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Analyzing the leading contenders for NFL MVP ahead of Week 9 of the 2023 season

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With the midway point of the season almost here, the NFL MVP race 2023 is starting to heat up. By now, most of the top NFL MVP candidates have started to assert themselves as contenders. But there’s always a chance that a surprise contender can throw themselves into the NFL MVP race in 2023 late in the year. 

NFL MVP race 2023

But who are the MVP contenders who have stood out thus far? Naturally, the MVP race has turned into a competition for the best quarterback. That being said, this is a league filled with great quarterbacks. Let’s look at who’s standing out the most and who are the leading favorites in the NFL MVP race in 2023 after Week 8 of the season.

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey is the only non-quarterback who has a chance to win MVP. That being said, he’s still a long shot, especially after he’s been held to under 60 rushing yards in three straight games.

Of course, McCaffrey is also a key part of the San Francisco passing attack and continues to find the end zone. Obviously, with the 49ers losing three in a row, McCaffrey’s MVP chances have become even longer. Nevertheless, his performance during the first half of the season warrants at least some consideration.

Joe Burrow

After a slow start to the season, Joe Burrow has some catching up to do in the MVP race. However, his performance in Week 8 against the 49ers was a sign that he has recovered from the leg injury that appeared to hamper him early in the season.


If he’s back to full health and can continue to perform at that level, Burrow can make up ground in the MVP race quickly. In recent years, he’s established himself as one of the elite quarterbacks in the game.

That’s exactly what he looked like in Week 8 when he threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns against the San Francisco defense. After that kind of performance, the league should be on notice that Burrow and the Bengals are back.

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence might be the most surprising inclusion in the MVP race this year. But with the Jags getting off to a 6-2 start, he has to be mentioned.

The numbers aren’t eye-popping, although Lawrence has been efficient. Ultimately, team success is going to be a big factor in the MVP race, which could work to Lawrence’s benefit. The Jags have a favorable schedule within the AFC South. If they end up with 13 or 14 wins, Lawrence will be mentioned among the top contenders for MVP.

Josh Allen

It’s somehow easy to overlook Josh Allen with so many other elite quarterbacks in the NFL. The Bills have certainly had a couple of poor games with questions about the health of Allen’s shoulder holding him and Buffalo back at times.


Nevertheless, Allen undoubtedly has the skill set and the supporting cast needed to mount an MVP campaign. At the moment, he’s trailing the top candidates by a noticeable margin. But he’s surely someone who warrants close watching during the second half of the season.

Lamar Jackson

Everyone knows Lamar Jackson is an exceptional running quarterback, but he’s noticeably improved as a passer this year. If nothing else, his accuracy has taken a big step forward.

If Jackson can maintain his strong passing numbers while also being a menace with his legs, he’ll continue to be an intriguing MVP candidate. With Baltimore becoming the leader in the AFC North and a Super Bowl contender, Jackson has also become a serious MVP candidate.

Tua Tagovailoa

If he can stay healthy the whole season, Tua Tagovailoa figures to be a factor in the MVP race. There’s no question that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league currently. Of course, it helps to have Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle catching the ball.

But Tagovailoa is also completing more than 70% of his passes while also leading the league in passing yards after eight weeks. That means he’s been accurate with the ball and has been able to create big plays. Tagovailoa is even tied for the most touchdown passes in the league after eight weeks. Statistically, he has a case for MVP that stands up. He just has to stay healthy and prove he can play like this all season. 

Jalen Hurts

A year ago, Jalen Hurts was close to having an MVP season, and he’s putting himself in a similar position this year. He’s taking full advantage of the exceptional supporting cast the Philadelphia offense has around him.

As a result, the Eagles have scored the third-most points in the NFL. Hurts, in particular, has been exceptional, especially in recent weeks. The more the Eagles are able to establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC, the more likely Hurts is to become a serious MVP candidate.

Patrick Mahomes

Despite an uneven performance by him and the Chiefs in Week 8, Patrick Mahomes is the betting favorite for MVP. He’s once again proving to be virtually impossible to defend over 60 minutes.

While turnovers have become somewhat of a concern, he’s helping the Chiefs to win games despite Kansas City’s subpar receiving corps. Ultimately, winning is going to play a key role in enabling Mahomes to win MVP. He’s also a known commodity who has set the bar high in past seasons. That means the onus is on the rest of the MVP candidates to prove that they are better than Mahomes, which is no easy task.

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