Based on a simple look at recent history, Jared Goff might have a decent shot at MVP

Jared Goff is coming off a very good season for the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Nobody would go into the season saying Jared Goff is the best quarterback in the NFL. That doesn’t really matter for the MVP discussion, however.

There is a formula for MVP. The days of Emmitt Smith or Lawrence Taylor winning the award are long, long gone. But it’s not just narrowing it down to quarterbacks or even quarterbacks from playoff teams. You need to figure out the quarterback whose team will have one of the top two records in their conference. If someone came from the future and told you which teams had the top four records in the regular season, you could narrow the MVP race down with remarkable accuracy.

Here is the breakdown of the last 15 NFL MVPs. It’s pretty basic:

• 12 quarterbacks from a No. 1 seed in their conference

• 2 quarterbacks from a No. 2 seed in their conference (Aaron Rodgers in 2015 and Matt Ryan in 2016)

• Adrian Peterson

This isn’t hard to figure out. Based on the last 15 years — Peterson winning MVP over Peyton Manning and his No. 1 seed Denver Broncos seems like it happened eight generations ago by now — 80 percent of the MVPs have been the QB on a top seed in their conference. And you have a slight chance as a No. 2 seed.

With that said, let’s get back to Goff.

The NFL MVP odds at BetMGM don’t like Goff all that much. He’s down at 35-to-1. That’s tied for the 15th best odds, along with Anthony Richardson and Kirk Cousins.

Some quarterbacks ahead of Goff on the list like Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford are very good players but seem very unlikely to be leading a top 2 seed in the AFC or NFC. Therefore, unless you think their teams have a huge season with a great record, recent history tells us that we can cross them off now. They don’t fit the formula.

Goff fits the formula very well. Detroit finished last season in the NFC championship game. They are tied for the second-best win total in the NFC and have the second-best Super Bowl odds in the NFC behind the San Francisco 49ers. Here are the top four teams, in terms of Super Bowl odds, and their quarterback’s odds to win MVP:

Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes +500

San Francisco 49ers, Brock Purdy +1600

Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson +1200

Detroit Lions, Goff +3500

One certainly stands out. You can add up the numbers of the first three quarterbacks’ odds and it’s still less than Goff’s number.

Goff would have to play well enough to get consideration even if the Lions are good, of course, but that might not be a problem either.

Goff was pretty close to MVP numbers last season. He threw for 4,575 yards and 30 touchdowns for a 12-5 team, and as we know the latter number (even though it’s team-based) is more important than the rest when it comes to MVP consideration.

Goff could at least replicate his 2023 and perhaps surpass it. He is comfortable in the offense, especially with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson returning, and the coaches have confidence in him. The team showed what it thinks of Goff by signing him to a four-year, $212 million extension this offseason. The Lions believe Goff is one of the best QBs in football, based on that deal. Also, by now most NFL fans are aware that Goff is much better indoors. He had a 108.9 passer rating in dome games last season and a 82 passer rating in outdoor games. The Lions play 14 of 17 games indoors this season. That helps a lot.

The team aspect isn’t guaranteed to improve. The Lions play in a tough division and the NFL can be unpredictable. But Detroit has a decent shot to post the NFL’s best record this season. They’re in that exclusive tier. Their chances of posting the NFC’s best record, are better than, say, 35-to-1.

MVP could go to someone like Mahomes if the Chiefs are great again, or even Brock Purdy if the 49ers get the No. 1 seed again. But if the Lions grab a No. 1 seed, or maybe even a No. 2 seed, don’t sleep on Goff as a possible MVP. He’d fit what voters look for.

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