Making an intriguing case for Ravens’ Lamar Jackson as the 2022 MVP

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson isn’t currently a favorite to win league MVP, but should he be?

After Week 9, Jackson’s MVP odds sit at +1200 according to DraftKings, a solid tier below contenders like Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (+200) and Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen (+350).

He has the fifth-best odds to win the prestigious award and is behind both Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa as well, which is arguably a point of contention.

Jackson’s passing game admittedly has declined a bit since losing some of his offensive weapons, and he’s thrown for sub-200 yards in two of his past three games.

Given his performances thus far, he likely won’t reach or eclipse his numbers from his 2019 MVP year when he recorded 36 touchdowns against six interceptions and threw for over 3,000 yards.

Compared to other elite quarterbacks, Jackson pales as a consistent and accurate passer this year, so why should he still be in the MVP race?

The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz brought up an interesting point on Twitter:

One could easily argue that Miami’s and Philly’s success this season isn’t necessarily quarterback-driven — those teams have the star-studded rosters to make their signal-caller look better than he may be.

Ravens’ Lamar Jackson has flourished this season despite tame receiving corps

Tagovailoa gets Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, two of the top five receivers in the league right now based on yardage; Hurts has A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith, two also very talented receivers who have combined for 1,160 yards so far this season.

By contrast, Jackson had Rashod Bateman, who played in six games and recorded 285 yards, but Bateman will sit out for the rest of 2022. His top four other pass-catchers (including Mark Andrews) have combined for 1,163 receiving yards, just a few yards more than Brown and Smith.

Of course, each team’s respective offensive schemes must be taken into consideration. As a run-heavy team, the Ravens rely on Jackson’s legs more than his arms, and Jackson’s most impressive plays this season have indeed been when he has the ball in his hands.

It’s also clear that Baltimore’s passing game needs more work. Jackson is ranked 18th in passing yards and has a middling 62.3 percent completion rate, numbers that definitely aren’t up to snuff for a top-10 quarterback and must improve for the Ravens to make a deep postseason run.

Still, it’s worth taking a look at how much Jackson has shined in spite of his supporting cast while other quarterbacks have arguably shined because of their supporting casts.

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This isn’t a shot at Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa, nor is it saying Lamar Jackson deserves the MVP award right now. He doesn’t.

Alternate factors — like a team’s receiving corps — should, however, play a sizeable role in the MVP race to produce the most holistic assessment of any given contender.