The second half of the NFL season kicks off, as Week 10 is underway. With the playoff race becoming more in focus, it’s clear we have a shocking contender who no one expected: the Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Geno Smith has vaulted himself into the 2022 MVP discussion with his play.
Can the veteran quarterback win the NFL MVP race? We’re going to dive into the impact Smith has had and whether he can actually upset Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts as favorites.
NFL MVP Odds Heading Into Week 10
Let’s take a look at the 10 players with the best odds of winning the NFL MVP award entering Week 10, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Be sure to read our analysis of all NFL and CFB sports betting.
- Patrick Mahomes
QB, Kansas City Chiefs (+200)
- Jalen Hurts
QB, Philadelphia Eagles (+250)
- Josh Allen
QB, Buffalo Bills (+350)
- Tua Tagovailoa
QB, Miami Dolphins (+800)
- Lamar Jackson
QB, Baltimore Ravens (+1200)
- Joe Burrow
QB, Cincinnati Bengals (+2000)
- Geno Smith
QB, Seattle Seahawks (+2000)
- Kirk Cousins
QB, Minnesota Vikings (+4000)
- Justin Herbert
QB, Los Angeles Chargers (+5000)
- Tyreek Hill
WR, Miami Dolphins (+8000)
Can Geno Smith Win MVP in 2022?
I’m a firm believer that every NFL MVP winner has to meet three criteria based on how we’ve seen the award handled over the last 15 years. It’s basically a quarterback’s award, as Adrian Peterson was the last non-QB to win MVP back in 2012. The other two factors are elite production and a great storyline.
Unlike Hurts — who as a true dual threat will never have the gaudy passing numbers of Mahomes or Burrow — Smith doesn’t have to worry about dealing with an extra-convoluted set of criteria. Lamar Jackson set the standard for modern-day, non-traditional quarterbacks. Hurts can’t compare statistically or with his highlights.
Smith is in a different boat as a pocket passer and has some athleticism in his game. His numbers are outstanding, boasting the league’s top completion rate (73.1%), the sixth-most passing yards (2,199 through nine games), 15 touchdowns to only four interceptions, the sixth-highest yards per attempt (7.8), and third in quarterback rating. It’s fair to say that he’s amongst the top five quarterbacks alongside Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, and Hurts for the season.
With the Seahawks at 6-3 and in first place in the loaded NFC West, Seattle is the biggest surprise in the league. And Smith has been a big part of that. I wouldn’t say he’s the engine of their team, though, as they’re still a team prioritizing the run. This would be where Smith’s MVP argument starts to run dry compared to Mahomes’, Allen’s, and Tagovailoa’s, in particular.
MORE: 2023 NFL Super Bowl Odds
However, Smith has the best storyline of any candidate. He was an exciting draft prospect out of West Virginia, throwing the ball all over the field as the Mountaineers rose to national prominence. Smith’s 2011-2012 seasons brought magic to the program, and he earned his status as a second-round pick.
His tenure with the New York Jets was all but over after two seasons. He finished with a completion rate of 57.9%, 36 interceptions to only 28 touchdowns, and a mere 180.7 yards per game. The Jets were bad, but Smith was immediately relegated to a bench role until this season.
Even the Seahawks weren’t sold he’d play this well, pitting him in a competition with Drew Lock after trading Russell Wilson. Yet, they stumbled upon a legitimately good QB in his ninth season in the league at 32 years old. Now, Seattle will likely have to franchise tag him or offer him a contract similar to the one Ryan Tannehill earned after his first season with the Tennessee Titans.
The biggest roadblock for Smith has been his inconsistency in producing big numbers and not being the focal point of the offense each week. From Weeks 6 through 8, he had no more than 212 yards in any one game. Similarly, he had 195 yards and 197 yards, respectively, in the first two weeks. Those don’t compare favorably to his competition.
Smith is a respectable longshot, but he’s truly on the outside looking in. Allen suffering a potentially major elbow injury could take him out of the race. Tagovailoa’s own injury history isn’t promising either, but he’s outplayed Smith to this point. Mahomes and Hurts have stronger arguments as well.
If nothing else, Smith has earned a multi-year contract and has the Seahawks well ahead of where we expected them to be. They’re not in a rebuild, but actually upgraded at quarterback thanks to their amazing rookie class and Smith’s improvement.
That may be all the franchise gets this year, but it’s a whole lot better than where they were a year ago.
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