2019 NFL MVP favorites and odds

The NFL quarterbacks’ MVP dynasty

Two gifted running backs — Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson — won the Associated Press NFL MVP Award in consecutive seasons, 2005-2006. Since then, 11 of the past 12 MVPs have been quarterbacks, including 2018 top dog Patrick Mahomes who earned 41 of the 50 first-place votes. Fellow quarterback Drew Brees finished second. So Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season — less than a year removed from a torn ACL — remains the last time somebody other than an NFL quarterback hoisted the NFL MVP hardware.

Spoiler alert: Based on the favorites to win the 2019 MVP, don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon.

Odds via Bovada 2 of 16

Cam Newton

Odds: +2,500
2018 Stats: 3,395 pass yards, 24 TDs and 13 INTs | 488 rush yards  and four TDs

A shoulder injury may have cost Newton the final two games on paper, but anybody who watched the Panthers quarterback grind out the 2018 season knows it cost the team much more. Carolina started the season 6-2 and in a prime position to reach the playoffs. However, the severity of Newton’s shoulder injury prevented him from throwing balls down field and allowed defenses to cheat up and play the underneath routes. After the hot start, the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games. Newton had offseason surgery to repair the shoulder, and he’s expected to be back at 100 percent by the start of the season. His MVP chances ride on improved play of DJ Moore, Jarius Wright and a healthy Greg Olsen. The veteran tight end has missed 16 games over the past two seasons due to injury, but when healthy he’s Cam’s most trusted target. If Olsen misses time, running back Christian McCaffrey’s MVP odds could be just as high as Cam’s. 3 of 16

Philip Rivers

Odds: +2,000
2018 stats: 4,308 pass yards, 32 TDs and 12 INTs

Rivers may be the NFL equivalent of MLB’s Cal Ripken. The Chargers ironman has not missed a game for 13 consecutive seasons. While the league has gone to great lengths to protect the quarterback, the fact Rivers hasn’t sustained a serious injury over the past 208 games is nothing short of a miracle. Led by Keenan Allen, his receiving corps remains intact and receives a slight upgrade with the full-time return of tight end Hunter Henry who missed the 2018 regular season with a torn ACL. The one constant who is missing as of press time is Melvin Gordon. The Chargers starting running back is holding out in hopes of a new contract. If Gordon’s holdout lingers into the regular season, Rivers’ odds of winning the 2019 MVP should take a notable hit. 4 of 16

Jimmy Garoppolo

Odds: +3,300
2018 stats: 718 pass yards, five TDs and three INTs (in only three games due to torn ACL)

The saying goes, “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and when it comes to Jimmy G. what we don’t  know outweighs his elite hype. Garoppolo has yet to play in more than six regular-season games and missed the final 13 games of the 2018 season with a torn ACL. So the 2019 season will be a fresh canvas on which to either paint a masterpiece and fill in those unknown gaps OR post pedestrian stats as he has through his first nine games as the 49ers quarterback: 12:8 TD:INT ratio. If you’re looking for a reason to back this long shot, Kyle Shanahan’s offensive schemes will benefit — not hurt — Jimmy G’s shot at the 2019 MVP. 5 of 16

Matt Ryan

Odds: +3,000
2018 Stats: 4,924 pass yards, 35 TDs and seven INTs

Ryan was one of only four quarterbacks last season to finish with more than 600 pass attempts. Aside from a pass-first offense, the primary reason his pass attempts reached a three-year high is due to a host of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which turned the secondary into Swiss-cheese city, and opponents racked up early leads. So Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley (10 TDs as a rookie) and others spent most of the game in rally mode via the pass. If the defense can stay healthy, the Falcons are one of those squads that could flip the script and qualify for the playoffs one year after missing them. Ryan is as consistent as they come and despite turning 30 years old, Jones will go down as one of the top targets in NFL history. 6 of 16

