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After five games NFL fans see a running back as the 2019 NFL MVP

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After the Carolina Panthers fell to 0-2 on the season and Cam Newton looked like a shell of his former MVP self, Panthers fans had all but lost hope.

Going into their week three matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, the Panthers were road dogs, with the Cardinals favored for the first time since November of 2018.

They were going to turn to undrafted second year quarterback Kyle Allen and hope that he could do enough to keep the team afloat while Cam Newton recovered.

What everyone expected to happen was Christian McCaffrey to put the team on his back and carry them, along with an always solid defense.

What they have got instead is one of the most incredible performances by a running back in NFL history.

McCaffrey’s work over the first five games has only ever been matched by one player, Jim Brown.

In fact, McCaffrey has been so good, he has more total yards this year than an entire NFL team.

That’s why, when SB Nation asked their FanPulse community who is the league MVP at this point in the season, it was great to see the positive and overwhelming response in McCaffrey’s favor.

Asking McCaffrey to keep this up for the season is unreasonable, as he is on pace for 1,878 yards and 19 touchdowns rushing and chipping in a meager 892 yards and three touchdowns receiving. He’d be the first player in NFL history to have 1800 and 800 yards in a season.

And in today’s NFL, that is what it may take for a running back to win the NFL MVP. The last non-quarterback to win was Adrian Peterson with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, when the Vikings finished 10-6 with Christian Ponder at quarterback. Peterson had nearly 2,100 yards rushing.

In fact, since 2000 only four non-quarterbacks have won MVP:

2000: Marshall Faulk - 1,359 yards and 18 TD rushing, 830 yards and 8 TD receiving
2005: Shaun Alexander - 1,880 yards and 27 TD rushing, 78 yards and 1 TD receiving
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson - 1,815 yards and 28 TD rushing, 508 yards and 3 TD receiving
2012: Adrian Peterson: 2,097 yards and 12 TD rushing, 217 yards and 1 TD receiving

McCaffrey’s season is on pace to surpass all of those from a total yards stand point by nearly 450 yards.

The question is, would that be enough to hold off Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson?

SB Nation’s FanPulse is back for 2019 and it is bigger and better than ever. If you have missed out on signing up, don’t worry, there is still plenty of time for you to be part of the Revenge of the Birds FanPulse and weigh-in on all the Arizona Cardinals topics.