NFL MVP tracker: 3. Justin Herbert, LA Chargers
Justin Herbert does check in as the third-favorite MVP thus far this season but that is nothing for him to hang his head on. In fact, his great performance against the Raiders is more so an indication that he does belong in this conversation despite what any naysayers may have said about the former Oregon Duck heading into the season.
Anyone who watched the Chargers game knows that Herbert could have done more offensively as well. If Keenan Allen does not get hurt and the Chargers keep their foot on the gas then Herbert could have easily finished with over 300 yards with four touchdowns.
That still would not have quite put him ahead of Mahomes, but it would have been an even better start to what should be an absurd season for Herbert.
This Thursday presents a huge opportunity for Herbert to jump Mahomes on the list, though. The MVP award is just as much about the narrative than it is the stats and if the Chargers can defeat the Chiefs on the road in Week 2 that will give Herbert the edge up. It does not matter if Mahomes has a marginally better game, Herbert will earn the advantage.
That is ultimately what this MVP race is going to come down to. Can either of the AFC West quarterbacks have a better year than Josh Allen? If so, whoever wins the division is going to end up getting a lot of buzz for the award/.
Herbert probably has more of an advantage over Mahomes as well since he has not won the award before and the Chargers winning the division would be more impressive to voters than the Chiefs winning it again.