Ben Roethlisberger

Odds: +3,000
2018 Stats: 5,129 pass yards, 34 TDs and 16 INTs

Without Le’Veon Bell last season, Roethlisberger led the NFL in completions (career-high), attempts (career-high), passing yards (career-high) and pass yards per game. The loss of both Bell and Antonio Brown will no doubt change the Steelers’ offensive dynamic, but don’t sleep on wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to fill Brown’s shoes as Big Ben’s primary receiver in addition to a healthy running game of James Connor and Jaylen Samuels behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. While many believe the AFC North torch has been passed to Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, an MVP season by Roethlisberger would mute any chance of that happening. 7 of 16

Deshaun Watson

Odds: +2,000
2018 Stats: 4,165 pass yards, 26 TDs and nine INTs | 551 rush yards and five TDs

The good news for Watson is that he’ll probably compete for an NFL MVP one day. The bad news is that unless his offensive line play improves 1,000 percent, he won’t be among the 2019 MVP finalists. Remember: Despite mobility that rivals Russell Wilson, Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times. To be fair some of those sacks were no doubt Watson’s fault. However, as of early August, head coach Bill O’Brien admits he still doesn’t know who will start on the offensive line. How does this not get addressed in the offseason? Forget Watson’s MVP chances. The Texans could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. 8 of 16

Mitch Trubisky

Odds: +2,000
2018 Stats: 3,223 pass yards, 24 TDs and 12 INTs

The Chicago Bears 2018 defense ranked first in points allowed and against the rush, third in turnover differential (+12) and seventh against the pass. Its pass offense ranked outside the top 20. So the obvious question becomes where can Trubisky improve in his third year when the top three receiving targets remain the same and the Bears front office elected to shake up the running back depth chart after averaging 121 rush yards per game last season (11 th)? It’s a loaded question. Despite an above-average arm and 421 rush yards and three rush TDs last season, it’s hard to fathom Trubisky making enough of a statistical leap toward MVP when the most valuable players — plural — on the team likely reside on the defensive side of the ball. 9 of 16

Russell Wilson

Odds: +2,500
2018 Stats: 3,448 pass yards, 35 TDs and seven INTs

Because the Seahawks averaged a league-leading 160 yards per game last season, Wilson’s passing totals were the lowest since 2014. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for the Seahawks to make another Super Bowl run, the offense needs to find a consistent passing game aside from Wilson running for his life on third and long. Wilson was sacked 51 times last season, but that total could have been higher if not for his elite mobility out of the pocket. So the offensive line play must improve, and Pete Carroll needs to find lighting in a bottle with second-round draft pick DK Metcalf. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound receiver out of Ole Miss is a polarizing brand, but Wilson has no choice but to embrace the rookie because without Doug Baldwin, No. 3’s primary target is 5-foot-11, 175-pound speedster Tyler Lockett. 10 of 16

Carson Wentz

Odds: +1,200
2018 Stats: 3,074 pass yards, 21 TDs and seven INTs (11 games)

Wentz’s 2017 season was cut short due to an ACL tear, and he missed the final three games of the 2018 season with a stress fracture in his back. The knock of Wentz is that these annual ailments date back to high school. However, when you place the injury history on the back burner and assess a potential 16-game campaign for the Eagles quarterback, it’s evident he has the talent and players around him to make a run at an MVP and Super Bowl title. One guy who will help him reach those goals is DeSean Jackson. The speedy, downfield receiver returns to Philadelphia at age 32 and should allow for Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to enjoy softer coverages this season. Also, the arrival of Jordan Howard should improve the Eagles 28 th-ranked running game of a season ago, which should also boost Wentz’s MVP odds.

By: Ryan Fowler


Odell Beckham Breaks Ankle, And Giants Fall To 0-5

Written by Bob Glauber at Newsday.com

This was about much more than a likely season-ending injury for Odell Beckham Jr., who on Sunday fractured the left ankle he sprained in preseason.

This was about a potentially franchise-altering decision down the road concerning the wunderkind receiver. Beckham went up for an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter and got his ankle caught under Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward. That gut-wrenching moment not only piled more misery on an already awful Giants season but also could shape Beckham’s future.

