Here’s why Russell Wilson is a strong candidate to be the NFL’s MVP
SEATTLE – Russell Wilson hasn’t just been the leader of the Seahawks’ offense this season. He’s basically been the offense.
Wilson has accounted for 82.1 percent of Seattle’s total scrimmage yards. That’s the highest percentage of any player in the league and, according to NFL Media Research, if that stat holds it would be the highest percentage by a player in any season in the Super Bowl era.
He’s led Seattle to two dramatic fourth-quarter comebacks, thrown for 19 touchdowns and leads the team in rushing. All this despite a rash of injuries to the team, a shaky offensive line and an up-and-down defense. The fact the Seahawks are 6-3 and still control their fate in the NFC West is somewhat remarkable.
Which begs the question: Is Russell Wilson the NFL’s most valuable player?
Q13 sports reporter Aaron Levine brought up the possibility two weeks ago. He says the conversation’s changed a little since the Seahawks lost to the Redskins.
“That was a critical game in the way the MVP race has shaped up to this point,” Levine said. “It’s one of the reasons why Russell is not being considered among the top candidates.”
But that could change. With the Seahawks scheduled to play nationally televised games two of the next three weeks, Wilson will get plenty of exposure.
“He has Monday Night Football against the Falcons, everybody will be watching that game,” Levine said. “He has Sunday Night Football in three weeks against the Philadelphia Eagles where he will go head-to-head with Carson Wentz. So, the next three weeks are incredibly key for him making the case that he should be considered for MVP of the league.”
Wilson is on pace to throw for career highs in attempts, completions and yards. As the Seahawks have struggled to find a running game, they’ve relied perhaps more than ever on Wilson’s unique playmaking ability.
That’s one reason Q13 sports reporter Ian Furness says Seattle’s star QB could be among those considered for the NFL’s top individual honor.
“You’re seeing a player that often makes something out of nothing,” Furness said. “Something that a lot of other players can’t do at that position.”
Furness and Levine agree Wilson has a shot at winning the MVP, but they both say there’s a lot of work to be done over the final seven weeks for that to happen.
Most important will be winning.
“The Seahawks first of all have to go 6-1 or 7-0 the rest of the way,” Levine said. “They have to be the one or the two seed. … Especially if you’re going to be considered against guys like Carson Wentz, who currently has the top seed in the NFC and Tom Brady and Alex Smith, whose teams are vying for the top seeds in the AFC.”
Furness agreed it will take a lot of winning to move Wilson ahead of other candidates, but because of how the Seahawks are winning this season, he said that might actually do the trick.
“If they get to the playoffs, they’re going to get there because Russell Wilson put the team and the offense on his shoulders,” he said. “So, I would think that would make him a candidate.”
With recent injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor thinning Seattle’s defense even further, the team’s odds of winning out appear hefty. But that may end up being exactly what makes Wilson an MVP.
“I think his odds are probably less than 20 percent,” Furness said. But that doesn’t mean Furness is ready to count the possibility out.
“Russell’s football IQ is as high as anybody in the league,” he said. “His playmaking ability is as high if not higher than anybody in the league. He has above average arm strength. His mobility. All those things. He’s just special.”
Levine pointed again to the bulk of the load Wilson has carried for the Seahawks and marveled.
“The Seahawks wouldn’t be 6-3 right now if not for Russell Wilson,” he said. “They’d probably be 4-5 at best. While you can say that about the Seahawks most seasons without a quarterback like Russell Wilson, he’s had to take command of this team more often this year than he has in past years.”
So while Levine acknowledged the odds are stacked against Wilson winning the MVP, he said he’s not ready to rule out the possibility either.
These are Pete Carroll’s Seahawks. Remember the run the team put together at the end of 2015? Remember the NFC Championship win over Green Bay? How about practically everything that’s happened since Wilson’s took over as the Seahawks quarterback?
“We’ve seen crazier things happen in the past,” he said.