Not too long ago in the distant past there were calls from fans and pundits to move Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback out to receiver or even running back. The young Pompano Beach born player simply didn’t have what it takes to succeed at quarterback according to the most knowledgeable pundits in the game.
Two years on from that criticism Jackson made his critics eat their words as he stormed to a unanimous MVP selection off the back of a record-breaking season that saw him deliver over 3,000 passing yards and over 1,000 rushing yards.
Despite that success, there are still some who believe that Jackson’s phenomenal 2019 season was nothing more than a flash in the pan. Read on to find out why they are wrong.
The Bookmakers are Running Scared
In November of last year, even after Lamar Jackson had done enough to showcase his MVP potential, most bookmakers still had him at odds as long as 14-1 to scoop the AP award. At that point, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes had the shortest MVP odds on the market.
Since that week in mid-November 2019, Jackson’s MVP odds have never exceeded more than 4/1, with most bookmakers seemingly running scared of being burnt by the Ravens’ quarterback once again.
Sports bookmakers are cautious beasts by nature and always do their best to protect their interests by offering the shortest odds possible on dead certs. After relentlessly scouring the internet for MVP odds we have been unable to find even one bookmaker that doesn’t have Jackson at odds-on favorite to repeat his 2019 MVP feat.
The list of trusted betting sites we used to research these odds can be found HERE, according to OLBG.com, betting experts.
Ravens’ Style Suits Jackson
The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ is the fastest production car in the world, but if you put your Grandma in the drivers’ seat, she’s still going to cause a backlog on the freeway. However, if you put Lewis Hamilton at the wheel it will suddenly look like the sleekest and speediest vehicle ever made.
Likewise, in NFL a truly great player needs a truly great coach and system to fulfill their potential and that’s exactly what Lamar Jackson has in John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens used the pistol formation last season with Jackson 4 yards behind the center and 3 yards in front of the running back or backs. This allowed them to become the most aggressive team in pro history on fourth downs.
Everything about their style seems to have been designed specifically to get the best out of Jackson, making him not just great with his hands but also able to demonstrate his exceptional running ability.
If the Ravens continue to shake the football orthodoxy by persisting with an innovative style of play, it’s hard to imagine Jackson not having another great season.
Regression Will Balance Out
It would be foolish to think that Lamar Jackson will replicate or even improve on all of his key stats from last season. Regression in some shape or form is to be expected, but that could well be balanced out for Jackson by the improvement of the Ravens attacking options.
Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill – three of the team’s most impressive offensive players last season – all remain on the roster, whilst J.K. Dobbins has been brought in from Ohio State.
The early signs from this season so far are that all of the team’s offensive options from last season are still improving. In addition to that, Dobbins has the talent to shoot up through the ranks and become a focal point of the offense.
If Jackson’s touchdown percentage is to drop say at 2.5% – the average drop of Patrick Mahomes and Carson Wentz over the past two seasons – projections would still put him at 30 total touchdowns.
If he can hit a stat line of around 4,000 total yards, something which seems very achievable, Jackson will surely scoop a second successive MVP.
Chief’s Second Season Syndrome
If you were to look at all of the key indicators in the NFL and listen to any serious pundit or commentator, you would quite understandably bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
However, one of the reasons we all love sport is its ability to shock and astound us with hidden narratives and sporting curses. One such unquantifiable factor is the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl curse.
Their Lombardi Trophy success this season was their first in 50 years, a half-a-century that was marked by disappointment for Chiefs’ fans. Over the course of those five decades, Chiefs’ were keen to point out that their team were cursed, and many fear their recent Super Bowl success could mark another half-a-century without major success.
Whether you believe in sporting curses or not, it will be hard for the Chiefs to secure back-to-back Super Bowls, indeed, only seven franchises have managed it in the past and they didn’t have the current Baltimore Ravens team to contend with.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is Jackson’s biggest rival for this campaign’s MVP award and if he doesn’t secure a back-to-back Lombardi Trophy, it’s hard to see him taking the AP award from Jackson.