Aaron Rodgers vs Patrick Mahomes: Who Should Be the NFL MVP?

With one game remaining in the 2020 NFL season, the race for NFL MVP is nearly over. The voting for the award is held before the start of the playoffs and postseason performance is not taken into consideration when determining the winner.

The two frontrunners for the award this season are Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Both players have won the MVP in prior seasons. Mahomes won most recently, capturing the award in 2018 while Rodgers won in 2011 and 2014.

Here is a look at the two and a look at which one of them should be named the NFL MVP for 2020:

Statistics:

                                                Attempts             Completions      PCT        Yards     Y/A         TD           INT         Rating

Rodgers                               502                         353                         70.3        4,059     8.1          44           5              119.4

Mahomes                             588                         390                         66.3        4,740     8.1          38           6              108.2

 

If you go by straight statistics, Rodgers clearly has the edge. He presently leads the league in touchdowns with 44, one shy of his career high set back in 2011, one of his two previous MVP campaigns.

His completion percentage is also four points higher than Mahomes’ and that is not because either quarterback is throwing short all the time because both candidates have an identical 8.1-yards per attempt.

The biggest edge Mahomes has is in passing yards. The Chiefs signal caller leads the league with 4,740 and could exceed 5,000 yards for the season with 260 passing yards in the season finale against the Chargers on Sunday. So, the main reason Mahomes has more passing yards than Rodgers is because he has thrown 86 more passes than Rodgers.

Rodgers also has a substantial advantage in touchdown percentage. The Packers starter leads the league with an 8.8 percent touchdown percentage, Mahomes has 6.5 percent.

Rodgers also has a higher completion percentage and has thrown fewer interceptions than Mahomes. Both quarterbacks have a 1.0 percent interception percentage for the season.

Mahomes has led the Chiefs to the league’s best record at 14-1-0 while Rodgers has led the Packers to a 12-3-0 record. Both teams enter Week 17 as the top seed in their respective conferences.

Both quarterbacks have been remarkably consistent this season but Rodgers has been more so. In 15 games, Rodgers has 13 games with at least a 100.0 quarterback and had only one game below 90. He has been excellent week in and week out. Mahomes has been less consistent. Six times, Mahomes has had a passer rating of below 100 including the last four games of the present season. So not only has Rodgers been more consistent, but he has also played better down the stretch than his top competitor.

Mahomes has three games with four or more touchdown passes this season including one with five TD tosses. Rodgers has thrown four or more touchdowns in a game six times this season although he has never thrown more than four in a game.

The Packers are presently the top scoring offense in the NFL with 474 points. The Chiefs are not far behind with 452. So, Rodgers’ team is averaging 31.6-points per game while Mahomes’ club is averaging 30.1.

A difficult part of the debate is determining which quarterback has more talent around them. The Chiefs seem to have more weapons at the so-called skill positions with Travis Kelce being one of the best tight ends in the NFL and outstanding receiving weapons like the speedy Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson.

The Packers are stronger at running back with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and rookie A.J. Dillon which is a deeper and more talented group than Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell.

Tight end Robert Tonyan is having a breakout season and probably should have made the Pro Bowl, but he is not at the same elite level as Kelce just yet.

But at wide receiver, the talent level drops off after Davante Adams with Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown not as experienced or as accomplished as the Chiefs receiving corps.

Both teams have excellent offensive lines with the Green Bay line allowing fewer sacks thus far albeit in fewer passing attempts. Give a slight edge to Rodgers and the Packers in this category.

There also may be a sentimental reason for Rodgers to win the award this year. The Packers quarterback just turned 37 and is admittedly in the back nine of his Hall of Fame career. Mahomes is 25 and is just entering his prime. In theory, Mahomes will have more chances to win the award in the future than Rodgers will.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur certainly believes his quarterback should win the award. Earlier this month, he touted Rodgers for the league’s MVP. “A guy of his caliber, who, without a doubt in my mind, should be the front runner for the MVP,” LaFleur told reporters after the Packers defeated the Lions for the second time. “I mean, he does it consistently every time we go out on that field. It gives you a lot of confidence that you’re going to come out with a victory.”

Overall, Rodgers has done more with less over the course of the season. His overall numbers are slightly better and he’s been more consistent than Mahomes. Rodgers should get the edge in a close race between two outstanding football players.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (41)

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Philarod's picture

December 31, 2020 at 12:18 pm

I like everything about Mahomes --- he's awesome -- but Rodgers clearly should get it this year.
I don't begrudge Mahomes his weapons, but he has much more around him, yet Rodgers' has a significantly higher passer rating and has actually led a more productive offense, points-wise.
As tremendous as Davante has been, he does not stretch the field anywhere near as much as Hill does.
Kelce is open practically at will as well. And the rest of Mahomes' receivers are slightly better and more consistent than Lazard, MVS, ESB, etc.

