Following a disappointing season that raised several questions about Todd Bowles as a head coach, the Bucs are currently at the top of their division and looking to silence the critics.
That’s why Craig Carton believes that Baker Mayfield could sneak his way into the MVP conversation — at least early in the season — if they manage to beat the Detroit Lions.
“If Tampa somehow wins this game, Baker Mayfield becomes an MVP candidate. You gotta take the Buccaneers for real.”
— The Carton Show (@TheCartonShow) October 13, 2023
As crazy as it may sound, it’s actually not that far-fetched. Mayfield would be the best player on a divisional leader, and the Bucs would only strengthen their position in the NFC South. Also, they’d beat a team that’s supposed to win its division and make some noise in the playoffs.
As the Lions have only dropped one game this season and look much better this time around. On top of that, no one expected Mayfield to do this well in Tampa Bay.
Tom Brady’s numbers were far from his best in his final season with that very same core, so why would Mayfield fare any better than the seven-time Super Bowl champion?
That kind of redemption story is also nice, and is something voters and pundits take into account when talking about MVP candidates. The Bucs have only lost to the 5-0 Philadelphia Eagles, and there’s definitely no shame in that.
Mayfield is playing mistake-free football for the most part, and even though it’s still early in the season, he’s exceeded expectations.