Before Lamar Jackson stepped toward the podium Sunday afternoon, Ravens running back Mark Ingram finished his own postgame news conference with an introduction.
“The man, the myth, the legend, the MVP front-runner,” Ingram said. “If anybody else got to say something different about that, then come see me. ... Lamar Jackson."
Even after a 41-7 win over the Houston Texans, the Ravens’ sixth straight victory, Jackson was bashful about the praise. But his case for NFL Most Valuable Player, an award no Raven has ever won, has never been stronger.
According to Caesars Sportsbook’s updated odds, Jackson has passed Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as the betting favorite. For now, it is a two-player race. A $100 bet on Jackson, if successful, would net a total payout of $240, while a winning $100 bet on Wilson would be worth $300.
As of Monday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (+900), Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes (+1000) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (+1500) rounded out the top five.
Only five months ago, Jackson was a 100-1 long shot to win MVP honors. He entered the season with 50-1 odds, and a hot start in September pushed them to 12-1. Jackson fell out of contention briefly, but wins over the Seahawks and New England Patriots gave him 5-1 odds entering Week 10. With the Seahawks’ week off and the Ravens’ big win Sunday, his stock continued to soar.
In 10 games this season, Jackson has thrown for 2,258 yards on 66.3% accuracy, with 19 touchdowns (tied for fourth most in the NFL) and five interceptions. He’s also 10th in the NFL in rushing yards (788) and first in yards per carry (6.9), with six touchdowns. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Ravens’ rate of scoring, on a per-possession basis, would be the highest in league history since it adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978.
But Jackson isn’t buying into the hype. After Ingram’s introduction, he was asked about the MVP conversation he finds himself in.
“Like I said before, I’m all about winning," he said. "It is what it is. I’m glad he feels that way, but I’m trying to get something even more, so we all can talk about it.”