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 a national TV audience with his dad, former NFL player Clay Matthews Jr., beaming in the stands, Clay Matthews III put on an excellent all-around show worthy of a league Defensive MVP in the making. His one sack him moved his league-leading total to 10 1/2 and enabled him to become the first player in team history to record double-digit sacks in each of his first two seasons. He also had a tone-setting stuff of Cowboys RB Marion Barber in the second quarter, four tackles, one QB hit, one pass breakup and a 62-yard interception return for a TD — all of that despite missing practice the entire week leading up to the Cowboys game because of a shin injury.
2. CB Tramon Williams: Williams' continued Pro Bowl-caliber play showed why the Packers decided they could cut the cord with veteran Al Harris. Against the Cowboys, Williams tied fellow CB Charles Woodson for the team lead with five tackles while also adding two pass breakups.
3. QB Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers had his best game of the season against Dallas, completing 27-of-34 passes for 289 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions (131.5 passer rating) while adding 41 yards on the ground on five carries for good measure. He had a season-best 79.5 completion percentage and was absolutely on fire in the second quarter, when he completed 16-of-18 passes for 174 yards and a pair of scores.
4. WR Greg Jennings: Jennings continued his excellent play in the last month against Dallas, catching seven passes for 80 yards, including an eight-yard TD in the second quarter and a 33-yard downfield reception that showed off his flawless route-running ability and deceptive speed.
5. OLT Chad Clifton: The veteran left tackle broke into our MVP meter running with another rock-solid performance. Clifton made Cowboys star ROLB DeMarcus Ware a nonfactor a few weeks after doing the same thing matched up against Vikings star DE Jared Allen. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in his Monday press conference after the Dallas game that Clifton might have played his best football in a Packers uniform the last three weeks.