Wentz overcame a slow start to complete 17 of 25 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns; three of those came in less than nine minutes of playing time. He also rushed for 63 yards, including a 17-yard scramble out of a scrum in the fourth quarter.
“Last year, I was thrown into the fire eight days before the season and I thought I was prepared,” Wentz told Eagles digital game day producer Allison Stein. “But when you have a whole offseason together, as the starter, I’m going all the way back to OTAs with the receivers and everybody to get on that same page. And then to have some more input on the offense each week. Coach [Doug] Pederson and I are on the same page so well, so just to have that whole offseason together it’s really made a difference for me.
“I feel good. I do feel good. There’s always plays every game, every week that you want back. I feel confident in all the guys. I just have to get the ball to them and let them make plays. We are picking up some big chunks down the field. Guys are winning and I’m just putting it there.”
Monday’s win gave the Eagles an NFL-best 6-1 record plus a commanding three-game lead in the NFC East, a resume that should impress voters at the end of the season.
Since 2002, the year the NFL expanded to 32 teams with the addition of the Houston Texans, quarterbacks have won the MVP award 13 times, including four straight. Twelve of the 13 winners finished the season ranked in the top five for touchdowns thrown and 11 of the 13 ranked in the top five for passer rating. Through seven games this season, Wentz has a league-leading 17 touchdowns and ranks fourth in passer rating (104.0).
Wentz’s production has also earned him the third-highest Total Quarterback Rating from ESPN (72.7), another indicator he needs to be considered one of the league’s most valuable players. Since 2006, the earliest data available, eight of the nine MVP quarterbacks ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in QBR by the end of the season, Cam Newton’s 2015 campaign the lone exception (11th).
However, a third-place finish in QBR this year shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for Wentz. The highest-rated passer, Deshaun Watson, plays for the 3-3 Houston Texans, and is projected to win eight or nine games. Over the past 15 years, no MVP-winning quarterback has won fewer than 10 games. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott ranks second in QBR, but he, too, could fall short of the double-digit wins voters appear to covet.
In addition, Wentz has earned high marks from the game charters at Pro Football Focus. His overall rating places him No. 6 among 34 qualified quarterbacks — low for the average MVP passer but on par with Peyton Manning from 2009 (No. 6) and higher than Tom Brady in 2010 (No. 9).
That’s not all — Wentz and the Eagles could also look even better in the second half of the season. According to Sharp Football Stats, Philadelphia has the fourth-easiest remaining schedule based on overall efficiency metrics and the seventh-easiest schedule per pass defense metrics.
It also helps that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is out for the season due to a shoulder injury and the New England Patriots aren’t as dominant as they have been in years past despite a 5-2 record and one-game lead in the AFC East. The Kansas City Chiefs have also cooled after a 5-0 start, losing two straight and dampening the clamor for quarterback Alex Smith to be named the league’s MVP.
Of course, voters could go with a running back as the league’s MVP but none have distinguished themselves enough to warrant a contrarian pick. Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt started off strong but has 108 rushing yards total with zero touchdowns over his past two starts. Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Leonard Fournette leads the league with six rushing touchdowns, but two other backs have five and six more are tied with four rushing touchdowns each, making it difficult for any to lay claim to an end-of-season award.
Instead, look for Wentz to pad his stat total even further against the winless San Francisco 49ers in Week 8, and gain even more momentum as the league’s most valuable player.