Patrick Mahomes has been the most impressive quarterback in his three years as a starter for the Chiefs. Here is what he’ll have to overcome and do to get the Most Valuable Player award in 2021.
In 2018, a young untested quarterback named Patrick Mahomes II took over the starting role after the Chiefs traded long-time starter Alex Smith. Many people were excited, but also skeptical about the raw second-year prospect from Texas Tech. Quickly, they experienced a season for the ages.
Patrick Mahomes became an overnight sensation, throwing for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns and breaking every single-season record for passing in the process. He won the MVP as a first-year starter, the first player to do so since Kurt Warner in 1999.
In the two years since his MVP season, he’s won the Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP, and went to back-to-back Super Bowls. Many would have thought he would have won a second MVP to his collection by this point, and in the 2020 season, it seemed like he should have gotten another.
He probably would have won the award if he didn’t hit a little bit of a dip in his statistics towards the end of the 2020 season and Aaron Rodgers didn’t just light up the competition. Now that Mahomes is favored to win the MVP in 2021, here are the biggest challenges in his path.
The first challenge for Mahomes’ Candidacy is the defenses they will have to play. They do play good passing and blitzing defenses in the Broncos, Chargers, Ravens, Steelers, Washington Football Team, and Bills this season.
The Broncos gave the Chiefs fits in the game in Arrowhead last season, stalling the Chiefs over and over again in the Red Zone. The Broncos defense is probably their biggest problem in the division next season because the defense still got better by drafting Patrick Surtain in the draft this year. The Chargers are no slouch either by gaining Asante Samuel Jr, Michael Davis, and Nick Neimann on the defensive side of the ball.
The Steelers, Ravens, WFT, and Bills all had good defensive seasons in 2020 and have All-Pro Talent. So they aren’t any slouches by any means and should be some stiff competition for the Chiefs, especially some of those teams that can blitz will greatly affect pass protection. Even though Patrick Mahomes has no problem with handling the blitz, even last year with the offensive line injuries.
The second biggest challenge for Mahomes MVP Candidacy is the change in offensive style the Chiefs might be heading towards. With the additions of Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, and Kyle Long, the Chiefs might be moving towards a more balanced offensive approach.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a great running back for Kansas City last season and looked dominant in some stretches. But after all of the injuries to the offensive line, CEH had problems gaining consistent yards on the ground.
This new offensive line could lead one to believe the Chiefs are going to try to pound the rock a lot more and try to get the weapons open off of play-action. It could definitely happen and the Chiefs were successful with this offensive approach when they had Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith in the early 2010s.
It doesn’t seem likely that the Chiefs just will give up on using their pass-first offense, but Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy does like to throw in new wrinkles with every season, which should help Mahomes.
But now Mahomes should be on a mission to get the Most Valuable Player after the dismal showing in the Super Bowl against the Buccaneers. Mahomes is motivated to prove he is the best player in the NFL and he’ll do his damndest to do it.
His competitive spirit mixed with an improved offensive line should be more than enough for Patrick Mahomes to go for the MVP. The best way for him to win the award is to put up monster statistics as he did in the 2018 season. He’ll probably need to get 4,500+ yards and 40 TD’s this upcoming season, which should be doable with the schedule the Chiefs have.
Also, the Chiefs should finish at the top of the conference standings again, probably with a 14-3 or 13-4 record and that’ll make it easier for voters to want to vote for him.
Mahomes also really loves to go after the tough competition as well, those teams mentioned earlier who are tough competition may have a problem with a motivated Patrick Mahomes. Eric Bieniemy should implement a new wrinkle here and there every so often and it shouldn’t be any different this season.
Even if Mahomes is running a more familiar Andy Reid-style offense with the offensive line additions, they will make sure to implement the deep ball. The added run game will be a great feature in getting him to throw off play-action and that is terrifying for every defense in the National Football League.
It also means Mahomes will not be running for his life, so he’ll have the time to make the right throws and not have to make so many throws on the run, which should limit interceptions. The Chiefs have really done a great job of making sure Patrick Mahomes feels extremely comfortable and will try to improve his talents in the 2021 season.
The final thing Mahomes has in his favor is the narrative, many of the people who vote on the MVP should be looking at just statistics and where the Chiefs finish in the standings, but many voters like to look at a narrative. Mahomes narrative this season will be about getting to three straight Super Bowls and trying to solidify his place as the best quarterback in the NFL.
Many people like a good story and Patrick Mahomes can give it to them if he can make the Chiefs the best team in the AFC for a third straight year and be his most efficient. If he can do all of these things statistically and get a good narrative throughout the 2021 NFL Season, Patrick Mahomes will be the 2021 Most Valuable Player.