Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow put together an MVP-caliber season in 2021, but he doesn't quite size up to his competitors in 2022.
Burrow is currently tied with Seattle Seahawks' Geno Smith for the sixth-best odds to win league MVP (+2000), which isn't all that bad considering the stiff competition.
After leading the league in completion percentage and yards per attempt last season, Burrow has come back down to earth, recording a still impressive 70 percent completion rate and throwing 18 touchdowns against six interceptions.
He's since bounced back from his abysmal start to the season and is on pace for 4,500-plus passing yards with 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. With a little bit of luck, he should be able to take the Bengals to the playoffs again, yet he's noticeably absent from the early 2022 MVP race.
Bengals shouldn't feel bad about Joe Burrow losing the MVP race
The Athletic recently compiled a list of serious MVP contenders and included all the usual suspects: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts. They also, however, included some new, unexpected names: Tua Tagovailoa, Geno Smith, and Micah Parsons.
Burrow was missing from the list altogether, failing to receive even a single vote for MVP. His AFC North rival, Lamar Jackson, came in at fifth overall.
While some Bengals fans may feel jaded by the results, this doesn't mean Burrow isn't having a productive season. He's only thrown two picks in his last eight weeks, and other than an out-of-character loss to the Browns, he's powered forward to win three of his last four games.
Cincinnati have scored 30-plus points in each of those wins, a good sign that its offense is humming even with star wideout Ja'Marr Chase injured.
Burrow may not win any awards when he's playing in the same conference as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, yet the franchise quarterback has what it takes to make another deep playoff run in 2022 -- and that's all fans should care about.
MVP be damned. Burrow and the Bengals have their sights set on a much bigger prize this season.