With a very tough Giants team coming into Lambeau Field this Sunday, there are a number of worthy candidates for this week’s “Hot Spot” focus. Considering the huge numbers Giants WRs Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks racked up against the Eagles last week, a strong case can be made for the Packers’ secondary warranting the most scrutiny four days before a game with major playoff ramifications for both teams. And considering the knack the Giants have shown this season for knocking out opposing QBs, an equally strong case can be made for a Green Bay offensive line that allowed five sacks against the Patriots and must greatly improve its pass protection.
But for the second consecutive week, the nod goes to the QB position, where Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to return to action after missing last week’s game with his second concussion of the season. It's certainly worth wondering just how much the layoff will affect his performance. And while all eyes will be on Rodgers, it goes without saying that Matt Flynn will remain in the back of most observers’ minds after his gutty effort in his first pro start against the Patriots in Week 15. If there’s just the slightest sign that Rodgers is not right, it’s a good bet Flynn will quickly be thrust back into the limelight, as the Packers’ confidence in their backup QB has to have increased considerably following a prime-time performance that opened up a lot of eyes around the league.
As we pointed out in last week’s “Hot Spot” article, the extent to which either Rodgers or Flynn chooses to run with the ball could be a key factor on Sunday. Both of them have an excellent ability to keep drives alive with their legs, but you know they will put head coach Mike McCarthy’s heart in his throat every time they take off and run the risk of getting hurt. That said, look at the damage Michael Vick did last week against the Giants, bringing the Eagles back from way behind in great part because of the way he used his legs.
No matter how you look at it, the focus on this weekend’s Packers starting QB figures to heat up the frozen tundra but good.