The thing you have to ask yourself now: Will Beckham ever be the same again?

The Giants’ decision-makers won’t begin to assess that question for several months, once they have a sense of how Beckham is recovering from the worst injury of his career. But it will be one of the central issues facing an 0-5 team that has begun the season with such colossal ineptitude.

Even the most wide-eyed optimist would agree that the Giants are headed for one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. Yes, they started 2013 0-6 and came back to win seven of their final 10 games. But that was when their roster needed a major overhaul, before an infusion of free-agent defensive talent and before Beckham’s arrival provided an electrifying jolt to an offense in need of fixing.

The Giants look more like the Jets team we expected to see this season. They’re buried in last place in the NFC East, while the Jets are 3-2 and tied for the AFC East lead with the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots and the Bills.

Until late in the 27-22 loss to the previously winless Chargers, Beckham was one of the only Giants worth watching. He’s their best player, and his performance was the only thing that gave them even a chance at winning. They came close the last three weeks against the Eagles, Bucs and Chargers, and he was their only consistent offensive threat in all three games. Against the Chargers, his 48-yard touchdown gave the Giants a 22-17 fourth-quarter lead.

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RG3 Headed West To Save His Career

Written by John Breech at CBS Sports.com

Colin Kaepernick isn’t the only free agent quarterback who has had some trouble finding a job this offseason. Finding a new team to play for has also been difficult for Robert Griffin III.

The veteran quarterback has had exactly zero NFL tryouts since being cut by the Browns on March 10. However, that’s about to change.

According to ESPN.com, RG3 is scheduled to work out for the Chargers on Tuesday. The trip to Los Angeles will mark Griffin’s first free agent visit of the offseason.

Apparently, RG3’s phone hasn’t exactly been ringing off the hook. Over the past four months, the free agent quarterback only scheduled one other visit, but he had to cancel that, according to ESPN.

Although he’s not currently on an NFL roster, Griffin has had a pretty busy offseason. The former Redskins quarterback became engaged in May and welcomed a new child into the world at the beginning of July.

In between the family activities, RG3 has been doing his best to stay in football shape by working out with former Browns assistant coach Pep Hamilton.

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Joey Bosa Is Hitting His Stride In NFL

Written by Andy Benoit at MMQB

Here’s what you probably know about Joey Bosa: He was the only first-round draft pick who held out all summer. And what was that about, again? Not money, but how the money was going to be distributed or something like that? Anyway, it got sorted out because it always does. And so he joined the Chargers at the end of August, but a hamstring injury promptly put him back out of sight and, this time, out of mind. The injury eventually healed and Bosa made his NFL debut in Week 5. It was a regionally televised game at Oakland—one that, let’s be honest, you maybe saw about a dozen snaps of on the Red Zone channel.

Since then you’ve heard here and there that Bosa has looked good, great even.Good for him, you’ve thought. Bosa’s Chargers, meanwhile, are barely on the outer fringe of playoff contention. And so, unless you’re a Bolts fan, you probably haven’t paid much attention to this year’s No. 3 pick. Which is fine; that’s how it goes.

But you’ll soon look back on this period as that strange time when Bosa was in the NFL but not yet a household name. You’ll think about it the same way you now think about J.J. Watt’s 2011 season, before he became J.J. Watt.

What makes Bosa special is his abundance of the single most important physical trait an NFL front seven athlete can have: lateral explosiveness. In simplest terms, Bosa moves left and right with remarkable quickness and strength. With this also comes a natural feel for using his hands. And, as his defensive coordinator John Pagano points, out, “he’s somebody that really understands the game.”

Like Watt, who will be regarded as football’s best defensive player as soon as his back is healthy again, Bosa’s primary role is strongside defensive end. Not many years ago, this was a nondescript position. The strong side naturally brings about more double-teams (primarily the tight end helping an offensive tackle), so defenses didn’t put their best players there, just their biggest. But Watt transcended the position, presenting offenses with the dilemma of what to do when there’s a defender who can consistently destroy double-teams.

