Russell Wilson is racking up career-high passing numbers in a season that finds the Seahawks struggling to establish a consistent run game. The shift to a heavy-passing offense has also resulted in Wilson’s name being thrown into the race for NFL MVP.
Despite an impressive six-plus year career, the MVP award has eluded Wilson. Which brought 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore to ask: Just what does Wilson need to do to earn the MVP nod this year?
Since 2012, Wilson has set or tied several NFL and franchise records and been named a three-time Pro Bowler. He has appeared in back-to-back Super Bowls and won one. A memorable stretch of games in 2015 saw him set multiple records, including recording a particularly impressive 128.3 or higher passer rating in five consecutive games – the only quarterback ever to do so.
Oh, and he’s never missed a game in his career.
NFL Network analyst David Carr called Wilson “the definition of ‘Most Valuable Player’” Tuesday, giving him the bulk of the credit for Seattle’s current spot as the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture.
Danny O’Neil said Wilson could get finally get the nod if Seattle manages to secure a top seed – a feat that would likely require at least an 11-win season and a second win over the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams (7-2).
“He’s the best player on this team,” O’Neil said of Wilson. “If they go very far, it’s going to be entirely on his shoulders. Nobody has separated themselves from the pack yet. He hasn’t done anything to win it yet and he’s not even the leader, necessarily, but he’s certainly in position (to win it).”
Jim Moore said Wilson’s career-high passing numbers could put him atop the list.
“If he averages 283 passing yards the way he has for the first nine games, he’ll be over 4,000,” Moore said. “And then with me anyway, I always want to factor in his rushing yardage. I don’t know if these guys who are voting on it ever do that, but he’s got an outside shot at a 5,000 yard season combining passing yards with rushing yards. Certainly, he’s probably going to get to 4,500.
“I’m with you, if this team’s going to get where they want to go, unleash Russell Wilson and let’s go. Let’s get him a 5,000 yard season and maybe he’ll end up with a 12-4-type season.”
“I think lots of people tune in to watch Russell Wilson,” Dave Wyman said. “He is so much fun to watch. And those kinds of plays, those are MVP-type of plays. It’s funny, I feel like Seattle has really gotten screwed in the MVP voting, Coach of the Year and also Executive of the Year with (general manager) John Schneider.”
Currently leading the pack in the MVP race is the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, who boasts a career-high 69.6% completion rate with 2,444 yards and 18 touchdowns to just one interception. Wilson also has to contend with Tom Brady, who is the only player with more passing yards than Wilson. They are both tied for second in touchdown passes along with Houston’s Deshaun Watson at 18, though Brady has two interceptions to Wilson’s six. Second-year pro Carson Wentz is also in the mix; he has 2,262 yards and 23 touchdowns to five interceptions for the NFC-leading Eagles.