Verdict: Mahomes is MVP-worthy, but Rodgers should win this award decisively.

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packerbackerjim's picture

December 31, 2020 at 12:26 pm

In total agreement. With far fewer attempts, the yardage display disappears. It took a while for the receivers other than Adam’s to catch on, pardon the pun. Sammy Watkins was something like the 5th overall pick in his draft class. Kelce and Hill commanded DCs attention like few others. Tonyan is under the radar, relatively speaking, which is advantageous, but when he can produce like Kelce given attention he merits, the gap will be reduced.

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:07 pm

No doubt Mahomes has more talent at the skill positions when it comes to his supporting cast. I would give the award to Rodgers, but I'm obviously biased. Thanks for the comment and have a happy and healthy new year.

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:06 pm

Agreed Philarod. Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year.

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Philarod's picture

December 31, 2020 at 10:57 pm

Happy New Year -- thanks for all you do for this site.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Thanks. I appreciate that.

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splitpea1's picture

December 31, 2020 at 12:19 pm

Rodgers. And he has better crows feet to boot.

Hoping for another Super Bowl MVP as well....

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:08 pm

The Super Bowl MVP would be more important than the league MVP. Hope he gets both. Thanks as always for commenting, splitpea1 and Happy New Year.

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splitpea1's picture

December 31, 2020 at 03:01 pm

You as well; I enjoy your articles.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Thanks splitpea1 and I always appreciate your comments. Hope the new year is a good one for you and your family.

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Bure9620's picture

December 31, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Rodgers, he has been more efficient than Mahomes, really not a race anymore

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:09 pm

He's been more consistent and more efficient and I think better although I would take either one on my team if I'm a GM. I'd give the award this year to Rodgers. Thanks for commenting, Bure9620 and Happy New Year.

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mnbadger's picture

January 01, 2021 at 11:46 am

YOu said it well Gil.
'nuff said. AR 4 MVP.
Now lets put the bear cubs into hibernation for the winter and move on to the playoffs! GPG

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:09 pm

Here, here, mnbadger. Thanks for commenting and happy new year.

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13TimeChamps's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:04 pm

If Rodgers wins, which he should IMO, what's more impressive...Favre's 3 in a row during the prime of his career? Or Rodgers' spread out over a 10 year span? Both impressive obviously, and there's not really a wrong answer, but I would go with Rodgers.

I'd be curious to know what the largest gap is, years-wise, between winning MVPs. 2011 to 2020 has to be up there.

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:11 pm

Well he also won in 2014 so it's six years between MVPs and 10 years between his first and most recent if you look at it that way. I'm not sure if that's a record. Either way, it's impressive. Thanks for the comment, 13TimeChamps and have a happy and healthy new year.

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splitpea1's picture

December 31, 2020 at 03:11 pm

10 years. Peyton Manning five times between 2003 and 2013, and Brady three times between 2007 and 2017.

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Since'61's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:12 pm

Two points to add to the discussion. The Packers offense has scored 460 points this season. The other 14 came off a punt return and a pick-6.

We should also factor in their rushing stats.
Rodgers has rushed for 145 yards, 3 TDs and 15 first downs.
Mahomes has rushed for 308 yards, 2 TDs and 22 first downs.

The rushing yards are not a factor but both QBs have contributed with their legs running for TDs and first downs.
I think the keys will be TD passes, number of picks and completion percentage all of which are in Rodgers favor. We’ll see. You never know how the voting will go. Thanks, Since ‘61

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GilMartin's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:14 pm

Yes, the defense did score some points, although few people take that into consideration. The rushing yards give a slight edge to Mahomes who is also more than a decade younger than AR. I think Rodgers deserves the award overall and hopefully he'll get it. Thanks for the comment, Since'61 and have a happy and healthy new year.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:39 pm

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, it was fashionable to devise clever plans to move on from Rodgers around these parts.

Today, the national punditry has declared him the favorite to win his 3rd MVP.

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Qoojo's picture

December 31, 2020 at 02:55 pm

I don't remember any discussion last year during December about that.

When a QB is in the upper 30s, there should be discussion about plans on what happens afterward. Wanting to play and being able to play are two different things.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Also true, Qoojo. I thought they selected Rodgers' potential successor a year too early, but we'll see what Love becomes. Rodgers certainly showed this year he isn't done yet. Thanks for the comment and happy new year.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:43 pm

I'll take that kind of difference all the time. Good point, HankScorpio and Happy New Year.

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Coldworld's picture

December 31, 2020 at 01:39 pm

On the figures overall it’s not really a close decision going in to the final game. The best QB is Rodgers. It’s not the most valuable offense but the most valuable player.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:46 pm

True, Coldworld, although different voters interpret most valuable player in different ways. Do you feel Rodgers should be the MVP this year? Happy new year to you and thanks as always for commenting.