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Fantasy Matchups for Week 10

Written by Heath Cummings at CBSSports.com

We talk about matchups in Fantasy Football a lot, but too often we look at it on the macro level. We think if a team is good or bad against the pass then that affects all receivers the same.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Thankfully, our friends at ProFootballFocus provide data on the coverage skills of individual players, which gives us a much more reliable starting point. Each week in this column I’ll focus on some of my favorite matchups for wide receivers and at least one matchup you should try to avoid.

I look at PFF’s individual coverage grades. This helps sort out some of the noise and give us an idea of how each individual cornerback has performed, where they generally line up and who they’ll cover most often.

I’ve included the PFF grade of each corner we’re targeting this week. This grade is on a scale of 0 to 100, making it easily digestible.

Alshon Jeffery vs. Vernon Hargreaves (PFF Grade: 38.4)

The theme this week is that disappointing receivers will start to get right. Jeffery’s rebound started before his bye, but I’d expect his best game of the year against the overmatched (and undersized) Hargreaves. In his past two games, Hargreaves has allowed 14 receptions for 202 yards on 16 targets to Julio Jones and Amari Cooper.

The rookie corner has big-play potential, he just doesn’t have the ability to physically match up up with the best receivers in the league at this stage of his career. That’s why he has given up a league-worst 551 yards receiving already in 2016. The funny thing is he’s only given up one touchdown, which matches perfectly with Alshon Jeffery who has only scored one.

Randall Cobb vs. Brice McCain (PFF Grade: 71.5)

While Hargreaves has been touchdown-averse, McCain has been practically escorting opposing receivers into the red zone. McCain’s five touchdowns allowed in the slot are the worst in the league and contribute greatly to his 134.7 passer rating against. But he hasn’t just been unlucky.

McCain has also given up 143 yards after contact, which is exactly what the Packers are looking for when they throw to Randall Cobb. Cobb played a limited role in Week 9 but I’d expect him to be a full go for one of the best matchups a slot receiver can have.

Julian Edelman vs. Jeremy Lane (PFF Grade: 57.1)

While McCain is one of the best slot matchups for a receiver, Jeremy Lane is by far the best matchup for a receiver facing the Seahawks. Lane has given up a reception every 7.8 coverage snaps compares to Richard Sherman, who has gone 14.1 coverage snaps between receptions. Edelman is always better in PPR formats and that holds true again this week. Tom Brady and the Patriots are known for exploiting their opponent’s weakness, and Lane is the clear weakness in this secondary.

Jarvis Landry vs. Brandon Flowers (PFF Grade: 80.8)

OK, so this looks weird, I know. Flowers grade paints him as a very good corner and in some respects that has been true. Flowers has had a pair of games where he graded very highly and a few where he wasn’t very good at all. The problems for him have mostly come in the slot. Flowers has allowed the second most yards per coverage snap out of the slot this year at 1.7 and has also allowed a reception once every 8.2 coverage snaps which is below average.

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Charger Will Not Get New Stadium In San Diego, Might Move

Written by Brent Schrotenboer at USAToday.com

The future of professional football in this city has been cast into doubt after San Diego voters overwhelmingly defeated a new downtown stadium plan for the San Diego Chargers in Tuesday’s election.

The team’s ballot measure failed, 57% to 43%, after all city precincts were counted, according to unofficial results released early Wednesday by the Registrar of Voters in San Diego County. Nearly 169,000 residents voted against it, and 127,000 voted for it, with provisional ballots still to be counted.

Under current California law, the measure needed two-thirds of voters to approve it because it’s a tax hike for a specific purpose.

Team owner Dean Spanos now has until Jan. 15 to make a decision: Should he move the franchise to Los Angeles to share a lucrative new stadium with the Los Angeles Rams?

