Who will it be? The Associated Press announced the five finalists for the NFL’s MVP Award – and the debate around the deserving winner will percolate until the honor is handed out on Feb. 9.
One of the names is quite familiar for Eagles fans: Jalen Hurts. The Philadelphia quarterback joins Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City), Joe Burrow (Cincinnati), Josh Allen (Buffalo) and Justin Jefferson (Minnesota) as finalists for the award, which will prompt both futures betting at Pennsylvania sportsbooks and discussion right up until the ceremony begins.
Jalen Hurts named NFL MVP finalist
However, Hurts got off to a fast start and quickly became one of the frontrunners with some impressive dual-threat statistics (22 passing TDs/13 rushing TDs) and the Eagles’ equally impressive march to the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
After Week 14, he was the expected winner, with MVP odds that peaked at -175 in mid-December.
But an injury that forced him to miss Weeks 16 and 17 dropped him from the top spot. Those numbers have stabilized some after Hurts and his teammates trounced the New York Giants to reach the NFC Championship.
“I hope Jalen wins it, right, because you want that for your players,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said in a press conference this week. “He’s had a great year. But I know there are other people deserving as well. He’s just going to continue to go about his business and get ready for this next game.”
Hurts has Eagles one win away from Super Bowl
On Sunday, the Eagles will compete for a berth in the Super Bowl. And thanks to their quarterback’s development, Philadelphia enters the game as a 2.5-point favorite at DraftKings PA.
Last season, Hurts had 16 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 games. Philadelphia lost to Tampa Bay in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Rumors swirled that the Eagles were keeping a close eye on the quarterback market.
But a lot can change during a football season.
This year, Hurts was dynamic as a rusher (760 yards) and efficient as a passer, completing 66% of his passes for 3,701 yards.
He’ll be a key figure in Sunday’s game, which features the Eagles’ No. 3 offense (389.1 yards per game) and San Francisco’s top-ranked defense, which is No. 1 in yards allowed per game (300.6).
A good showing might give Hurts a bump in the MVP race, but right now, he’s a clear underdog, a role he is very familiar with.
After leading Alabama to multiple College Football Playoff berths, Hurts was eventually replaced by Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. He finished his college career at Oklahoma and wasn’t drafted until pick No. 53 in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
His NFL career has been an uphill climb ever since, but he has a chance to take his team to the Super Bowl with one more win on Sunday (3:00 p.m. on FOX).
Eagles among favorites for 2024 Super Bowl odds
And even if Sunday’s game goes sideways for Philadelphia, sportsbooks are bullish on Hurts and the Eagles moving forward.
DraftKings Sportsbook released its 2024 Super Bowl odds recently and Philadelphia is tied for fourth among the favorites at +1000.
The other teams near the top include the Chiefs (+550), Bills (+550), 49ers (+700) and Bengals (who are tied with Philly at +1000).
Of course, it’s almost impossible to think about next year now, with some massive games scheduled on Sunday, the Super Bowl looming soon afterward and player awards waiting to be passed out, too.