PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents a running meter that indicates the Packers' top five MVP candidates up through their most recent game.
1. OLB Clay Matthews: Before leaving the Week Five game in Washington with a recurrence of a lingering hamstring injury, Matthews registered 1½ sacks to increase his league-leading total to 8½ and was able to consistently harass Redskins QB Donovan McNabb with his relentless pursuit. Matthews could have had another sack if not for an illegal-hands penalty on Packers CB Charles Woodson. While the Packers were able to maintain steady pressure after he left the game, Matthews' ability to finish plays was sorely missed in crunch time.
2. DRE Cullen Jenkins: Jenkins continues to be overshadowed by Matthews, but who wouldn't be? Despite playing with a cumbersome club on his hand, Jenkins is providing excellent pressure for a pass rush that is much more potent than it was a year ago at this time, having already generated 21 sacks. Jenkins didn't have a sack against Washington in Week Five, but it might have been his best pass-rushing game of the season, as he barely missed making three sacks.
3. QB Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers will always make his share of big plays even when he's not as his best, which was clearly the case against the Redskins. In the game he had only one TD and a really ugly interception to LaRon Landry in overtime that ultimately sealed Green Bay's doom. Green Bay's 13 points against Washington were the fewest since Rodgers became the starting QB in 2008.
4. RCB Tramon Williams: Don't look now, but Williams has very quietly emerged as the team's most effective cornerback up to now ahead of veteran Charles Woodson, who has had his share of rough moments in recent games. Not only has Williams been a very stingy defender in place of the injured Al Harris, with an interception of Donovan McNabb that he returned 64 yards on the last play of regulation time, he also contributed a nifty 52-yard punt return against the Redskins.
5. TE Jermichael Finley: The Packers’ ultratalented tight end entered the Redskins game tied with WR Donald Driver for the team lead in receptions with 21 and a team-leading 14.3 yards-per-catch average before going down for the count on the second play of the game after attempting to make a tackle following TE Donald Lee’s fumble.