- Cam Newton’s MVP odds fell from +2600 after an uninspiring showing in a 30-27 loss to the Rams
- Ben Roethlisberger’s chances took a similar tumble from +2400 after a 33-3 shellacking by the Patriots
- Can either QB reverse course and make a charge for MVP?
The first week of the NFL season was a fun mix of young stars like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson wowing and old veterans like Tom Brady and Drew Brees showing they’ve still got it. And while Patrick Mahomes is still the runaway favorite, there was some shakeups in the NFL MVP odds, including the big fall for two other veteran passers.
2019 NFL MVP Odds
*Odds taken 9/11/19
Are Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton a look for MVP at these longer odds? Let’s explore.
Bearish on Big Ben
I came into the season with low expectations for Large Benjamin. While QBs like Brady and Brees continue to thrive into their 40s, the shape Roethlisberger is in, he can barely outrun a Roomba let alone Father Time.
While he put up gaudy passing yards last season, he was aided by a receiving core that put up a ton of yards after the catch. Without AB, and the space that creates for JuJu Smith-Schuster on the other side, this passing game just won’t be as explosive. And even if the Steelers can march it down the field at the same rate, they need their QB to step up in the red zone after leading the league in INTs inside the 20 in 2018.
Even at the height of his powers, Roethisberger was never in MVP conversations. Arguably his finest season came in 2014, when he played all 16 games, led the league in passing yards, threw 32 TDs to 9 interceptions and led the Steelers to an AFC North title and 11-5 record. He didn’t get a single vote. Nobody likes Big Ben.
Most disliked NFL players in poll of general population by @EpollResearch: 1. Kaepernick, 2. Jameis, 3. Suh, 4. Brady, 5. Roethlisberger
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 21, 2016
Because he’s so inconsistent and injury-prone, he’s just not a good MVP bet. His odds will undoubtedly drop after he lights up a Seattle D that Andy Dalton torched for a career high 418 passing yards, so if you want on the Big Ben train, now is the time. But he’ll never crack the top five candidates this season, so why would you want on that train?
Will Newton Succumb to Gravity?
For those that were worried about Newton’s shoulder (this writer’s hand shoots upward like he’s trying to get picked from a magic show audience), last week did little to curb those concerns. His longest Week 1 attempt in terms of air yards traveled just 26. Newton insists he can still huck it deep, which just makes it all the more likely that he can’t.
Cam Newton on throwing more deep balls… pic.twitter.com/6LPywhtlIJ
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) September 10, 2019
Why wouldn’t you want everyone to think you have a noodle arm? Have safeties crash the box expecting you can’t beat them deep before… POW! Curtis Samuel for 80. Why? Because he can’t make those throws consistently.
And even if his shoulder isn’t affecting his passing (it is), it’s certainly affecting the Panthers willingness to run him. Newton had just three rush attempts in Week 1 (only one designed run) for a career-low -2 yards. While his passing stats in 2015 were great, a huge reason he took home the MVP that year was what he did with his legs (636 rushing yards, 10 TDs).
Newton as a pocket passer alone isn’t a good bet to make the Pro Bowl let alone win an MVP. Right now, the way Christian McCaffrey is playing, Cam’s not even the most valuable player in his own offense. He’s a flat-out stay away. Newton that is.
Where’s the Value?
Mahomes looks poised to kill it again this season, but voters get bored of the same old thing. There’s always a push to make some non-QB candidate a thing, like JJ Watt or Todd Gurley. I could see McCaffrey being the non-QB candidate everyone fawns over this year. The Panthers look like a decent enough squad and the all purpose back will cruise over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. In terms of longshots, that’s where I’d look versus just a “meh” quarterback like Jared Goff.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.