Jared Goff is playing as well as he has since 2017 with the Los Angeles Rams. Since Week 9, Goff leads the NFL in EPA per play and has 11 touchdowns to just one interceptions. He’s also hasn’t been sacked a single time in the last 10 quarters.
With how he’s playing and how the Lions have built the team around him, it’s hard not to see the Lions making the playoffs and being a dangerous wild card team. Their offensive line is playing well and the defense has improved significantly since being one of the worst groups early in the season.
1. Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)
Mahomes has been on another level this season and it’s clear that some in the media are starting to take what he does for granted. Jalen Hurts has been good, but there’s one clear MVP this season and it’s Mahomes.
2. Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 2)
The Eagles will be without Hurts this week as he rests his shoulder. It will be interesting to see how that influences his case in the MVP race. He’s been stellar this year, so it shouldn’t have too much of an impact, but it might be something voters look at.
3. Joe Burrow - Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 5)
Burrow is starting to play at an elite level and the Bengals will be serious contenders in the AFC because of it. However, it worth pointing out Burrow’s supporting cast. He has three top-25 wide receivers who are all very good playmakers.
Joe Burrow has the biggest absolute drop in EPA with the value adjustment.— Kevin Cole (@KevinCole___) December 21, 2022
Burrow has three top-24 receivers by ESPN's open score, has gained 16 EPA from YAC over expected, and is -12 EPA from lower-than-expected drop rate pic.twitter.com/FEO196ZrFj
4. Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 6)
After struggling with turnovers early in the season, Allen has now gone three consecutive games without an interception. The Bills quarterback will need to continue to protect the football, but not get too conservative if Allen is going to get his team over the hump.
5. Tua Tagovailoa - Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 3)
Much like the Rams in 2018, the Tua and McDaniel need to adjust. Teams are taking away the middle of the field and making Tua beat them vertically and on the outside. McDaniel needs to adjust for the Dolphins to make a push for the postseason.
6. Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 10)
Has Trevor Lawrence figured it out? The Lawrence that we’ve seen over the last month is the player that many thought he’d be coming out of Clemson. Lawrence led the Jaguars back against the Cowboys last week with a very impressive second half.
Trevor Lawrence no stepping throws in tight pockets and still remaining accurate and putting RPMs on the ball pic.twitter.com/IKozYkSaW0— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 20, 2022
7. Jared Goff - Detroit Lions (Last Week: 7)
Goff is playing a high-level, but the Lions have also done a very good job at surrounding him with a good situation. It’s always been known that Goff needed a good situation and pieces around him to be consistent. That’s been the case over the last seven weeks in Detroit. Goff hasn’t been sacked in his last 10 quarters of play and that reflected in his numbers.
8. Geno Smith - Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 4)
Smith has played at a high level this season, but his two worst games have come against the 49ers. The Seahawks need Smith to play well down the stretch if they’re going to make a push at the final wild card spot.
9. Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 8)
Dak Prescott currently has the highest interception percentage in the NFL. He is capable of making ‘wow’ plays every game, but it’s hard to see the Cowboys 2022 season not ending in heartbreaking fashion, much like their loss against the Jaguars.
10. Justin Herbert - Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 9)
Every week Herbert makes insane throws. The Chargers need to get Herbert a better offensive coordinator and consistency at wide receiver. The talent with Herbert is there, but with a better surrounding cast, he has the ability to be among the elite quarterbacks.
This is impossible. There’s no window whatsoever. Justin Herbert threw it hard enough to create one. That ball could’ve gone through a car wash and there wouldn’t be a drop of water on it. pic.twitter.com/waT8ZSBHZK— Anand Nanduri (@NanduriNFL) December 19, 2022
11. Brock Purdy - San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 11)
For being the last pick of last year’s draft, Brock Purdy has looked good. With Purdy under center, the 49ers have wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. Like with Jimmy Garoppolo though, we’ll see what he can do in the postseason.
12. Derek Carr - Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 13)
It will be interesting to see what the Raiders do with Derek Carr this offseason. They likely need to win-out to make the playoffs and with games against the Chiefs and 49ers that seems unlikely.
13. Kirk Cousins - Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 14)
Say what you want about Cousins, and he hasn’t been great at times this year, but he helped lead the Vikings back from a 33-0 halftime deficit last week. Cousins and the Vikings are going to be judged by how they perform in the postseason.
14. Tom Brady - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 12)
It’s pretty clear that the Brady-Bucs marriage is coming to an end. Brady didn’t play well in the second half against the Bengals and it ended up costing his team a win.
15. Daniel Jones - New York Giants (Last Week:16)
Jones executed the offense well against Washington on Sunday Night, helping the Giants get a much-needed win. He made some impressive throws when he needed in a game with huge playoff implications.
The 3rd & 9 + 4th & 9 conversions for Daniel Jones pic.twitter.com/Hg2fpUliDC— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) December 20, 2022
16. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 18)
Are the Packers going to run the table? Rodgers has led the Packers to back-to-back wins and they have a favorable schedule coming up. I wouldn’t count this team out just yet.
17. Ryan Tannehill - Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 15)
18. Sam Darnold - Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 19)
19. Andy Dalton - New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 21)
20. Mac Jones - New England Patriots (Last Week: 24)
21. Justin Fields - Chicago Bears (Last Week: 23)
22. Baker Mayfield - Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 19)
23. Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 26)
24. Taylor Heinicke - Washington Commanders (Last Week: 27)
It’s crazy how much one week can change the perception of a player. Mayfield helped lead the Rams to a 16-3 comeback victory two weeks ago and then threw for 111 yards against the Packers. We’ll see how Mayfield performs over the next three weeks, but him staying in LA is anything but a guarantee.
25: Tyler Huntley - Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: NR)
26. Russell Wilson - Denver Broncos (Last Week: 29)
27: Deshaun Watson - Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 30)
28. Matt Ryan - Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 28)
29. Colt McCoy - Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 25)
30. Zach Wilson - New York Jets (Last Week: NR)
31. Davis Mills - Houston Texans (Last Week: 31)
32. Desmond Ridder - Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 24)
Wilson still made some mistakes on Sunday, but he also made some very good throws in a loss to the Lions. He took accountability after the game and seems to be humbled after being benched. We’ll see if the Jets return to Mike White once he’s healthy.