Each week throughout the season, PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush hooks up with a personality who has connections with the Packers and asks him five Packer-related questions. This week, Dan connects with PFW editor-publisher and Westwood One Radio sideline commentator Hub Arkush. Hub also co-hosts the PFW weekly syndicated radio show along with Packers play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee.
1. Through three games, Aaron Rodgers is my front-runner for league MVP. Do you agree with that assessment, my brother?
Hub Arkush: Rodgers is certainly a worthy choice, but I would probably vote for: (1) Matthew Stafford, (2) Darren McFadden and (3) Ryan Fitzpatrick ahead of him right now. That's after three weeks, and I suspect 8-9 weeks from now Rodgers could still be a front-runner, and my first three choices could be out of it, but for now, I think they've been more valuable to their clubs than Rodgers. There's no question Rodgers and (Tom) Brady are the two best QBs in the game today, but I can't escape the images of how good Matt Flynn was in Foxborough last year when considering how indispensible an MVP has to be.
2. As good as Green Bay has been so far, they are not real likely to go undefeated. When do you see them getting knocked off for the first time this year?
Hub Arkush: I'd keep an eye on the Oct. 9 game at Atlanta and the Nov. 6 game at San Diego. The Falcons are an overrated football team, but they're much better at home than on the road, and anyone who thinks they won't be lying in wait for the Pack after last year's playoff embarrassment is kidding themselves. The NFL regular season is about identifying special moments, and even though the Packers are the better team, I suspect that will be the Falcons' moment. It won't hurt that the Falcons will already be fighting to stay afloat in the very competitive NFC South while the Packers will still be undefeated. If the Packers get by the Falcons, I don't think they'll get by San Diego. The Chargers are one of the very few teams in the NFL that can match rosters with Green Bay's talent-wise, but they sometimes struggle with top-level competition. Norv Turner will be looking to have them ready here. Normally, I'd love the Pack coming off a bye, but traveling to the coast against a team and QB who can stay with them in a shootout will be very difficult.
3. Is there a better receiving corps in the NFL than the one in Green Bay right now with all those wideouts and Jermichael Finley at tight end?
Hub Arkush: No. New England, San Diego and New Orleans, when healthy, all may be as good, but no team is better. Individually, I'd say New Orleans has the best wideouts, and Antonio Gates is still Antonio Gates. What's interesting about Finley is that he's a freak as an athlete at the position, and he's probably half a step faster than Jimmy Graham in New Orleans, but I'm not sure he's a better athlete. And I don't know how to describe Rob Gronkowski, but with 15 TDs in only 18 NFL games, you'd have to think long and hard about rating him the No. 1 tight end in the game today.
4. Do you think the Lions will seriously challenge the Pack for the NFC North?
Hub Arkush: The Detroit Lions are absolutely for real and the team the Packers will have to beat to take the NFC North title, assuming Matt Stafford stays healthy. And fair or not, that's a big assumption at this stage of his career. The Lions are not anywhere near as deep as the Packers, and there are some places they can be attacked. But Detroit's studs (Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch) are better than anyone the Packers have at those positions, and they can take over games, and kids like Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, Nick Fairley, Louis Delmas and Chris Houston all have Pro Bowl-type talent and are just learning how to use it. These two teams appear likely to be bumping heads at the top of the division for the next 3-4 years if everybody can stay healthy.
5. What's your feeling about the Broncos coming into Lambeau Sunday? Do you sense a letdown could be in store for the Packers?
Hub Arkush: It's a bad spot for the Packers coming off the biggest game of the year so far in Chicago, knowing they didn't play their best game in spite of the fairly easy win and now trying to prepare for one of the weaker teams in the league. But let's be honest, if the best the Broncos could do against Oakland, Cincinnati and Tennessee was be respectable and eke out a win over the Bengals at home, the chances of them coming into Lambeau and pulling the upset are slim and none, and slim's already booked his ticket out of town. I can't promise the Packers will win by 13, as they may struggle to stay focused at times, but win they will.