The Philadelphia Eagles are really good. I can prove this in about 100 different ways if I wanted to, but I think many would agree that the one of, if not the biggest reason for this is the quantum leap in level of play by Jalen Hurts from last season to this one.

Hurts was always an elite weapon as a runner, even when he had severe limitations as a passer as early as last year. That has not changed this year, as he has 609 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns through 12 games. What has changed, however, is his efficiency and versatility as a passer. Look at the improvement from 2021 to 2022:

Statistic20212022
Completion %61.368.1
Touchdown %3.75.6
Interception %2.10.8
Yards per Attempt7.38.2
Yards per Completion11.912.1
Yards per Game209.6245.0
Passer Rating87.2108.3
QBR48.569.2

 

Most of those are drastic improvements. 

One of Hurts’ biggest flaws last year was his inability to throw while scrambling to his left, his non-dominant side. He was way more dangerous when scrambling to his right compared to standing in the pocket or running left. Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers figured this out and executed a perfect gameplan for Hurts in their wild card round playoff matchup, as they completely committed the defensive line toward preventing him from rolling out to his right, forcing him to either beat them from the pocket or roll to his uncomfortable side. As a result, Hurts was terrible in that game, and the Eagles got destroyed.

Becoming a more balanced and versatile passer was an offseason focus for Hurts, and his hard work paid off. He has sprayed the ball all over the field at an efficient rate all season, and obviously he did not forget how to run with the ball in the meantime. If you commit to stopping him from beating you on the ground, he can dice you up from the pocket. If you commit to stopping A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, he will tuck the ball and take off. He is an absolute headache to gameplan for, and it shows when you watch him play. Perhaps all you need to know: Against the Packers, the Eagles ran it 49 times and threw it 28. The very next week against the Titans, they ran it 24 times and threw it 41. The offense scored at least 35 points in both games. Whether you need to throw it all day or run it all day, Hurts will beat you.

All of that sounds like a pretty good MVP case to me, and yet Hurts is not even the betting favorite to win the award. FanDuel has Patrick Mahomes at +115 odds, while Hurts is at +150 (no one else has better than +900 odds at the moment, so it is basically a two-man race). Patrick Mahomes is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, is a physical freak of nature, and does not have a weakness in his game. With that being said, he is absolutely not the MVP over Jalen Hurts. Here is the breakdown between the two:

StatisticPatrick MahomesJalen Hurts
Completion %65.768.1
Passing Yards38082940
Completions308243
Pass Attempts469357
Passing Touchdowns3020
Passer Rating104.9108.3
Interceptions83
Rushing Yards283609
Rushing Touchdowns29

 

Mahomes has more yards and touchdown passes, but he is doing it on way more attempts and less efficiently. Additionally, while he is certainly not a statue in the pocket, he is a small fraction of what Hurts is as a rushing threat. I am certainly not the guy who puts all of his stock into QB wins, but Mahomes is 9-3 and threw the game losing interception in two of those losses. Hurts is 11-1, and you can make a reasonable argument that he has not played a bad game all year, while he has certainly been the main reason for winning several games this season. 

Jalen Hurts is the engine that runs the best team in the NFL. He is the NFL MVP, and it really should not even be a debate.

 

 

Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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