Or should he try for another stadium solution in San Diego even though there’s no clear or certain path to get one? The Chargers have played in San Diego since 1961.

“In terms of what comes next for the Chargers, it’s just too early to give you an answer,” Spanos said in a letter to fans released early Wednesday. “We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes and no decision will be made in haste.”

He thanked those who supported the measure. But without even getting more than 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s election, he doesn’t have much leverage.

“If it’s under 50%, it’s probably a sign to look elsewhere,” said Andrew Brandt, a former executive with the Green Bay Packers and current director of the Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova. “If it’s over 50%, it’s a different discussion. Then you’ve got the L.A option sitting there, but it seems like that’s something no one really wants.”

Spanos just might not have a better choice from a risk and business standpoint. In early January, he felt much the same way when he applied to relocate his team to the L.A. suburb of Carson – a move that was rejected by the NFL in favor of a competing stadium project proposed by the Rams.

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Danny Woodhead Out For Season

Written by Eric Williams at ABC11.com

The report on Danny Woodhead’s knee injury is not what the San Diego Chargers had hoped.

The running back will miss the rest of the season after MRI results revealed he tore the ACL in his right knee.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy confirmed the ACL injury on Monday afternoon.

“I promise you one thing,” McCoy said. “Danny will come back stronger than ever. … He’s a great example of what it means to be a pro.”

Woodhead’s injury leaves San Diego thin at running back, with just three healthy tailbacks –Melvin Gordon, Kenneth Farrow and Andre Williams — currently on the roster.

The Chargers already lost Branden Oliver for the season during exhibition play, because of a torn Achilles tendon. Oliver had a similar skill set to Woodhead as a change-of-pace, third-down back.

The Chargers claimed Williams, a bruising runner, off waivers after the New York Giantsreleased him during final roster cuts earlier this month, but they likely will be in the market for another running back this week.

McCoy also said on Monday that starting safety Jahleel Addae was having surgery to repair a broken clavicle and will be out for an extended period of time. Addae suffered the injury Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars late in the game while making a tackle on Denard Robinson.
Dexter McCoil or Adrian Phillips are possibilities to fill in at safety for the Chargers while Addae is on the mend.

Woodhead, 31, was injured Sunday with about two minutes left in the opening quarter, when he caught a pass in the flat and was tackled by Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith. Woodhead was evaluated by trainers and had to be helped off the field without putting pressure on his right leg.

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Melvin Gordon Scored First Two NFL TDs

Written by Michael Gehlkin at San-Diego Union Tribune

If not the first touchdown, then the second one Sunday for Melvin Gordon made Arrowhead Stadium the venue to a long-awaited coming out party. The Chargers running back previously went 619 days and 219 touches without a score in non-exhibition action, a drought dating back to the Wisconsin-Auburn Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015.

But this wasn’t one of those go-until-1 a.m.-type parties.

It ended early enough for coach Mike McCoy afterward to be asked why.

Gordon had a fast start to his 2016 season, running strong and scoring a 1-yard touchdown midway into the first quarter and again from 6 yards early in the second. After the team built a three-score lead in the fourth quarter, the 2015 first-round pick was a non-factor down the stretch of a 33-27 overtime loss to the Chiefs.

The Chargers had four offensive possessions upon taking a 27-10 lead with 13:24 remaining in regulation.

In them, they totaled 45 yards on 16 plays. Each drive was sustained for less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The final two chewed up 1:20 and 1:03 of the game clock, respectively. Gordon carried twice on those 16 plays for 2-yard gains.

Running back Danny Woodhead had four carries for 21 yards in that same span, all four of which were out of the shotgun.

The only two plays the Chargers didn’t run out of the shotgun in their final four possessions of regulation — and, as it’d be for them, the game — were the two Gordon runs. This was part of a pattern. Having lost wide receiver Keenan Allen to a knee injury late in the second quarter, San Diego ran 37 offensive plays in the second half. Only eight of them featured quarterback Philip Rivers behind center. Those eight plays encompassed Gordon’s six second-half carries, which totaled 18 yards.

