference’s QBs despite his relatively young age.

MORE: Watch NFL honors, Super Bowl 57 live with fuboTV (free trial)

Both Hurts and Mahomes will be hungry to prove themselves on the Super Bowl stage, but they are also awaiting a key ruling before the big game. Who will be the winner of the 2022 NFL MVP?

Mahomes and Hurts are the two favorites for the award and have spent much of the season as constants within the race. Josh Allen and Joe Burrow were top candidates for it at times, but the former two have established themselves as the likely one-two punch atop most voter ballots.

So, which one of the two is going to win the NFL MVP for 2022? Mahomes has the clear advantage heading into the event.

Why? A couple of narrative factors are set to help back up Mahomes’ stats and give him his second career MVP trophy.

IYER: How the Chiefs rebuilt a Super Bowl roster around Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes stats vs. Jalen Hurts stats

First, let’s start with the numbers for both Mahomes and Hurts. The two quarterbacks were the top players at their positions in 2022 despite playing a vastly different style of game.

Mahomes is a higher-volume passer than Hurts and logged nearly 200 more passing attempts than him during the season. The Chiefs’ quarterback also led the league in passing yards (5,250), passing touchdowns (41) and total QBR (77.6)

As such, when comparing the duo’s passing stats for the first time, one would presume that Mahomes was a better quarterback than Hurts by a wide margin.

Stat Patrick Mahomes Jalen Hurts
Comp. % 67.1 66.5
Passing yards 5,250 3,701
Pass TDs 41 22
INTs 12 6
Yards/attempt 8.1 8.0
Passer rating 105.2 101.5
QBR 77.6 66.3

Conversely, Hurts runs the ball more frequently as part of Philadelphia’s run-heavy offense. That allowed him to produce at a high level on the ground while being both efficient and explosive through the air.

While Mahomes can run, he doesn’t do so nearly as frequently — or as well — as the speedy, compact Hurts.

Stat Patrick Mahomes Jalen Hurts
Rushes 61 165
Rushing yards 358 760
Rush TDs 4 13
Yards/attempt 5.9 4.6

It should be noted that many of Hurts’ short-yardage runs were quarterback sneaks, too. So, while Mahomes was more efficient than him as a runner, much of that was thanks to Hurts frequently running the Eagles’ “Two-Cheek Sneak,” which was designed to get 1-3 yards, for the most part.

Either way, each quarterback was able to post an impressive season and help lead his team to an NFL-best 14-3 record.

SUPER BOWL PROP BETS: Patrick Mahomes | Jalen Hurts

That said, MVP voters typically care most about passing stats when it comes to quarterbacks. Mahomes has a clear advantage in that area after posting more than 5,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns on the season. And we saw that when Mahomes was voted to the AP’s All-Pro first team ahead of Hurts, who was named to the All-Pro second team.

That checks one box in Mahomes’ favor, while a couple of other narratives help to further separate him from Hurts.

Why the Tyreek Hill trade helps Patrick Mahomes’ MVP case

The main narrative working in Mahomes’ favor is the Tyreek Hill trade. Many expected that the quarterback’s performance would take a dip after the Chiefs traded away their best receiver while having just one holdover — Mecole Hardman — at the position.

Instead, Mahomes was able to improve without his big-play threat.

Mahomes was willing to spread the ball around frequently during the season. A whopping 11 players caught 10 or more passes for the Chiefs in 2022, and fourth-string tight end Jody Fortson nearly made it 12 by logging nine catches.

Why did this happen? Part of Mahomes’ success was his willingness to check down more frequently. He was more willing to take what defenses were giving him in the short and intermediate range. He didn’t feel as compelled to look for big plays deep down the field constantly, and that allowed him to complete a career-best 67.1 percent of his passes.

In totality, Mahomes proved that possessing an elite weapon is not a necessity for his success. He is capable of elevating the talent around him, and he showed that by relying on a variety of receivers to replace Hill’s overall production. And his ability to connect with all of them is part of what raised his yards per attempt from a career-worst 7.4 in 2021 back to his career average of 8.1 in 2022.

Hurts couldn’t prove the same thing as Mahomes through no fault of his own. The Eagles traded for A.J. Brown and paired him with DeVonta Smith to make one of the league’s best receiving tandems.

Hurts certainly took a massive leap forward in his third year and exceeded expectations for the campaign. That said, Mahomes also exceeded expectations for his performance despite the fact that his supporting cast doesn’t measure up to the pieces Hurts has at his disposal. 

So, once again, this proves as a minor advantage for Mahomes, because he took what was — outside of Travis Kelce — a lower-bar supporting cast to the next level.

MORE: Why Eagles fans can thank Andy Reid for Jalen Hurts landing in Philadelphia

Jalen Hurts injury caused him to miss key stat thresholds

The final element in the Mahomes vs. Hurts MVP case is a minor one. Hurts unfortunately had to miss a couple of games at the end of the regular season due to a shoulder injury.

That alone didn’t disqualify Hurts from the MVP running. However, it gave Mahomes another slight advantage, as his extra two games played allowed him to put further separation between his stats and those of Hurts.

That Hurts was not ultimately able to achieve a 4,000-yard passing season or reach the 40-touchdown threshold made the disparity between the two quarterbacks much greater. The last time an MVP quarterback failed to reach either of those milestones came in 2010, when Tom Brady totaled 3,900 yards and 37 total touchdowns (a league-high 36 through the air) while leading the Patriots to a 14-2 record.

Hurts’ résumé this year was every bit as good as Brady’s in 2010, right down to his 14-1 record as a starter. And had he played all 17 games, Hurts would have been on pace to pass the 4,000-yard and 40-touchdown threshold.

Add in that the Eagles lost each of their starts without Hurts and one might be able to argue that his missing games should have actually helped his MVP cause.

MORE: How Hurts vs. Wentz decision, A.J. Brown trade turned Eagles into a Super Bowl team

However, Brady faced much weaker competition for MVP in 2010 than Hurts did in 2022. All seven quarterbacks with more passing yards than Brady tossed at least 11 interceptions, so that made Brady’s league-leading 36 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions stand out.

Comparatively, Hurts was unable to lead the NFL in any notable passing categories. Meanwhile Mahomes posted 511 more passing yards and six more passing touchdowns than any quarterback league-wide.

Had Hurts stayed healthy, this race would probably have been neck-and-neck, as Hurts would have neared 5,000 total yards and 40 touchdowns. Alas, he was unable to do that in just 15 games, and that is part of what allowed Mahomes. to virtually clinch the award with his late-season momentum.

Of course, Hurts won’t mind finishing second in the MVP race if he and the Eagles are able to win Super Bowl 57. But if he can’t do either, it will only add extra weight to the massive chip that already exists on his shoulder.


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