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  • We’re a quarter of the way through the 2018 NFL season, which is the perfect time to evaluate the early frontrunners for NFL MVP—and the top candidate so far stands out above the rest.
By Jonathan Jones
October 04, 2018

A quarter of the season is now complete, so before we enter the next quarter tonight when the Patriots host the Colts on Thursday Night Football, let’s vote on the NFL MVP so far.

I polled editors and writers at The MMQB, asking for their top 3 picks for MVP through the first four weeks of the season. I weighted the picks using the age-old formula of one point for third place, two points for second place and three points for first place. Roll the tape…

3. Rams QB Jared Goff (10 total points, 1 first-place vote)

There are just two undefeated teams left in the NFL and Goff captains one of them. He and head coach Sean McVay have made us forget all the bad stuff we wrote and said about Goff in his rookie year under Jeff Fisher. McVay has unlocked the former No. 1 pick and he is dealing to the tune of 10.5 yards per attempt and a completion percentage of 72.9. An upcoming three-game road stretch to Seattle, Denver and San Francisco will see if Goff moves up or down this list.

2. Bears EDGE Khalil Mack (17 total points, 1 first-place vote)

Mack has been, by far, the league’s best defender through the first month of the season, and his five sacks through four games hardly tell the tale. He has a strip sack in every game to go along with a fumble recovery, interception, two passes defended and a touchdown. He’s threatening to become the first defender since Lawrence Taylor to win NFL MVP. Jon Gruden trading Mack last month was hard to believe then, and it’s even harder to believe now.

1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (27 total points, 7 first-place votes)

Who else? He’s 4–0 as the starter and can throw completions with either hand. He’s averaging a tidy 300 yards passing per game and throwing a touchdown on more than 10% of every attempt. Mahomes has yet to throw an interception after all that talk during training camp about his miscues. This pace is not sustainable, of course. For as great as the second-year quarterback is, he will not finish with 4,800 passing yards, 56 passing touchdowns and no interceptions. But he’s led his Chiefs to wins against four solid teams with dates against AFC title game participants Jacksonville and New England in the next two weeks. One year after Tom Brady became the oldest MVP in league history, the 23-year-old Mahomes has a chance to be the youngest MVP since Dan Marino took home the award in 1984.

Honorable mention: Saints RB Alvin Kamara (3 points, 1 first-place vote), Saints QB Drew Brees (2 points), Rams RB Todd Gurley (1 point).

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins have teamed up to give their perspective on Baker Mayfield’s debut as an NFL starter. … Conor Orr notes that quarterbacks are dealing touchdowns at a never-seen-before pace. … Andy Benoit finds out what’s plaguing the two teams he picked to go to the Super Bowl: the one-win Falcons and Steelers. … and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: The Rams occupy the top spot in our latest power rankings. … Tim Layden’s cover story for this week’s magazine on the league’s roughing calls and what they mean going forward. … Our Jenny Vrentas prepares you for the history Drew Brees is likely to make in Week 5.


PRESS COVERAGE

1. ESPN has a great interactive story on the upcoming Drew Brees record.

2. The Ringer’s Kevin Clark peeks at the future of the league where its best players barely have any leverage.

3. PFT’s Mike Florio says the NFL is botching its handling of the Mychael Kendricks’ case.

4. Poor Falcons. Matt Ryan is likely the only quarterback in league history to pass for at least 10 touchdowns and have a passer rating of 110 or better through the first four games and have a record of 1-3 or worse.

5. How Mike Leach fooled Texas with a fake play script in the 1999 Red River Rivalry and almost upset the Longhorns.

6. It seems like Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow has been in college forever. NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread profiles the clutch wideout here.


THE KICKER

I’m not saying don’t watch tonight’s Colts-Patriots game, but why would you? The Colts will be without T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle for Andrew Luck to throw to. Ryan Kelly, Anthony Costanzo and Adam Vinatieri are all questionable with various injuries. It could get ugly really quickly.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

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