Those six carries were Gordon’s only touches in the second half.

He had eight carries for 39 yards and two touchdowns in the first.

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Joey Bosa Misses Practice, Has Tightness in Knee

Written by Michael Gehlkin at The San Diego Union Tribune

Maybe it was unrealistic all along to expect Joey Bosa to be ready for the Chargers’ regular-season opener, given he entered this week still having yet to practice in pads this year.

He had a chance to Monday afternoon.

It passed.

The Chargers defensive end was not on the field for position drills, receiving treatment for what the team characterized as “tightness.” Coach Mike McCoy said that he has no long-term concern with the ailment. Still, to be ready Sunday, Bosa figured to need all the work he could get, having missed training camp and the preseason to a rookie contract dispute. This won’t bolster his chances.

Team officials have said they won’t rush Bosa.

Their goal is not necessarily for him to play in the opener, although that would be a bonus. Simply, they want him ready as soon as reasonably possible. Bosa being held out Monday, a thin wrap over the mid-part of his left leg, is consistent with their stated approach.

While the practice week is young, it is possible that Bosa facing the Chiefs is no longer within reason.

He signed last Monday. Since then, the No. 3 overall pick participated in a Tuesday practice in shorts and shells. The team held a Wednesday walk-through for a Thursday exhibition game in which he didn’t play. This Monday offered the first practice since last week and first padded session since he signed. Bosa’s most valuable prep work in that span has occurred in meeting rooms where he’s logged extra hours with defensive line coach Giff Smith.

He needed, however, all the on-field reps he could manage, particularly in pads.

He did not get them.

The Chargers are not required to submit an injury report until Wednesday. Even then, Bosa won’t be listed since he is not on the 53-man roster; the NFL granted the team a roster exemption last week, essentially rendering him a 54th player. He must be activated no later than Saturday in order to be active Sunday.

Bosa, 21, missed 31 days between the report date of training camp and last Monday when he officially signed, 31 days he can’t get back. His hope has been to play at the start of the Chargers’ regular season, but if the season is a party across town, Bosa left the house late. He needed to catch all the green lights, needed smooth traffic and no car issues in order to make it on time.

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Joey Bosa Signed To Chargers

Written by Michael Gehlkin at San Diego Union Tribune

Joey Bosa is in the building.

At last.

The Chargers signed their No. 3 overall pick Monday morning. He is set to have his first practice with the team today. Bosa had been absent from the club since June, as the team and his agent worked to settle a contract dispute that largely centered on the payout of his signing bonus.

“We came to a fair deal,” Bosa said. “There’s no animosity between any of us, me toward them or them toward me.”

Bosa has a chance now to be on the field Sept. 11 for the season opener at Kansas City. His role, however, could be limited initially as he works himself into football shape. It is possible that Darius Philon will start at left defensive end while Bosa, 21, works in the Chargers’ substitution packages.

The key thing for the Chargers was to get Bosa here first.

A critical development in closing the gap between the two sides was a switch of the agent who led Bosa’s negotiations, sources said. The change came after Chargers President of Football Operations John Spanos went public Wednesday, saying the team had made its best offer and agent Brian Ayrault had turned it down. Spanos vowed the offer would only reduce from there. In the days that followed the hard-line stance, a transfer occurred from Ayrault to Todd France, who also works for CAA and co-represents Bosa. “Good cop, bad cop,” one source called it, referring to CAA’s tactic.

From there, negotiations restarted to some degree.

On Sunday morning, before the team kicked off against the Vikings at 10 a.m. PT, the Chargers and France agreed to a deal largely resembling the “best offer” from last week, a deal featuring 85 percent cash payout of Bosa’s $17-million signing bonus, or about $14.45 million, this calendar year, sources said. The rest will be deferred to March. Improved roster-bonus language for Bosa was a notable difference, a source said, from last week’s offer. As long established, Bosa’s contract features offset language.

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