It’s finally time to begin our 2021 season predictions. The 2021 season will go down as one of the most memorable seasons in NFL history as this is the first 17 game season. We could see longstanding records absolutely demolished. As records get broken, the beneficiaries will be the quarterbacks. We start with our 2021 MVP Predictions, with an incredibly stacked field of candidates .
Here are five players I could see taking home 2021 MVP honors:
QB PATRICK MAHOMES – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
This was the easiest of predictions, Patrick Mahomes will continue to top all of these lists for the two decades. Mahomes is looking to make his third consecutive Super Bowl, in just his fourth season as a starting quarterback. In 2020, Mahomes threw for 38 TDs and 4700 passing yards. This was accomplished behind a bad offensive line, which included two opt outs and three players suffering season ending injuries. The complete overhaul of his offensive line, in addition to weapons, such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce make Patrick Mahomes the definitive MVP favorite.
Mahomes is the reason I don’t have Justin Herbert on this list. Herbert could have an incredibly year, but I don’t believe the Chargers are going to be competitive in the AFC West. That’s not to say the Chargers can’t or won’t make the playoffs, but Herbert is facing the same problem as Josh Allen. Both of those quarterbacks will have to finish with better statistics and more team success than Mahomes, which is something I don’t believe will happen in 2021.
Patrick Mahomes may run into voter fatigue in the next few years, but I don’t think we are at that point yet. If the Chiefs offensive line is worthy of the assets spent on them, Mahomes could break a ton of records this season. The Chiefs had one weakness on offense and they spent an incredible amount resources to fix it. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility he flirts with 60 touchdowns this season.
QB DAK PRESCOTT – DALLAS COWBOYS
Dak Prescott is my pick to win MVP in 2021. Prescott got off to a great start in 2020, before suffering a season ending ankle injury. Prescott may have been playing the best football of his career with a lot of dysfunction surrounding him. The Dallas Cowboys defense was awful to start 2020 and Head Coach Mike McCarthy didn’t look much better than Jason Garrett.
Prescott and Cowboys will benefit from a healthier offensive line, which dealt will a multitude of injuries in 2020. A healthier offensive line to go along with a the dangerous playmakers on offense, makes the Cowboys a must watch team in 2021.
With playmakers such as:
Amari Cooper – WR
Michael Gallup – WR
CeeDee Lamb – WR
These weapons are paired with Ezekiel Elliot, who looks to bounce back from a challenging 2020 season. Elliot’s backup, Tony Pollard, also shouldn’t be forgotten about. Pollard has flashed playmaking ability as a running back and return man.
A healthy Dak Prescott gives Dallas more than enough talent to have an explosive offense in 2021, making Dak a top contender for MVP.
The NFC East is quite possibly the worst division in the NFL, which is to the benefit of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have the best unit of any team of in the NFC East, including Washington’s defense. As good as Washington’s defense could be, defense can vary from year to year, which leaves me skeptical of Washington heading into 2021. Dak Prescott also has the benefit of being the best quarterback in NFC East, by far. Dak’s best competition is Daniel Jones, which isn’t saying a ton. I like Jalen Hurts, but the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles are a mystery. Washington is stuck hoping they get good Ryan Fitzpatrick or that Taylor Heinicke is a diamond in the rough.
The Cowboys have had several disappointing seasons leading up to 2021, however, I believe Dak is set up to have a special 2021.
Dak Prescott and Cowboys have all the ingredients to finally make a run in the playoffs.
QB JOSH ALLEN – BUFFALO BILLS
Josh Allen broke out in 2020, making him an easy MVP candidate. A comparable 2021 would likely make Allen the definitive MVP favorite. The Buffalo Bills were able to win their first playoff game in two decades and emerged a threat in the AFC. The addition of Stefon Diggs immediately helped Allen improve. Diggs proved that he could be a number one receiver with Diggs leading the NFL in receiving for the 2020 season.
The two biggest areas of improvement for Josh Allen were his accuracy and his week to week consistency. Josh Allen’s completion percentage improved drastically in 2020. Allen went from 59% in 2019, all the way to 69% in 2020. This improvement encapsulated a newfound consistency. Allen started and finished the 2020 regular season strong, earning him second place in MVP votes. The Buffalo Bills were able to rely on all facets of Josh Allen’s game in 2020, which helped propel them to an AFC Championship game appearance.
One of the few things that could prevent Josh Allen from winning MVP is Patrick Mahomes. Josh Allen lost both head to head matchups against Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. In these two games, Allen arguably had his worst two games against the Chiefs in both losses. Losing to Mahomes again could severely hurt his MVP candidacy, especially if MVP the race comes down to Allen and Mahomes.
QB MATTHEW STAFFORD – LOS ANGELES RAMS
Matthew Stafford is at a crossroad in his NFL career. Stafford will either prove that he is one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks or labeled as a career stat complier. The Los Angeles Rams traded two first round picks for Matthew Stafford with the belief that he is a top tier quarterback. Stafford has only played in three playoffs games in his entire career, a number that could be matched with a successful season. The lack of playoff success would normally be a knock on a quarterback, but the Detroit Lions organizational dysfunction has prevented us from seeing Stafford in big moments. Stafford has an opportunity to put himself a top the NFL’s quarterback hierarchy by putting the Rams in title contention.
This is also an important year for Sean McVay, who looks to recapture the offensive magic from his first two years as Head Coach of the Rams.
The Rams have solid pieces on offense, but will need Stafford and McVay to be at their best to get this group to a championship level.
As of right now, I think Matt Stafford is this generation’s Warren Moon. Stafford has incredible statistical success, but lacks the playoff resume, even more so that Moon himself. Stafford had the misfortune of being drafted by a team, which saw the two best players in it’s franchise’s history retire early.
Stafford has yet to have his career defining moment, which is important when we start having a discussion about the Hall of Fame. It can be a player toughing it out through an injury or a memorable performance, but it needs to be something we associate with the player in a big moment. For example, Philip Rivers playing an undefeated Patriots team with a torn ACL, in the AFC Championship game. The Chargers ultimately lost, but everyone remembers the toughness shown by Rivers. Rivers and Stafford are comparable NFL quarterbacks, but Rivers has his memorable playoff moment.
It’s difficult to win MVP, but a Stafford MVP year would be validation to those that have always believed in him.
QB JOE BURROW – CINCINATTI BENGALS
Joe Burrow is my dark-horse pick for 2021 MVP. This might be a season too early, but the Bengals have a ton of young offensive talent. The two biggest question marks for the Bengals are their offensive line and their head coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals offensive line was a complete mess in 2020 and Zac Taylor is still the biggest mystery as it comes to NFL head coaches. If the Bengals line holds up, Burrow could be the surprise MVP winner that everyone is missing.
Don’t believe me? The Cincinnati Bengals have done a good job of acquiring young talent on offense, with players such as:
Joe Mixon – RB
Tyler Boyd – WR
Tee Higgins – WR
Ja’Marr Chase – WR (2021 First Round Pick)
I firmly believe that Burrow would win MVP if he and Baker Mayfield switched teams. The Bengals may be a year away, but wouldn’t shock me if they snuck into the playoffs this season. Burrow’s head coach, Zac Taylor, is still a mystery, but I haven’t seen anything that makes me think he’ll hold Burrow back. Although another losing season or Burrow injury may cause the Bengals to rethink his hiring.
Whether it’s 2021 or 2022, Burrow will emerge as a top quarterback in the AFC.
Reason not on list: Current playing status is unknown
Reason not on list: Patrick Mahomes
Reason not on List: Pete Carroll