When Micah Parsons disparaged Jalen Hurts‘ MVP case ahead of the crucial Christmas Eve matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, it felt as if he was making a decent point. Sure, Hurts has been fantastic in his 14 starts this season and deserves to be a top MVP candidate, but how much of his improved play has to do with the loaded roster around him? Parsons was simply arguing that Patrick Mahomes was accomplishing more with less talent than Hurts was with the Eagles, and that was hard to debate.
But it’s not anymore.
After Gardner Minshew led the Eagles to a season-low 10 points in an inexcusable loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 17, it became clear that Parsons was dead wrong about Hurts and what he means to this team.
Micah Parsons believes Jalen Hurts is only an MVP candidate because of the talent around him
The NFL MVP award has been a two-horse race between Mahomes and Hurts for the second half of the season. Mahomes has the statistical advantage with his league-leading 5,048 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns, but Hurts leads all quarterbacks with 13 rushing touchdowns and has the best record in the NFL at 13-1 in his 14 starts.
Both QBs were neck-and-neck in the MVP odds before Hurts suffered a shoulder sprain and missed two games, but Parsons didn’t think Hurts ever belonged in the conversation.
In an interview with Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller on The Voncast podcast last month, Parsons argued Hurts doesn’t deserve the MVP because he isn’t the primary reason for the Eagles’ success this season.
“If we look at the Eagles, is it Hurts or the team? It’s system and team,” Parsons said. “I’m not trying to make no enemies. I just love the game so much, and I understand it so much that when things are off, I can’t hold it in. I almost gotta say something.”
Parsons was almost proven right when Minshew sliced up the Cowboys defense for 355 passing yards and 27 points in the Christmas Eve loss, but his theory fell flat in Week 17.
Micah Parsons was dead wrong about Jalen Hurts and the Eagles
Heading into Philadelphia’s Week 17 matchup against New Orleans, the Eagles seemed primed to cruise to a victory and lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Since it doesn’t matter who’s playing quarterback for this star-studded roster, the Eagles were going to stomp an inferior team with Minshew running the show. Right?
Minshew completed just 18 of his 32 pass attempts for 274 yards and one touchdown in the game. Those stats would’ve looked much worse if not for a heave to A.J. Brown in the third quarter that the wide receiver took 78 yards to the house.
The Eagles offense went scoreless in a half for the first time all season. It didn’t pick up a first down until 12 seconds before halftime. The Eagles somehow fought back to make it a three-point game in the fourth quarter, but Minshew had two blunders Hurts never would’ve made to cost Philly the game.
With less than nine minutes remaining in the game, the backup QB failed to sneak for a 4th-and-1 conversion at midfield. Hurts has been automatic sneaking for first downs and touchdowns all season, and that’s a huge reason why Philadelphia’s offense has been able to move the chains so consistently. Later in the quarter, Minshew threw an abhorrent pick-six to Marshon Lattimore on a pass attempt Hurts never would’ve considered making. That stretched the lead to 10 and essentially ended the game.
Minshew wasn’t decisive in the pocket, was a non-factor in the running game, and took a season-high six sacks. He led the Eagles to a season-low 10 points and lost to an opposing offense that managed just 13 points itself. With Hurts on the field this year, the Eagles haven’t scored fewer than 17 in a game.
Plainly and simply, the Eagles don’t lose that game if Hurts is under center. Philadelphia would have locked up the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs, and it would’ve had the option to rest players in Week 18 against the New York Giants. Now, the Eagles need to beat the Giants or watch the Cowboys lose to the Washington Commanders to avoid falling to the No. 5 seed in the NFC.
If Sunday’s loss taught us anything, it’s that Hurts deserves the MVP just as much as Mahomes, and Parsons might not “understand” the game of football as much as he believes he does.