We’ve got five bold predictions on tap for you. You be the judge of whether you’re a believer for each one.
Part 1: Russell Wilson will win the 2020 NFL MVP Award.
It became a big topic of discussion this offseason that in Wilson’s eight years in the NFL, not only has he never won an MVP award, he’s never even received a vote for the league’s most prestigious honor.
Warren Sharp detailed every player who has gotten a vote since Wilson entered the NFL in 2012.
Russell Wilson has NEVER received a single MVP vote.— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 12, 2020
Every vote cast since he entered the NFL:
1 Palmer pic.twitter.com/5NhKuMMzLq
But is it possible that 2020 will be Wilson’s year? Myself and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times weighed in to discuss the possibility of Seattle’s franchise QB taking home the title.
“I’ll sell him actually winning, but I’ll buy him getting a vote,” Condotta said.
He made a sensible note that Wilson not receiving a single MVP vote to this point is not as outrageous as it seems at first blush. Those who are given a vote only get one pick. It’s not like MLB where MVP voters fill out a ballot of five players. So when things are as blatantly obvious as the last two seasons (Patrick Mahomes in 2018 and Lamar Jackson in 2019), it makes sense why Wilson didn’t get a vote.
But that doesn’t mean things won’t change in 2020.
“Maybe this will be a year where it’s just a little more wide open,” Condotta said. “You’re still going to have Mahomes and Jackson and Deshaun Watson and all kinds of people out there, but maybe it’s a year where there isn’t that breakthrough guy like Lamar who becomes the obvious guy to get it. Then people sort of spread their votes around some more.”
Condotta wisely pointed out that Wilson may benefit from the extra attention on him this offseason. The outrage over his lack of ever receiving a single vote for MVP should work in his favor as long as he follows through and has a prodigious season.
“I think there will be a little bit more of an eye on Russell given everything and people realizing what a great player he’s been and that at some point it becomes his year where it’s his time to get it,” Condotta said. “I would almost come close to buying it, but it is really hard to win an MVP.”
It’s not a hard sell for me because I think Wilson winning MVP is possible… and not because he will necessarily have the best numbers. It will be hard for him to keep up with Jackson and Mahomes, two guys who carry their respective teams and operate in offenses catered specifically to help them do so. No matter Wilson’s greatness, Pete Carroll will always prefer a balanced attack led by a productive running game.
The good news is that Wilson might not need to top Mahomes and Jackson statistically in order to edge them in the MVP race. That’s because the Seahawks play in the best division in football. Had the new playoff rules been adopted a year ago, the Rams would have made the postseason as the No. 7 seed in the NFC.
It’s entirely possible that three teams in the NFC West make the playoffs in 2020. The 49ers remain a Super Bowl favorite, the Cardinals appear to be way ahead of schedule in their rebuild and the Rams are still loaded with talent.
It’s likely going to take at least 12 wins for Seattle to earn the divisional crown. If I told you right now that the Seahawks are going to win the NFC West in 2020, you’d surely imagine a monster season from Wilson. That’s why it’s hard to imagine Wilson not winning the award if Seattle is able to do so.
But let’s be honest: Wilson’s case for MVP wouldn’t mind a slight regression from Mahomes and Jackson, either.