Perhaps the proper question to open this discussion is: where there ever a doubt about Lamar Jackson deserving the MVP award? And after what happened on Christmas, let alone on New Year's Eve, the answer should be clear: Lamar Jackson is the 2023 NFL Most Valuable Player.
The Ravens quarterback delivered the goodies for the nth time this season against the Dolphins, supposedly a Super Bowl contender, by tossing five touchdowns on the day and not even completing the matchup as the game was so won in the fourth quarter that he gave way to backup Tyler Huntley at the end of the affair.
Jackson led the Ravens to their 13th win this season and an undisputable 56-19 knockout of Miami on Sunday to put a cap to an extraordinary year that started for him with the signing of the then-heftiest deal in NFL history.
Lamar put up a perfect 158.3 passer rating (the third time he's done so, something only four other QBs in NFL history have done before) by completing 18-of-21 passes for 321 while avoiding interceptions and throwing the aforementioned five touchdowns. Uh, oh, the mastery!
If you remember (and if you don't, here's the thing about it) back in 2019 Jackson racked up 3,127 yards and threw a league-high 36 touchdowns against six interceptions (he also added 1,206 rushing yards and seven rushing TDs to that) on his way to become the second-ever unanimous MVP that season.
This year, Lamar is already at 3,357 passing yards with 24 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. He has rushed the rock for 821 yards scoring five touchdowns. He's simply managing the game much better, delivering in ruthless ways, and carrying the Ravens all the way toward what everybody around the franchise hopes ends in a run at the Super Bowl.
From a pure passing angle, something Lamar has always been criticized for (for some reason), Jackson is boasting a completion percentage of 67.2 percent, a career-high, and more a full percentage point above his 2019 figure (66.1). He's also posting career-high marks on his average yards per pass (8.0), attempts (457), and completions (307).
Jackson entered Week 16 (Christmas night vs. San Francisco) with the fifth-best odds of winning the MVP. He moved to the top of the leaderboard after destroying the 49ers, and after doing the same to the Dolphins in Week 17, oddsmakers have Lamar favored at –10000, a significant jump from his earlier figure and one that won't be topped by anyone no matter what happens next weekend.
If you placed a bet on Lamar before Christmas, congratulations. If you are planning on doing so these days, you might be better off betting on whatever else, because Lamar Jackson is the legitimate NFL MVP for the 2023 season, and everybody knows that.
The Ravens are coming off dumping a silly 56 points against one of the hottest defenses in the league and although Jackson was no part of the defensive play, it's worth noting how Baltimore kept the Dolphins from even breaking the 20-point mark on Sunday
Here's hoping Lamar can stay healthy for the remainder of the season (that's the regular- and the post-season, of course), win some playoff games, and finally put an end to the talk about his talents not being on par with the greatest ones to ever do it at the position.