Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
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Micah Parsons took a lot of heat this week for expressing his opinion about the MVP race.

The Dallas Cowboys’ star linebacke r said the Philadelphia Eagles are 12-1 more because of the overall talent on the team than Jalen Hurts. The Eagles’ third-year quarterback is a frontrunner for NFL Most Valuable Player entering Week 15.

Speaking on Von Miller’s podcast, Parsons pointed out the Eagles have an excellent defense and superb players on offense around Hurts.

“It’s system and team!” Parsons said about the credit.

He’s not wrong.

The Eagles have the league’s most dominant offensive line. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are among the best wide receiver tandems. The rushing attack led by Miles Sanders is outstanding. And, coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen have devised an offensive scheme that maximizes Hurts’ skills and helped him elevate his all-around game.

Parsons also argued that Patrick Mahomes would be his MVP choice because he’s having another tremendous season for the Kansas City Chiefs without star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was traded to Miami.

Of course, some Eagles fans took offense to Parsons’ comments. Others considered his words a compliment about the team. Hurts and his teammates, to their credit, refused to engage. The Eagles and Cowboys face each other in Dallas on Christmas Eve.

Parsons provided plenty of fodder for talk shows and reporters by openly sharing his thoughts. He didn’t do his team any favors by giving Hurts and the Eagles bulletin-board material for next week’s game. Then again, players shouldn’t need extra motivation to play their best, especially in a rivalry game with playoff implications. The Cowboys (10-3) still have a shot winning the NFC East.

The conversation between Parsons and Miller about Hurts and other MVP candidates is a similar debate voters are having. With four games remaining, it’s a close race between Hurts and Mahomes with Joe Burrow and Josh Allen also in the mix. Tua Tagovailoa could enter the discussion with spectacular finish. Hill and Justin Jefferson deserve consideration, though a non-quarterback hasn’t won the award since Adrian Peterson in 2012.

Parsons was at least one voter’s choice at the midpoint of the season but only two defensive players have ever won MVP. Parsons also is the leading candidate for the AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Hurts has made a dramatic leap in his second full season as Philadelphia’s starter. He led the team to a 9-8 record and a playoff appearance last season but the front office still had questions about his ability to be a franchise QB and considered trading for Russell Wilson and other proven starters.

Given another season in Sirianni’s offense, Hurts has thrived. He has 3,157 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and only three interceptions, and leads the NFL in passer rating at 108.4. Hurts also has 686 yards rushing and 10 TDs on the ground.

Despite losing Hill, Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, leads the NFL with 4,160 yards passing and 33 TDs. The Chiefs are 10-3 with losses to Allen’s Bills and Burrow’s Bengals.

Burrow, who led Cincinnati to the AFC championship in his second season last year, has overcome an 0-2 start and helped the Bengals (9-4) win five straight.

Allen has Buffalo (10-3) sitting in the top spot in the AFC.

The MVP winner will be decided down the stretch and it could end up being Hurts or the AFC quarterback who leads his team to the No. 1 seed.

The Associated Press announces the league’s MVP winner at NFL Honors on Feb. 9. A panel of 50 voters, comprised of national writers and broadcasters, including former players and coaches, will select a top five for the first time this season.

Until then, the debate continues.


Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi


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