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: Even though he was very effectively held in check by the Falcons in Week 12 (only three tackles, no sacks or hits), Matthews remains No. 1 on our MVP meter with a league-leading 11½ sacks, one more than Miami’s Cameron Wake, and is already a virtual lock to be selected to the Pro Bowl. Matthews remains the Packers’ sixth-leading tackler with 36. He also has an interception that he returned 62 yards for a TD, a forced fumble and three pass breakups.
2. QB Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers is gaining on Matthews for the MVP top spot after his latest exceptional performance matched up against the Falcons’ Matt Ryan. Rodgers completed 74.3 percent of his passes (26-of-35) for 344 yards and a heroic 10-yard TD pass to WR Jordy Nelson on 4th-and-10 that culminated a brilliant 16-play, 90-yard TD drive that tied the game at 17 with 56 seconds remaining. After his latest performance, Rodgers ranks second in the NFC behind the Eagles’ Michael Vick with a 97.4 passer rating. Rodgers also ran 12 times for 51 yards (both team highs) and a TD against Atlanta and is Green Bay’s second-leading rusher with 49 carries for 245 yards (5.0 ypc) and four TDs. Rodgers’ first fumble of the season just short of the Falcons’ goal line was a hard-to-overlook glitch. But head coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers’ effort against Atlanta was one of the best he has seen.
3. WR Greg Jennings: Likely on a fast track toward his first Pro Bowl berth, Jennings continued to play lights out against Atlanta with five catches for 119 yards. He has 37 catches for 639 yards (17.2 ypc) and six TDs in his last six games and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
4. CB Tramon Williams: Continuing to play at a Pro Bowl level, Williams registered seven tackles against the Falcons and did a solid job helping defend the dangerous Roddy White, who was limited to five catches for 49 yards in Week 12.
5. ILB Desmond Bishop: Bishop’s consistently reliable play in place of the injured Nick Barnett finally enabled him to sneak onto our MVP meter after his team-leading 10-tackle effort against the Falcons. Bishop is the team’s third-leading tackler with 43 and also has a pair of sacks, an interception that he returned 32 yards for a TD, a forced fumble and four pass breakups.