NFL’s 2022 midseason MVP? USA TODAY experts torn between Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes

With the 2022 NFL season roughly halfway complete, it’s only natural to begin pondering year-end awards – specifically, the frontrunner(s) for MVP. Plenty can change over the next 10 weeks – our USA TODAY Sports panel of league experts voted Lamar Jackson the midyear MVP in 2021, while eventual winner Aaron Rodgers received a single third-place vote.

This time around, there’s a compelling three-man race taking shape. So, without further ado, let’s reveal the leading candidates … for now:

(Methodology: Five points awarded for first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote, and one point for third-place vote.)

He’s had a far greater impact than Miami’s brass could have hoped for in March, when Hill was obtained in a package that included a first-round pick. He’s already provided four games with at least 160 receiving yards and has produced with and without QB Tua Tagovailoa in the lineup. Hill’s 961 receiving yards lead the league and put him on pace for a record-breaking 2,042-yard campaign.

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He may soon be regarded as the league’s premier defender. Parsons’ eight sacks leave him a half-sack off the league lead, and he also has 14 quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss. But he’s much more than a one-dimensional pass rusher, thriving in coverage and willing to take on running backs. While league MVP might be a stretch for Parsons at this juncture, he’s definitely at the forefront of the defensive player of the year discussion.

Despite recalibrating an offense stripped of Hill, the 2018 MVP leads the league with 20 TD passes and has the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Mahomes’ improving chemistry with new players like WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling was evident in his most recent outing, when he threw for a season-high 423 yards. It marked the first time Mahomes had a pair of 100-yard receivers while neither was Hill or TE Travis Kelce. The Chiefs’ league-leading 31.9 points per game are nearly a field goal better than Buffalo (29.0).

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2. Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (21 points, three first-place votes)

When you’re the quarterback of the league’s only remaining undefeated team, you’re going to get deserved love. When you’ve led a flagship organization like the Eagles to their first-ever 8-0 start, you’re going to get deserved love. When you’re the first quarterback in the franchise’s 90-season history to win 11 straight regular-season starts, you’re going to get deserved love. When you’ve long been regarded as a raw passer but lead the NFC with a 107.8 passer rating – while accounting for 18 TDs – you’re going to get deserved love.

1. Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen (30 points, four first-place votes)

The MVP runner-up to Rodgers in 2020, Allen’s got a good shot at securing the hardware for the first time. He’s averaging 314 passing yards per game, tops in the league and a pace that gives him a shot at breaking Peyton Manning’s single-season record (5,477). Allen has also accounted for 21 TDs (19 passing, 2 rushing), also the most this season (and he’s played only seven games). Allen’s 306 rushing yards are 7 off the team lead, and his 43.7 per game are actually more than Hurts (40.8). Most importantly, Buffalo is off to a 6-1 start, its best since the 1990s Super Bowl teams. If selected, Allen would become the first Bills quarterback to win MVP honors.

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Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL MVP at 2022 midpoint? Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Patrick or Mahomes?

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