By Joel Deering
Week 1 of the NFL is officially in the books. We saw a lot of great performances in Week 1, some of them being very unexpected. After seeing some of the great performances, I thought I’d put together a list of my top five MVP candidates after the first week of football. I plan on keeping this list going throughout each week, and if not each week, periodically throughout the season.
I’ve put together my list of top five MVP candidates after Week 1 based on how each player performed and the impact it had on their team (Did they win or not?) I tried to make this list not based on the name of the player, but that was somewhat of a factor in my rankings, mostly because I know it will be a factor in the real voting if these same names were actually in the running for NFL MVP by the seasons end. With that being said, below you’ll find my top five MVP list after Week 1.
1. QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers got hurt in the first half of the game against the Chicago Bears, which led to the Bears building a 17-0 lead at half time. They then extended the lead to 20-0 in the second half. Aaron Rodgers returned to the game and led his team to a 24-23 comeback victory over the Bears. Do we expect anything less from Aaron Rodgers? Nope. Typical performance from him.
After shredding the Bears’ defense in the fourth quarter, Rodgers finished the game completing 20 of 30 passes (67%) for 286 yards and 3 TD passes. The fact that the Packers were absolute garbage on offense without him only adds to the meaning of MVP for Rodgers.
2. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To be completely honest with you, I think Fitzpatrick should be ranked number one on this list after Week 1, but I thought it would be more realistic to place Aaron Rodgers in the top spot because of his name. When you think of an NFL MVP, who typically comes to mind? Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, etc. The big names. It’s not guys who have traveled around the NFL like Ryan Fitzpatrick, but after his performance in Week 1, he absolutely deserves to be on this list right now.
Fitzpatrick destroyed the Saints’ defense, as he threw for 417 yards and 4 TDs. He threw 28 passes, completing 21 of them. That’s a completion percentage of 75%. In addition to his passing stats, Fitzpatrick rushed for 36 yards and a TD. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 5 total TDs against the Saints! To make this even better, he did all this against a Saints team who pretty much everyone picked to crush the Buccaneers. MVP level play by Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1.
3. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Who says a young QB can’t be in the MVP race? Patrick Mahomes went into this season with a lot of questions to answer, and he answered a lot of them by leading the Chiefs to a Week 1 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Everyone knew Mahomes had a good supporting cast in Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt, but Mahomes showed everyone the Chiefs are more than just a supporting cast.
Mahomes finished the game by throwing for 256 yards and 4 TDs. He completed 15 of 27 passes (56%), so his accuracy does need some work, but the passes he did complete were very impactful. The Chiefs scored 38 points in their victory. In order to score a lot of points, you have to make impactful plays, so for now we’ll ignore the low completion percentage.
4. WR Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
It’s not very often we see a WR on an MVP list, but Tyreek Hill absolutely deserves to be on this list after Week 1. Hill was clearly Mahomes’ favorite weapon, as he caught 7 passes for 169 yards and 2 TDs. Only one other receiver on the Chiefs (Sammy Watkins) caught more than one pass.
Hill made an impact in more ways than one against the Chargers. In addition to his receiving stats, Hill added a punt return touchdown on one of his two returns. Hill totaled 268 yards (receiving, rushing, and returns) and 3 TDs in this game. It’s pretty likely Hill will fall off this list. 169 yards receiving and 268 yards total in every game is very unlikely. If he did that every game, he would end up with 2,704 receiving yards and 4,288 total yards. Those are unrealistic numbers. For now though, Hill’s impact has him on my early MVP list.
5. QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco led his team to 47 points against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. It was against a Bills team who most of us thought would be bad, but it’s still 47 points. There’s been a lot of talk in the offseason about when Lamar Jackson will take over Flacco’s starting QB job, but Flacco put that talk to rest for at least another week with his performance. Flacco was very effective in the Ravens’ dominant win.
25-of-34 for 236 yards and 3 TD passes was Flacco’s stat line against the Bills. He completed 74% of his passes and didn’t throw an interception. That’s one reason why I have Flacco on the list over Tom Brady right now. I know you were all asking why Brady wasn’t on here. Brady was good in Week 1, but his team didn’t score as many points, and he also threw an interception. I liked Flacco’s performance a little more than Brady’s, but it is only Week 1. Give credit where and when credit is due. Flacco deserves credit right now.