The Dallas Cowboys are in a unique position. With only five games left in the NFL season, the team has the best record in the NFL. On top of that, Dallas may just have two of the most impressive players in the entire league in the same backfield. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, both rookies, are in the discussion of MVP honors. But which one deserves the award more? You can easily make the argument for both. You can make a pretty good argument that it should be neither as they both feed off of one another and play behind the league’s best offensive line.
While all that is true, if you like to bet, I suggest you put your money down on Prescott and not Elliott. Below are the current favorites to win the NFL’s MVP award from Oddsharks.com:
Tom Brady (NE) +275
Russell Wilson (SEA) +350
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) +450
Matt Ryan (ATL) +600
Derek Carr (OAK) +900
Dak Prescott (DAL) +1400
Matthew Stafford (DET) +1600
The first (and maybe the most important) reason why Prescott is a solid bet to win the MVP; he’s a quarterback. Nine of the last ten MVP winners have all been quarterbacks, except for Adrian Peterson in 2012 when he rushed for the second most yards of all time after returning from a serious knee injury. As good as Ezekiel Elliott has been, he’s not going to come close to Peterson’s 2,109 rushing yards while averaging six yards per carry.
Besides just being a quarterback, Prescott is having a fantastic season. He currently has 23 total touchdowns and has only thrown two interceptions. But more importantly, he’s led the Cowboys to a 10-1 record. That’s important because there has never been a quarterback to win the MVP who hasn’t led his team to the playoffs. But just getting to the playoffs won’t be enough. Prescott will have to have better stats than the other quarterbacks who will lead their teams to the playoffs, such as Brady, Wilson, Carr, etc.
But the rookie QB is also chasing ghosts. Every year, we compare the current MVP contenders to the past winners. In order for Prescott to win MVP, his stats need to resemble something like the past five winners at the quarterback position:
Last 5 MVP winners at QB and their stats that season: pic.twitter.com/kij2quhUBA
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 28, 2016
Back in 2014, I created a checklist of sorts that I believed Tony Romo needed to hit in order to have a chance to win the NFL’s MVP honors. Here’s that list.
- Have a completion percentage above 65 percent
- Have well over 4,000 total passing and rushing yards
- Have at least 40 total touchdowns
- Throw fewer than 10 interceptions
- Have a passer rating over 100
- Win at least 12 games.
As of right now, Prescott will likely hit all of those categories, minus the 40 touchdown total. But, Prescott does have a few other things working to his advantage. Like I mentioned earlier, the Dallas Cowboys have the best record in the NFL. The Associated Press loves to give the MVP to the best player on the league’s best team. If the Cowboys can finish 13-3 or better, that will only increase Prescott’s odds.
The Mississippi State product also has a QBR of almost 83. If that number stays with the five games left, Prescott will have a higher QBR than all of the previous MVP winners, except for Aaron Rodgers in 2011. Prescott also has a few fourth quarter comebacks and signature wins on national television which will help his case.
At 14-1, Dak Prescott is a steal. All Prescott and the Cowboys’ have to do is to continue to win and not play any different than he has all year. What will help Prescott is that the Cowboys play a few more nationally televised games against some good opponents and if Prescott can manage to win those games and play within himself, the MVP will be his to lose.