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Why Lamar Jackson is still the frontrunner for MVP in the AFC

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson after loss to Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson after loss to Miami Dolphins
Nick Goodling
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Lamar Jackson entered Week 10 as one of the MVP frontrunners in the NFL. Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens to a 6-2 start and was one of the more improved players from last season.

But he and the Ravens' hot start hit a brick wall Thursday against the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins shut down the Ravens' offense entirely. The Ravens scored just 10 points in the loss, and their only touchdown came in garbage time.

Jackson was awful against the blitz, which the Dolphins employed religiously.

That said, Lamar Jackson is still the frontrunner for MVP in the AFC. There's been a lot of parody and inconsistency in the league this year.

But Jackson has been the most consistent player on a team that might have the best roster in the league.

Lamar Jackson faced the most defensive back blitzes (24) of any QB since 2015 during a game in which the Ravens were held to their fewest points in a regular-season game under Jackson (10).

Lamar Jackson is still the AFC's MVP frontrunner because he's played consistently well this season

The Dolphins represent a blemish on Jackson's MVP resume. But with how this season has unfolded, every candidate has some kind of weakness on their resume.

Lamar Jackson does deserve blame for not being able to adjust to the Dolphins' blitzes Thursday. But his offensive line did an inadequate job of handling the pressure.

There are few quarterbacks other than Jackson who can scramble and extend plays as well as he does. But he had nowhere to go more often than not against Miami and took sacks rather than risking interceptions.

Outside of this game, Jackson has been one of the best pocket passers in the league. The story entering the season was whether the rest of the NFL had figured out Jackson.

He has put those rumors to rest and has expanded his game to have almost no weaknesses. He showed the peak of his powers against the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.

In that game, Jackson threw for four touchdowns for 442 yards and an 86 percent completion percentage.

Highest passing grade from a clean pocket this seasonLamar Jackson - 89.4 🎯 https://t.co/48xvZ5erKI

Lamar Jackson's MVP competition has been inconsistent

Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders have cooled off from their electrifying start that saw Carr take the league by storm.

The same goes for the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen. Allen and the Bills lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9 and didn't put a touchdown on the scoreboard.

In general, the Bills offense hasn't been as explosive as anticipated before the season.

Tom Brady is the only player you can argue has (arguably) no weaknesses right now, but he's in the NFC. In the AFC, Jackson is as close to Brady (for the MVP race) as the conference has to offer.

MVP is often an award that's given to the best player on the best team. The Ravens are right there with the Bills in their argument for the AFC's best team.

Jackson will have a chance to rebound against the Chicago Bears in Week 11.


Edited by LeRon Haire
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