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Jonathan Taylor’s NFL MVP Odds Improve After Monster Week 11 Performance; Tom Brady Now Leads

Bryan Thiel

by Bryan Thiel in NFL Football

Nov 22, 2021 · 6:38 AM PST

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts, rushes against Buffalo Bills
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) carries the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  • Jonathan Taylor’s five touchdown performance saw his 2021 NFL MVP odds dramatically improve
  • Josh Allen and Dak Prescott struggled while Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray were sidelined
  • Tom Brady took over as the NFL MVP favorite; we explore how the landscape changed in Week 11

The turmoil surrounding the 2021 NFL MVP odds continued on Sunday.

Josh Allen’s run atop the leaderboard came to a screeching half in Week 11. For the second time in three weeks, the Bills QB tossed up a dud, this time against the Indianapolis Colts.

And it was the running back on the other side that took advantage.

Jonathan Taylor rumbled for five TDs in a 41-15 thrashing of Allen’s Bills. Taylor barely made the cut in the MVP picture following Week 10. Now he’s a focal point in the discussion.

2021 NFL MVP Odds

Player Odds
Tom Brady, TB +300
Josh Allen, BUF +500
Dak Prescott, DAL +900
Aaron Rodgers, GB +900
Matthew Stafford, LAR +900
Justin Herbert, LAC +1000
Patrick Mahomes, KC +1000
Kyler Murray, ARZ +1000
Lamar Jackson, BAL +1200
Jonathan Taylor, IND +2500
Ryan Tannehill, TEN +5000
Joe Burrow, CIN +5000
Cooper Kupp, LAR +10000
Kirk Cousins, MIN +20000

Odds as of November 22nd from FanDuel

Taylor obviously made the biggest jump, finishing last week at +10000. Allen held a small lead over Tom Brady following Week 10 when he threw two TDs and an interception against the Jets. Now the lead belongs to Brady, who has been hovering within striking distance almost all season.

TB12 is in a cushy spot too. While the Buccaneers have had a bumpy two weeks, his NFL MVP odds have survived. That’s what 22 years of unparalleled dominance will get you. A Monday night meeting with the Giants gives him a chance to pad his stats.

Jonathan Taylor’s Stretch of Dominance

Until he was felled by a foot injury, Derrick Henry was the only non-QB worth mentioning in this space. He was having a season for the ages and the whole league was talking about him.

But after turning in 185 yards on 32 carries, with four rushing TDs and one receiving on Sunday, Jonathan Taylor is now that non-QB.

Taylor had a slow start to the season, rushing for 171 yards on 43 carries (4.07 YPC) and no TDs. Taylor didn’t score his first TD until Week 4 against the Dolphins, but since then he’s scored in each game. Entering Sunday he had 10 touchdowns in that seven game stretch. Nine rushing and one receiving.

Jonathan Taylor vs Adrian Peterson (2012) Through 11 Games

Taylor
VS
Peterson
1,122 Rushing Yards 1,236
193 Attempts 213
5.8 Yards per Carry 5.8
13 Rushing TDs 7
32 Receptions 35
322 Receiving Yards 185
2 Receiving TDs 0

Adrian Peterson was the last running back to win the award in 2012. That makes him the easiest comparable.

Not to say that Peterson’s season wasn’t dominant, but he really turned it on in the final five games. He added 861 yards over that stretch, averaging 6.38 YPC with five TDs. Second and third in the MVP vote that year were Peyton Manning and Brady, neither of whom threw 40 TDs.

There are only four QBs currently on pace to eclipse 40 this year. And it isn’t by much.

While Peterson had more rushing yards through 11 games, Taylor has him in all-purpose yards. The Colts have the Buccaneers, Texans, Patriots, Cardinals, Raiders and Jaguars remaining on their schedule.

Three of those teams are in the upper half of rushing yards allowed, allowing over 4.5 YPC. The Texans and Jaguars have allowed the second and sixth-most rushing TDs this year.

Patrick Mahomes Lurks in NFL MVP Odds

And then there’s the curious case of Patrick Mahomes. The 2018 MVP has been far from flawless this season, but he’s still gotten the job done. Now that the Chiefs have seemingly corrected their course and sit atop the AFC West, a strong stretch run could put him in good position.

Admittedly, Mahomes didn’t wow the judges with his 260-yard, one interception performance against the Cowboys. But he was better than Dak Prescott.

Prescott had become a name to watch in the NFL MVP odds, and a big performance, win or lose, would have helped on Sunday.

He fell flat with a 216-yard, two interception dude, however. So he hands the head-to-head advantage over to Mahomes.

Just Herbert Rises Again in NFL MVP Odds

Thanks to his hot start, Justin Herbert was once among the top contenders for the award. Coming out of Week 10 however, Herbert sat at +2000, eighth on the board. The cut-off for top-four was +800.

But Herbert showed up in a big way on Sunday Night Football. He threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, mixing in 90 on the ground of his own. Herbert had finished under 225 yards passing in three of his last four entering, so it was a nice rebound for the sophomore QB.

Does he have what it takes to stay in the race? Based on upcoming competition he could. Herbert gets the Broncos, Bengals, Giants and Chiefs up next. If he can repeat his earlier success against KC (281, two TDs) it’ll go  a long way towards his rebound.

 

Until then however, Brady and Mahomes will remain the key players, with Taylor deserving serious consideration now. Both QBs have challenges on their upcoming schedules, but Brady has a few soft spots.

While he’s the favorite, Brady is also the safest bet through 11 weeks. If you’re going to dig deep and go gutsy though? Jonathan Taylor could end up with a season for the ages.

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