If a quarterback is on pace to throw 38 touchdown passes and six interceptions, finish the season with a 116.5 passer rating and lead his team to a 12-4 record, then he has to be the MVP favorite, right?
Not when that quarterback is Philip Rivers, who is having the best year of his career with the Chargers but isn’t really a factor in the MVP discussions. According to OddsShark, the overwhelming favorite to win the Most Valuable Player award is Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is at -150 odds, followed by Drew Brees at +300 and Todd Gurley at +400. Rivers is way down there at +2000, making him an extreme long shot.
The biggest problem for Rivers is that he plays in the same division as Mahomes, who has set the world on fire this season. But Rivers has been close to Mahomes this season: Mahomes is on pace to throw more touchdown passes (52) than Rivers, but Mahomes is also on pace to throw more interceptions (12) than Rivers. Their passer ratings are virtually identical, with Mahomes at 116.7, less than one ratings point ahead of Rivers.
Mahomes and the Chiefs beat Rivers and the Chargers in Week One, and ever since then, Rivers and the Chargers have been playing catch-up. But as long as the Chargers can stay within one game in the loss column of the Chiefs, they’ll get a huge opportunity when the teams meet at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday, December 13. That game could be for the AFC West title, and it could be Rivers’ opportunity to state his case for the first MVP award of his career.