Patriots

NFL Network includes Mac Jones among dark horse NFL MVP candidates

Patriots

The 2022 NFL season is still several months away, but it's not too early to think about awards predictions.

It's always fun to talk about dark horse MVP candidates -- players who are longshots to win the award, but there are certain scenarios in which they might have a chance.

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NFL Network recently unveiled a few of these MVP candidates, and Peter Schrager's choice was New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

Check out his reasoning in the video below:

It wouldn't be unprecedented for Jones to win MVP in his season year. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson both did it recently, as Schrager noted. That said, Mahomes and Jackson each had historic seasons en route to winning the award. Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes in 2018, while Jackson put together one of the best dual-threat campaigns in 2019. Jackson threw 36 touchdowns with six interceptions, and he also ran for 1,206 yards with seven more scores.

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Another common denominator among those two MVP seasons was both Mahomes and Jackson led their teams to the AFC's No. 1 seed. If Jones puts up good stats and the Patriots finish with the best record in the conference, then he'll probably be in the MVP conversation. But the chances of that scenario unfolding are incredibly slim, though. New England might not even finish first or second in its own division. 

The future is bright for Jones. He was the best rookie quarterback in the league last season. The Patriots' No. 1 goal for 2022 should helping him make meaningful improvements in several facets of his skill set. If that happens, the season will absolutely be a success.