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Qoojo's picture

December 31, 2020 at 02:52 pm

Is MVP the best performer or is it the player that makes the biggest difference for their team? I think it usually resolves down to best offensive performance by a player, which is usually QB. I think Rodgers has the lead clearly with qb rating, TDs, and INTs combined.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:46 pm

I'd give him the edge for those reasons also. He's been more consistent than Mahomes as well. Thanks for the comment.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

December 31, 2020 at 02:55 pm

Thanks Gil!

Dont want this to come off wrong but I do not care who wins the MVP award. Any individual awards should come after season.

I simply want another SB trophy!

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Doesn't come off wrong at all. If given the choice, I'd take the championship over individual awards any day. I do feel Rodgers deserves the MVP and there's nothing stopping him from winning it AND the Packers winning another Super Bowl. Thanks for commenting and Happy New Year to you and your family.

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PF4L's picture

December 31, 2020 at 03:00 pm

I have a ton of respect for Mahomes and his game. He plays with all the skills needed, but mentally in his rookie and second season, it was like he's been a star in this league for 10 years. Played with knowledge and poise way above his experience level.
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I think Rodgers edged him out here in the last 2,3 weeks even though Rodgers got steamrolled by the Panthers front 7
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I want to see Rodgers win it, i know it's important to him, and i think he should have 2, or 3 SB wins by now, or at least appearances.
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Rock on with that MVP Aaron, you earned it...at 37. So much for all the kool-aid drinkers who claimed Rodgers was done at various times the last 5 seasons.
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I'll say what i told all those people. Rodgers just didn't forget how to play QB. And that i'll ride with Rodgers to the very, very end.
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Rodgers is a supreme talent. Green Bay fans can act spoiled with almost 3 decades of HOF franchise QB's. Those fans need to realize how rare it was/is to have what we've had.
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Appreciate what you've had. I have a feeling in 1-2 years, they'll have a better understanding where i'm coming from.

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PeteK's picture

December 31, 2020 at 05:56 pm

I was a fan during the dark days, so I am very appreciative to what we have. Niners had a solid Garcia after their run and the Pack has taken a very calculated step for our third. I'm 65 and finally made it to Lambeau for the Seattle playoff game last season. I would like to attend a few more before I start drooling and babbling more than I do already. So win baby win!!!

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PF4L's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Godspeed Pete....hope you make it to more games also.
I'll never forget the goosebumps i had walking into Lambeau Field as a young man.
It's hallowed ground.
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Jeff was pretty good with San Fran. But kind of fell off the cliff after. Not what i would call HOF or even franchise.
The strange thing was....San Fran let him walk. Maybe their was something with his personality, i don't know.
But he was on 10 different NFL and CFL teams in his career.
He was moving....constantly

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:51 pm

Here, here, PeteK. I remember the dark days too. Wasn't easy to be a Packers fan in the 70s and 80s .Thanks for the comment and have a happy and a healthy new year.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:50 pm

Well said, PF4L. Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year. It's been a real privilege for Packers fans to watch Rodgers do his thing for the last 13 seasons. Enjoy the experience.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

December 31, 2020 at 04:21 pm

Happy New Year Gil!

I think Rodgers should get the MVP. He'll have a chance to stretch his lead even further on Sunday. I heard that Mahomes will be resting next Sunday, So Rodgers may open up a gap.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:52 pm

I hope so, PewAuKeeFan. He deserves it. Have a great new year and thanks for commenting.

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egbertsouse's picture

January 01, 2021 at 07:46 am

And the correct answer is: Who cares?

Winning the Super Bowl is the important thing, not all these BS popularity contests.

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PF4L's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:32 pm

I care. He deserves to be acknowledged for his performance at 37 years old in a league full of young guns.
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Winning a Super Bowl is important. Rodgers should have 1 or 2 more. But he doesn't. Only one team can win each year, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
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Hell..just getting into the Super Bowl is hard. Winning NFCCG's is sometimes very difficult (see Green Bay dysfunctional play)
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It's Most Valuable Player....not Most Popular. Rodgers has earned it.
SHOW SOME RESPECT!

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Well said. He does deserve the award. It's being given and he has earned it. Thanks for commenting.

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GilMartin's picture

January 01, 2021 at 12:53 pm

The Super Bowl is obviously most important. I still think Rodgers deserves the MVP but given the choice to win one, the Super Bowl trophy is the one that counts. Thanks for the comment, egbertsouse and happy new year.

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PF4L's picture

January 01, 2021 at 01:49 pm

But...it really isn't a choice.
It's one, or the other, or both. See Patrick Mahomes

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