By Joe Spinosa
Ever since Kirk Cousins entered the National Football League, I have been tracking his progress, for I, Joseph Spinosa, have hailed the quarterback from Michigan State to be the next Tom Brady. After years of ridicule from nearly every person with whom I have discussed my affinity for Kirk, he is doing the unthinkable, what I have predicted for years. As of November 26, 2016, Kirk Cousins is leading the NFL with 3540 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns, a 68.4% completion percentage, and a passer rating of 101.4 all of which in the top 6 of all quarterbacks. Not only are these numbers staggering, Kirk Cousins has proven that he is a second-half quarterback. In 2015, Cousins accumulated 19 touchdowns to only two interceptions with an outrageous 126.1 passer rating. In his three second-half games Kirk has continued this trend with eight touchdown and no interception along with a stellar 124.4 passer rating. If Kirk merely keeps up the pace that he is on, his number will be at 5150 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, but I expect Kirk’s final stats to be even better since he plays his best as the year progresses. Not only has Kirk been great by his individual numbers, the Redskins are also on track to making the playoffs even after starting the season 0-2. Since the poor start, the Skins are 6-2-1 and should be 8-1 if Dustin Hopkins made an overtime chipshot against the Bengals and the defense prevented the Lions from driving down with less than a minute for a touchdown after Kirk ran for a 19 yard touchdown to take the lead.
As I make this case for Kirk Cousins being Most Valuable Player in the NFL, we must take into account a few factors. First of all, the MVP is more or less the best quarterback award, so it is highly unlikely a running back like Ezekiel Elliot wins the award. The last time running back won the MVP was in 2012 when Adrian Peterson was only eight yards shy of the NFL single-season rushing record; therefore, unless Zeke does the unforeseen, he will not win. Another factor for the MVP is that the player’s team must be in the playoffs. Only twice in NFL history has a player won the MVP without making the playoffs, and the last time this happened was in 1973 when OJ Simpson took home the honor. This fact almost certainly excludes perennial contenders like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers whose teams are both outside of the NFC Playoff picture.Therefore, the legitimate contenders for NFL MVP include the following quarterbacks: Derek Carr of the Raiders, Matt Ryan of the Falcons, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys, Tom Brady of the Patriots, and of course, Kirk Cousins.
If you look player by player, you can see there is no clear-cut frontrunner. First of all, Tom Brady is by far the league’s best player, but many voters will not cast their ballot for him since he missed the first four games of the season. There is also a heavy bias against the Patriots, so it would be unlikely if Brady won MVP. The next contender is Dak Prescott who is doing phenomenal things with the Dallas Cowboys, but Dak may not even be the best player on his team and does not have the flashy stats that usually merit the MVP, so his chance of winning is not too great. Matt Ryan is having a career year, but the Atlanta Falcons are a fraud team aided by an incredibly weak division, and Ryan plays half of his games in a dome, so he will have difficulty winning.
In my opinion, Derek Carr is the biggest competition in Kirk’s quest for MVP, for he is the only quarterback in the NFL who can match Kirk’s numbers as well as team success. Carr has been nothing short of spectacular this season combining great individual performance with his team playing above all expectations. Kirk certainly has some competition, but if he can continue his late-season magic and keeps the Redskins rolling, then he could win his first of many NFL MVPs. Furthermore, whether he wins the award or not, Kirk Cousins has proven that he is one of the elite quarterbacks in the league and will be for the next decade.
My final stats prediction for Cousins: 5050 yards, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 69% completion percentage, 105 passer rating, and the Redskins go 10-5-1. These numbers would certainly put him in any MVP conversation.