There’s still a long way to go in the 2023 NFL season, but with half of the campaign already behind us, fans already start to make predictions. The biggest question is which teams will make the Super Bowl, but the individual awards are also an intriguing topic in the league.
While it may be too soon to tell who will win MVP, we already have an idea about those who could be in the conversation. The likes of Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are obviously in the mix, though there could be other candidates as well.
Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill and San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey are making a case to be in consideration too. But since the Offensive Player of the Year also exists, the MVP award is often reduced to quarterbacks.
That’s why we’re going to take a look at three dark-horse candidates only considering signal-callers. Given that QBs are more likely to win the MVP than other players, we’ll mention those who may run from behind the bookmakers’ favorites.
3. Jared Goff
Jared Goff is the face of a potentially historic season for the Lions. The 2016 first-overall pick had to rebuild his reputation after being traded by the Rams in 2021, but Detroit proved to be the perfect place for him to get his career back on track.
Goff ranks fifth in passing yards this season (2,507), while he also threw for 14 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His team is currently atop the NFC North with a 7-2 record, having a serious chance to win its first division title since 1993.
On paper, the Lions are favorites to win most of the remaining games in their schedule. That could give Goff the opportunity to continue making a case for himself. But only time will tell us if he ultimately makes the MVP conversation.
2. CJ Stroud
We’re running out of words to describe CJ Stroud‘s first year in the NFL. The rookie quarterback has quickly changed the Houston Texans‘ fortunes, and sometimes it’s hard to tell that he was playing in college only a year ago.
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Should CJ Stroud win MVP instead of Rookie of the Year?
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The second-overall pick in the 2023 Draft already has more passing yards (2,626) than most quarterbacks in the league, as only Sam Howell ranks above him. But Stroud does lead the league in average yards per game (291.8).
On top of that, his two interceptions are the lowest among quarterbacks who started at least eight games. Rookies often don’t make the MVP conversation as we already have the Rookie of the Year award, but if Stroud continues to take the Texans to new heights, he may be the exception.
1. Dak Prescott
Some may argue that Dak Prescott wouldn’t be a dark-horse candidate, and that’s fair. But the truth is that his name hasn’t been mentioned that much, which is why it’s safe to say his MVP candidacy is being quite overlooked.
His story is quite interesting, having won Offensive Rookie of the Year after being selected in the fourth round by the Cowboys in 2016. But Prescott hasn’t lacked in doubters in the following years, as he has yet to take Dallas to a deep playoff run.
The 30-year-old, however, has been on fire recently. With 2,415 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, Prescott ranks third in QBR (72.6). His MVP chances may depend on whether the Cowboys overtake the Eagles in the NFC East, though. It doesn’t look easy, but we’ll see when it’s all said and done.