PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush believes QB Aaron Rodgers will be the player most under the microscope in Green Bay's Seven prime-time affair against the division-rival Vikings.
The scrutiny on Rodgers was certainly magnified when he was matched up against Packers icon Brett Favre in the games against the Vikings last season. And with a national audience looking on, the spotlight will be shining brightly on Green Bay’s current QB this Sunday night at Lambeau Field when he again goes up against Favre — especially due to the noticeable slippage in Rodgers’ play this season through six games.
While Rodgers has looked like an elite QB on occasion — throwing passes downfield and in tight coverage that only a few NFL signalcallers are capable of — he also had way too many disturbing stretches in which he has appeared out of sync and flat-out uncomfortable. Much has been made of Rodgers’ failures in close games after two consecutive overtime losses (to the Redskins and Dolphins) — he has a 1-11 record in games decided by four or fewer points — and with another game on tap that very well could go right down to the wire, Rodgers must show considerable improvement in crunch time.
Rodgers also needs to improve significantly on third down. The NFL’s top-ranked passer on third down last season (133.5), has struggled mightily in such situations the past three weeks, as the Packers have converted only 6-of-29 third downs since halftime of the Lions game.