Patricks Mahomes is having another phenomenal year. With his skill set, the weapons around him, and Andy Reid’s offensive genius, he has led the Kansas City Chiefs to a 14-1 record. Having already won one NFL MVP Award, Mahomes is looking to add another to his trophy case. He is in a two-person race with Aaron Rodgers, who is also having a sensational season.
The MVP race is coming down to the final week of the season. Both quarterbacks have a chance to display their greatness for one more game, helping them gain some MVP votes. Unfortunately for Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs have ruined his MVP chances entering Week 17.
How close is the MVP race between Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers?
What Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers have done this season has been simply remarkable. They have carried their teams to No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences, and the Green Bay Packers can clinch the one-seed with a win against the Chicago Bears. The Chiefs already clinched the AFC’s top seed, doing so last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
Looking at the numbers Mahomes and Rodgers have put up this season shows that they are in a class of their own at quarterback. They rank in the top two for passing touchdowns, yards per game, and QBR per ESPN. Patrick Mahomes has thrown one more interception than Rodgers, but he has thrown for considerably more passing yards. The numbers speak for themselves but watching both quarterbacks play this season does more explaining than numbers ever could.
Mahomes has been the MVP favorite for the majority of the season. However, he and the Chiefs haven’t looked like their dominant selves the past month. Rodgers has stayed on fire, putting together masterful performances throughout December. His Week 16 game against the Tennessee Titans was his most impressive, throwing for 231 yards and four touchdowns in the snow at Lambeau Field.
In the past few games, Rodgers’ brilliance has made him the new MVP favorite going into the NFL’s final week. According to William Hill’s Sportsbook, Rodgers is -380 favorite in states that are still offering MVP odds. Mahomes could use Week 17 as a statement game and orchestrate an extraordinary performance to become the MVP favorite again. The Chiefs have other ideas, tarnishing any MVP hopes for Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes won’t be playing in Week 17
In what is essentially a meaningless game for the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes won’t take the field. The Chiefs are resting him and will start Chad Henne in his place. Kansas City will likely sit more starters, as tight end Travis Kelce could also sit out. The Chiefs don’t want to risk injuring their star players before the playoffs with the one-seed locked up.
“Coach Reid has done this a long time, and [offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy] has done this a long time. All those guys have done this for a long time, and they know what’s best for the team,” said Mahomes per ESPN. Despite him not playing, Mahomes will be heavily involved in game planning and supporting Henne, who hasn’t started since 2014.
With Mahomes sitting out the final game of 2020, he will be leaving MVP voters with more to be desired. His play has been fantastic all year, but there have been some hiccups down the stretch. In December, he’s thrown four interceptions, twice the amount he’s thrown all season. He also has completed less than 65 percent of his passes in three out of four games this month.
It would’ve been nice if the Chiefs let Mahomes play. They could’ve at least allowed him to fight for the MVP. However, the Chiefs holding him out show that their eyes are on the bigger picture.
The Chiefs are focused on the Super Bowl
Holding out players when your team has Super Bowl aspirations is pretty common in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers are doing the same, resting Ben Roethlisberger and others in their season finale against the Cleveland Browns. Both teams understand the importance of rest, making sure their players are ready for the postseason push.
Mahomes not playing this week allows him two full weeks of rest before he retakes the field. That will be beneficial for him, as the Chiefs haven’t had a week off since their bye in Week 10. Since the bye, Kansas City has played in some challenging games. Getting time off to recalibrate and focus will make Mahomes even deadlier in the postseason.
In a season where COVID-19 impacted schedules and challenged players mentally and physically, Kansas City is taking the conservative approach. They are the favorites to win the Super Bowl, and that is where their focus is on. Patricks Mahomes has trusted the Chiefs’ coaching staff up to this point in his career, and it has paid off. So why not continue to do so, even if it means potentially missing out on his second MVP trophy.
All stats courtesy of ESPN