This week, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush offers his thoughts on two “Hot Spots” for the Packers heading into their NFC championship game against the arch-rival Bears. Today Dan picks out one Packers offensive player he believes is most under the microscope at the moment, followed by a defensive player Thursday. Dan’s offensive choice is none other than QB Aaron Rodgers
I could go a lot of different ways in picking out the Packers' offensive player most worthy of “Hot Spot" status.
Certainly, a strong case can be made for rookie RB James Starks (or, as head coach Lovie Smith refers to him, “Sparks"), who showed what a force he was capable of being in his eyebrow-raising 123-yard effort against the Eagles in the Packers’ wild-card win.
And you can’t go wrong, either, with WR James Jones, who is coming off a terrific outing in Atlanta — which you could actually say about all four of the Packers’ primary wideouts — after his uneven effort a week earlier against the Eagles, when he made a great catch for a TD but also dropped what would have been a sure 63-yard TD. Which James Jones will show up Sunday? Packers coaches never can be sure.
But who’s hotter right now than Aaron Rodgers, who performed so impeccably last Saturday night in the Packers’ surprising rout of the No. 1-seeded Falcons? Most would agree that Rodgers should be the front-runner for playoff MVP honors by a wide margin heading into Championship Sunday. But just look at how red-hot Tom Brady was last Sunday before being cooled down for good by those uppity Jets. In no time flat after the Patriots went down, more than a few people were mentioning how, all of a sudden, Brady had put together three not-so-hot performances in the playoffs.
Will the curtain close just as hard on A-Rod? Or will he rub more salt on the wounds of all those Pro Bowl selectors who bypassed him in favor of Michael Vick and Drew Brees, both of whom will be sitting on the couch watching A-Rod perform in one of the most highly anticipated NFC championship games in recent memory.