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.
QB Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers rose to the top of the MVP meter after registering his fourth consecutive 110-plus pass rating (135.1) and performing brilliantly in the Packers’ Week 13 victory over the 49ers. But Rodgers was not playing well in Detroit in Week 14 when he suffered his second concussion of the season and was removed for the rest of the game in place of backup Matt Flynn, who performed unevenly in his place. The 18-yard run on which Rodgers suffered the concussion was the Packers’ longest run of the game. It remains to be seen whether Rodgers will be cleared to play this Sunday in a huge game against Tom Brady and the Patriots. He was able to bounce back right away to play against Miami after his first concussion suffered in Week Five — a 16-13 loss to the Redskins. The game after the Dolphins loss, Rodgers went on a major roll that ground to an abrupt halt Sunday.
2. WR Greg Jennings: Entering the Lions game, Jennings was arguably the league’s hottest receiver, having registered three 100-yard performances in a row with 43-761-8 in his seven previous games. But like Rodgers, Jennings was clearly off his game in Detroit. He finished with four catches (he was targeted eight times) for 52 yards and dropped what should have been an easy 73-yard TD pass that was turned into a Lions interception.
3. OLB Clay Matthews: The “Claymaker” made his presence felt against the Lions, registering five tackles, one huge sack for a loss of 19 yards and a pair of hurries despite putting up with a shin injury that has gotten progressively worse. But matched up against Lions backup OT Corey Hilliard instead of Gosder Cherilus, Detroit’s normal starting right tackle, a bit more was expected from him.
4. CB Tramon Williams: Williams had another strong game in Week 14 in what has become a Pro Bowl-caliber season, doing a masterful job covering Lions WR Calvin Johnson in the Packers’ nickel defense, which is what Dom Capers went with 75 percent of the time on Sunday. He also came up with his fifth interception on the season, halting a Lions scoring threat with a pick in the endzone.
5. NT B.J. Raji: None of the Packers’ defenders did a good job against the run on a day in which they allowed the Lions a whopping 190 yards rushing. But Raji, who has played in a little more than a remarkable 85 percent of the team’s downs, continued doing a rock-solid job on the nose, displaying great strength and stamina that has amazed his coaches.