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The NFL preseason is ending, and with September approaching, the regular season is right around the corner. The offseason was exciting, with players being traded and signing with new teams, changing expectations for 2022.
While there are givens heading into this season, such as which teams will make the playoffs and who will perform well, there are also some curveballs. Can a sleeper team make a deep run in the playoffs? Will an unlikely player emerge as a favorite to win an award?
One of those players will be Derek Carr, and while he’s currently not the favorite to win the MVP Award, he will become one by the end of the season. If Carr can have the season like he had last year and lead the Las Vegas Raiders to an excellent record, the award will essentially be his.
Derek Carr Wins the MVP Award
At Caesars Sportsbook, Carr is ranked 15th at (+3000) to win the award. He’s a long shot, but it’s definitely within grasp. The top five favorites to win the award are Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers.
A quarterback has won the award for nine straight years, with Rodgers winning MVP in back-to-back seasons. The Raiders have had three players win the award: quarterback Rich Gannon in 2002, running back Marcus Allen in 1985 (when the Raiders were in Los Angeles), and quarterback Ken Stabler in 1974.
Carr was close to winning the award when he finished third place in 2016. Carr threw for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns, and six interceptions, leading the Raiders to 12 wins. The winner that year was Matt Ryan, with Brady coming in second place.
Carr’s Past Performances
This past year was the best season of Carr’s career. He threw for 4,804 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions and also completed 68.4% of his passes.
In addition, Carr finished in the top 5 in completion percentage and yards. The Las Vegas Raiders finished with a 10-7 record and made the playoffs as a Wild Card, where they lost to the eventual AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals.
There have been rumors throughout the years about the Raiders looking to move on from Carr, but the quarterback has steadily improved each season. Las Vegas clearly believes in him, as they traded for Davante Adams for Carr to throw to. Adams is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. The pair were teammates for two years at Fresno State.
With the addition of Adams, the Raiders became a top 5 offense in the NFL. Hunter Renfrow emerged as a Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2021, with 103 receptions for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns. Darren Waller is still one of the top tight ends in the NFL, even with an injury-plagued season last year.
The New AFC West
The AFC West just became the toughest division in the NFL with the addition of Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Carr will have to play them twice, Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs twice, and Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers twice.
It’ll speak volumes if Carr can outperform those three QBs and lead the Raiders to a good record in the division.
With Carr at the helm, the Raiders offense is set to be a top 5 offense in the NFL. Carr has the skillset and weapons to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. If Las Vegas wins the division and Carr has a better season than last year, he’ll have the MVP Award locked down.