Could Lamar Jackson's frequent bouts with illness cost him a shot at being 2021 NFL MVP? 

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson vs. Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson vs. Miami Dolphins
Bethany Cohen

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was off to a great start this season. However, last week's loss to the Miami Dolphins was a bit of a shock as Jackson and the Ravens struggled on Thursday night. This week, though, the Ravens might have even more difficulty against the Chicago Bears, as Jackson has been officially ruled out with an illness for Sunday afternoon.

Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson officially is inactive today vs. the Chicago Bears, per source. Tyler Huntley starts.

Lamar Jackson missed two practices this week due to an illness that is reportedly not COVID-19 or the flu. Jackson did try to practice later in the week but was unable to make it through the entirety of the practice session. Lamar Jackson did get on the flight to Chicago with the rest of the team and arrived at the stadium on Sunday morning. However, Lamar Jackson was just not healthy enough to take the field and the medical staff decided that he was just too sick to make the start. Lamar Jackson tried to stay hydrated enough to take the field, but wasn't able to do so.

What will this do to Lamar Jackson's possible MVP run this season?

Could QB Lamar Jackson still be in contention for NFL MVP?

With this most recent illness, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has now missed practice on three different occasions this season due to illness. Jackson missed the start of training camp in the summer, when he tested positive for COVID-19. This wasn't the first time Jackson has tested positive. His first bout with the virus came last season when the entire Baltimore Ravens team was affected by the illness.

Lamar Jackson just arrived at Soldier Field. @nflnetwork #Ravens

Jackson has missed practice two other times earlier this week due to an illness. The previous two times that Jackson had missed practice due to illness, he was able to play and led the Ravens to victory both times. However, this time Jackson won't be able to do that.

In nine starts this season, Lamar Jackson has thrown for 2,447 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In terms of passing yards, Jackson ranks ninth in the league amongst quarterbacks in yards thrown. Jackson also ranks eighth in the entire National Football League in terms of rushing yards with 639 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Lamar Jackson is the only quarterback in the top ten in rushing yards.

Lamar Jackson has been on the short list of NFL MVP candidates for the 2021 NFL season. Jackson won the NFL MVP honors in 2019 and could easily repeat again. If Jackson can limit his absence to just one game, he will still have himself cemented at the top of the list. However, if Jackson misses additional games, then he may cost himself an opportunity at a second MVP award.

Another reason Lamar Jackson could be out of NFL MVP mentions is if his performance on the field continues to take a hit. Against the Miami Dolphins last week, Jackson looked uncharacteristically frustrated in his play and unable to make some of the plays that he has been known for throughout his career. Jackson threw for 238 yards and just one touchdown in a 22-10 loss to Miami. That is believed to have been days before he came down with the illness.

If Jackson's inability to practice and play hinders his natural ability on the field, his stats could continue to see a downfall in the weeks to come. With the schedule that the Baltimore Ravens have in the weeks to come, it could end up being an uphill battle for a team that has a slim one-game margin over the rest of the AFC North.

The Ravens still have two games to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. Not to mention matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers.

In order to keep the Ravens not only atop the division but also in playoff and MVP talks, Jackson will need to get healthy and stay healthy for the remainder of the season and in the future as well.

Also check out: Complete Thursday Night Football Schedule 2021

Edited by Henno van Deventer
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