In sports, the biggest names have the most pressure placed on their shoulders.

That is certainly the case for Russell Wilson with the Denver Broncos.

If his career were books, Wilson would be penning the second volume. He not only closed the chapter in Seattle, but this is a new book altogether for the superstar quarterback.

New town — the Mile High City. New coach and new offense — with Nathaniel Hackett. New team — the Denver Broncos.

And now, new contract — 5 years, $245 million which will keep him in Denver through 2028. Wilson’s repeatedly said he wants to win Super Bowls (plural) in the Mile High City; he put that pressure on himself.

But there’s plenty of pressure being applied to him by outside forces as well.

On Wednesday morning, the eve of the 2022 NFL season kicking off, Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football picked the Broncos quarterback as his 2022 NFL MVP.

The other choices by the staff included Patrick Mahomes, Jonathan Taylor of the Colts, and a big surprise pick in Kirk Cousins by Kyle Brandt. Brandt even defended tucking the jersey in, because that’s how he thinks Cousins would do it as well.

According to BetMGM, Mahomes is second behind Josh Allen, the favorite to win MVP (+700). Mahomes and Tom Brady both have odds set at +800 to win. In seventh is Wilson, at around +1400, tied with Matthew Stafford. Cousins and Taylor are both currently posted at +5000.

Allen is the odds-on favorite, but he is surrounded by a powerhouse with the Buffalo Bills. Similarly, Mahomes may have lost Tyreek Hill this offseason, but the Chiefs have brought in a ton of wideouts to replace him and Kansas City is still the favorite to win the wild AFC West.

Wilson, if you’re a betting person, has one thing those top-tier MVP candidates don’t have: A worse team. Even if only by a bit. That means his play will be considered more important if the Broncos thrive.

The Broncos aren’t a known quantity like the Bills and Chiefs, who faced off in the Divisional Round overtime thriller last year. Buffalo not only has Allen, but Stefon Diggs and a strong defense with former Broncos superstar Von Miller as a new addition. The Chiefs, too, are a more complete team just like the others ahead of Wilson (Chargers with Justin Herbert, Packers with Aaron Rodgers, Buccaneers with Tom Brady etc.).

Wilson is a longer shot to win, however, if and when the Broncos make the playoffs, he’ll likely be seen as more the catalyst of Denver’s success than the others ahead of him.

At the very least, Wilson’s play should warrant some votes for the league MVP, if things go as they’re supposed to.

The Broncos kick off their season on Monday, Sept. 12 against his former team, the Seattle Seahawks. Denver has a second relatively easy game in a row against the Texans before things get difficult with the 49ers, Raiders, Colts and Chargers in a row. And the end of their season is a murderer’s row, six-game stretch.

Still, Denver should find a way to to 10-7 and make the postseason for the first time in six years. Much of that will be thanks to Wilson’s phenomenal play, including these three stats Broncos fans will love.