Saints-Cowboys shakes up the MVP race

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Before Thursday night, Saints quarterback Drew Brees had become the odds-on favorite to win his first ever NFL MVP award. After Thursday night, it’s slightly more complicated.

Brees had a rough game in a big spot, capped with a head-scratching interception that came on a drive that still could have resulted in the team’s eleventh win of the season.

He completed 18 of 28 passes for only 127 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Throw in one touchdown pass and one pick, and Brees had a passer rating of 71.6, his lowest in nearly two years.

Given that the decidedly non-Brees performance from Brees came in front of the biggest audience in Thursday Night Football history, it definitely becomes a factor in the looming MVP vote. And it takes a chunk out of what recently seemed to be an inside-track candidacy for the future Hall of Famer who has never won the prize.

Apart from boosting the chances of guys like Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, and one or more of the Rams’ stars who merit consideration (Gurley, Goff, Donald), the Dallas win over the previously invincible Saints pushes Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott closer toward the fringes of the argument.

The topic came up last week, after Elliott’s 86-touches-in-12-day moved the Cowboys from 3-5 to 6-5. Then there’s the fact that Elliott convinced his teammates to treat each game as a “must” win, and they’ve responded.

Performance plus leadership equals value. Elliott, who had a quiet-for-him-but-still-impressive 136 yards from scrimmage last night, deserves consideration, especially if he and the Cowboys keep doing what they’ve been doing.

And here’s the inescapable reality. Even after the next 15 games are played over the balance of Week 13, a full 25 percent of the season will remain on the books. Which means that most if not all of the postseason awards will remain up for grabs.

Not that any of it matters to the candidates. The only postseason award any of them care about is the trophy that will be presented at the end of the game that will be played in Atlanta come early February.

But if Elliott, who curiously gets omitted when the Cowboys talk about contract extensions, could win the MVP award, that would be an important development for his financial future, in Dallas or elsewhere.

27 responses to “Saints-Cowboys shakes up the MVP race

  1. As good a year as Elliot is having it’s not nearly enough in comparison to what Mahomes, Brees, Luck and Gurly have done for their teams. Unless you have money to burn you’re not placing a bet on Elliot becoming the MVP.

  2. It will be fun to see the media attempt to bury the Saints today…. Nobody in that industry is capable of looking at the whole picture. They’re like two year olds with a three minute attention span.

  3. “Not that any of it matters to the candidates. The only postseason award any of them care about is the trophy that will be presented at the end of the game that will be played in Atlanta come early February.”

    Surely you are not that naive. That may be what they say, but a MVP helps down the road when contract time is up. And despite the rhetoric what we most often see is players going for the money not the glory. Much as Brees has done several times. And rightfully so. BUT especially for non QB’s stats = awards, awards = money , money = #1 priority. Despite what players say for public consumption.The only players who somehow get over credited for winning a S Bowl are QB’s. As if they won them all by themselves. Right eLI???

  4. The saints record and Brees’s “MVP credentials” are a product of the crappy teams they have played. I am not sure they would be a playoff team in the AFC

  5. I guess defensive players are never considered valuable enough for MVP consideration. Yeah, give the award to the guys no one is allowed to touch without drawing a penalty. That makes sense!

  6. Reason #678,908 why starting MVP discussions in week 2 are pointless…yet the media will drive the narrative with the guy they want for months so that it’s inevitable who wins it.

    It was a bad game for Brees, it happens. One bad game shouldn’t remove someone from the discussion.

  7. dualprime says:
    November 30, 2018 at 10:41 am
    I guess defensive players are never considered valuable enough for MVP consideration. Yeah, give the award to the guys no one is allowed to touch without drawing a penalty. That makes sense!

    He did mention Donald.

  8. Mahomes lost to the Rams and the Patriots by a total of 6 points and both games on the road with Mahomes throwing for a total of 11 touchdowns in the the two loses. Brees lost to the Buccaneers and the Cowboys and he threw what like 4 touchdowns, who do you think the MVP should be?

  9. As mediocre as Brees looked last night, it would be foolish to dismiss what the Cowboys did on defense and what the Saints didn’t do to adjust. The Cowboys played lights out defense and the Saints had no answer for it. Brees was harried all night and his coaches didn’t adjust to help him out. The Saints were outcoached and the Cowboys defense just seemed to want it more.

  10. He’s curiously omitted because they have more time. It’s called a 5th year option. He’s in his 3RD year. There’s a full two years before contract talks, and they could even use the franchise tag. That’s 3 more years before a deal.

    Dak was drafted in the 4th rd, which has no 5th year option to the team. Because next year will be his ‘contract year’, it makes sense to begin that negotiation now for a new deal. Particularly with quarterbacks, contracts increase year over year. So they’re smart to do a deal early if they can.

  11. Mahomes threw 4 TD’s and 2 INT’s against the Pats and 6 TD’s, 3 INT’s and lost 2 fumbles against the Rams and had a chance to win the game when he threw his 2nd INT.

    What about Deshaun Watson?

  12. Brees didn’t look MVP-ish last night. One or two bad games won’t kill his chances, but yesterday certainly left a bad impression.

    As for Elliott, he might be in the MVP conversation except the real star of the season for Dallas has been their defense. Without them playing lights-out, Elliott’s contribution would barely be noticed.

  13. What we’ve learned is when you punch the Saints in the mouth they fold immediately. Brees looked rattled all game yesterday. He should still be the MVP though.

  14. tedbundysson says:
    November 30, 2018 at 10:48 am

    He did mention Donald.
    Good call out! I missed his name. Okay, now we have ONE defensive player and a bunch of offensive guys.

  15. So your telling me, according to patriot fans Tom Brady is the best ever, the “best ever” isn’t even considered for league MVP. Interesting.

    By Patriot fans, did you mean to say an overwhelming majority of the football community? Its always Brady vs everyone (Montana, Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Unitas, etc.) and year after year the arguments get dumber and dumber. Yes, Tom Brady is having a down year. At 40-years old that tends to happen. He still has his team at 8-3 and will be playing in another post season. The guy is the GOAT and its really not even close.

  16. Montana played in an era of real football and win 4 superbowls, no interceptions and never lost a superbowl. Brady plays in a flag football era where qbs can’t be touched and referees help bail out the qb when defenses are shutting qbs down. Montana never got free first downs for roughing the qb. If Montana played his whole career in today’s soft flag football era he would be unstoppable and would have close to 10 superbowl wins. It’s not even close. Montana is the greatest qb of all time and it’s not even close. Brady would be lucky to have one ring in Montanas era. And wouldn’t survive as long as he did in today’s flag football era. Brady would’ve been killed by all the great pass rushers that were never flagged for roughing the qb. Today’s rules are a joke, and has made qbs into whiny divas always looking for a roughing call. Montana and terry Bradshaw are number one and number two on the all time greatest qbs with four superbowls each and won them without the referees help in the toughest eras of real football. Elway is number 3 on the all time greatest qbs with 5 superbowl appearances and two rings back to back to end his career also in the era of real football without the referee help. Bradys rings are a joke, in a flag football era where qbs can’t be touched and his rings have asterisks from all the cheating scandals, and tuck rule referee help again that was a fumble. And he plays in the weakest division of all time that guarantees him 6 free wins every year and a free pass to the playoffs. Brady is the most overrated qb of all time.

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