“Aaron Rodgers is washed up, can’t get along with his head coach, and is a toxic teammate.”

This Halloween, we can put that narrative in the grave where it belongs. Aaron Rodgers is making fools of his critics with a stellar 2019 campaign. Even with a first-time head coach and sans Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packer offense is thriving and still heating up every week.

Matt LaFleur’s strength at making crucial adjustments and the dynamic play of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are vital to the success of the offense of course. And a much-improved defense can’t be forgotten when analyzing the team’s success. But Aaron Rodgers is playing incredible football, and thus the Packers are 7-1.

Rodgers believes in this offense, no longer afraid to take the easy checkdowns. He’s spreading the ball around, being smart with the football, and throwing jaw-dropping bombs when it counts. For that reason, Aaron Rodgers is a legitimate 2019 MVP candidate.

When this season started, many wondered how Rodgers could perform with a rookie head coach. Yet according to PackersWire.com, Aaron Rodgers is on pace for 4,648 yards (a career-high) and 32 TDs. He boasts a 106.7 passer rating, 8.2 yards per attempt, and 12.6 yards per completion. Going by the numbers, Rodgers is having his best season since 2014. And who was MVP that year? Our boy. And don’t forget, this is while missing Davante Adams for a quarter of the season.

After a slow start against the Bears, the Packers offense showed flashes. Under LaFleur’s opening script, the team put up 21 early points against the Vikings. From then on, as Rodgers grew more comfortable with the scheme, the offense rose to power. Rodgers let Aaron Jones dominate the Cowboys, allowing his coach and running back to exploit matchups similar to the way Brees and Brady operate.

Rodgers got to put himself on full display against Oakland, with 5 pass TDs, 1 rush TD, and a perfect passer rating. Against the Chiefs, best boy made big plays when they mattered: a free-falling TD to Jamaal Williams that was simply otherworldly and a dagger to Aaron Jones to end the game.

Stats don’t always tell the full story, as in that Chiefs game, Rodgers didn’t always see the field well, and statistically it wasn’t his best game this season. But MVPs show up when needed most, and that’s what he did.

Lest I be accused of homerism, I’m far from the only one that thinks so. Multiple betting websites, including oddsshark.com (+225) and thelines.com (+275/+350) have Rodgers as the favorite for MVP after week 8. Russell Wilson remains close behind, as he is currently carrying a team is an old Rodgers-esque way.

Also in the race, and extremely viable, are Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes (even in spite of his injury). Christian McCaffrey is also a hot name, but 12 of the last 13 candidates are quarterbacks, with Adrian Peterson’s extraordinary 2012 campaign being the combo-breaker.

The great Ari Gold once said, “You don’t come to Sundance for the snow, you come for the heat.” Lambeau is getting cold, but Aaron Rodgers is on fire.

However, the AP doesn’t hand out awards midseason, and the Packers 2019 campaign is far from over. Rodgers will have to continue playing at this level to stave off his competition. Rodgers is proving he’s willing to win in whatever way works and that winning games is more important than stats. But if anything, this refreshing attitude is all the more reason QB1 is the Most Valuable Player in the game.

Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.