Playmakers: Our NFL mid-season, MVP watch

USA Today

We’re eight weeks into the 2018 NFL campaign and there’s been some great football. Huge numbers have posted weekly. With all the rule changes in favor of the offense, records will surely be broken. To that end, examines the top MVP mid-season performers.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

 The second-year pro has been close to flawless in Reid’s spread West Coast offense. When the designed play breaks down, he’s capable of moving out of the pocket and picking up yardage with his legs. There’s almost no way to game plan to stop Patrick Mahomes, especially with the talent he has around him. In the opener, he went for 256 yards and four scores in the Chiefs’ season opener against the Chargers.  Since then, Mahomes has reeled off seven, straight, 300-yard efforts. He’s guided the Chiefs to a 7-1 record. His 2,526 passing yards lead the league. So do his 26 touchdown passes. Those 26 scores over the first nine starts of his career are the most by a NFL quarterback. He has four touchdown passes in each of his last three games. Right now, he’s on pace for more than 5,000 passing yards, 52 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

After leading the NFL in yards and touchdowns from scrimmage with 2,093 and 19 TD’s in 2017, Todd Gurley’s on pace to blow those numbers out of the water. Through the first half of the season, he has 1,151 yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns. He leads the league with 169 carries, 800 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. The best player on the best team will always be in the MVP debate. He’s also provided value as a receiver out of the backfield. It’s Gurley’s combination of vision, speed and power that sets him apart from other running backs. And, in a quarterback-driven league, it’s Gurley who has been that one, transcendent player. In an era where the running back is seen as devalued, he’s also been as valuable to his team as any non-quarterback can be. 

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

The old vet is still up to his old tricks. Drew Brees has shown few signs of decline this season. As the catalyst behind the Saints’ best start in five years at 6-1, he leads the NFL in passing efficiency (121.3) and completion percentage (77.3). He’d be a sentimental favorite as one of the greatest players in NFL history to never win the MVP award, yet he’s having one of the best seasons of his career. He has a personal-best passer rating of 118.2. He just threw his first interception of the season Sunday night, compared with 14 touchdown passes. Brees is on pace for 4,549 yards, 32 touchdowns, two interceptions and an astonishing completion percentage of 77.4. He just set the NFL record for single-season completion percentage last year at 72.0. For him to bring that up 5% is outstanding. That’s almost 8/10 on his passes. 

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