Week 5 is in the books, and the NFL's two undefeated teams remain as such. The Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions are tied up at 5-0 atop the NFC North. The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings…can start booking their January vacations.
Where they all rank on this list is for you to soon find out. But these Power Rankings pose another question for the curious reader—which player means the most to each NFL team?
For the teams ranked in the bottom third of this list, it may not mean as much this year as it will for the future, with playoff hopes all but dashed. For the middle of the pack, these players could mean the difference on teams fighting for playoff spots.
As for the cream of the crop, we’re talking about potential MVP candidates, and the most vital players currently manning NFL rosters this season.
Here’s a look at the NFL Power Rankings entering Week 6 and the 32 players who dictate the most where their respective teams place.
The real answer to this question should be Peyton Manning, but considering he will probably never see the field this season, Manning is exempt from this list.
The Colts appear totally lost without Manning, and as a result they’re the first team to reach five losses this season.
It’s very possible that Indy falls victim to the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes, which means no chance of Peyton returning, for a team continuing to pile on key injuries (Gary Brackett, Joseph Addai).
For that reason, All Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney (4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles) is the answer here.
It’s hard to say how much value a pass-rusher has to a team that won’t have many leads. But one thing is certain—a Colts team without both Manning and Freeney would be a team almost totally devoid of elite talent.
The Rams headed into 2011 with high hopes, mostly due to the level of competition in the NFC West.
The team and its backers were especially confident in possessing the division’s greatest quarterback, second-year starter Sam Bradford.
After an injury-ravaged first four weeks, the Rams are 0-4, and Bradford is 31st in the league in QB rating.
It’s beginning to look like a very grim season for a team with one of the worst run defenses in the league, an injury-decimated secondary and an offensive line with serious issues in pass protection.
It could very well end up being a lost season for Bradford, but he is the key going forward for a team really lacking in identity. While he’s working with a bargain bin of receivers, Bradford needs to show some positive signs coming off the bye.
After a promising first week in which he set a career-high with 416 passing yards, things just started to spiral downward for Chad Henne, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 4 against the Chargers.
The Dolphins will now come out of the bye with Matt Moore at QB, after free agents David Garrard and Jake Delhomme both declined to sign with the team (more or less).
The Dolphins should continue to be an abysmal team, with no identity on offense, and a defense that can be described as middle-of-the-pack at best. With an 0-4 record and no future hope at the QB position, the Dolphins have to be considered the team most likely to tank for Andrew Luck this season.
In other words, don’t take the Dolphins in any legalized sports betting wagers going forward.
As far as the player who means the most to this team, All-Pro left tackle Jake Long narrowly edges out two defensive standouts, linebacker Cameron Wake and cornerback Vontae Davis.
Week 5 was one to forget for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
He completed just 50 percent of his passes and failed to throw a touchdown for a second straight week, while adding two picks.
It’s safe to say that Arizona’s major offseason investment is looking like a major disaster at this point.
To Kolb’s credit, the Cardinals offensive line is a total mess. With such a major issue on offense and a vulnerable secondary plaguing the defense, the Cardinals are looking like a team fading out quickly in the NFC West.
Similar to the Colts, this team is highly lacking in all-around talent right now. As such, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald holds the most value.
Beanie Wells has been a nice story, but he needs to prove he’s a sustainable running back who can play through pain. There’s no argument, however, that Arizona’s struggling passing game would be non-existent without Fitzgerald.
The Broncos are once again unsettled at quarterback, and despite implications that he’d open as a third-stringer behind Brady Quinn, “Tebow Time” has returned to the Mile High City.
Kyle Orton looked miserable against the Chargers on Sunday, so the switch to Tim Tebow at QB has appeared to come sooner than expected.
With Tebow at the helm, the Broncos should continue to employ the same run-heavy offense we saw against San Diego.
While Tebow will be asked to manage a conservative offense, rookie linebacker Von Miller will be asked to improve his in-game discipline, after getting benched against the Chargers.
Already up to five sacks on the year, however, the second-overall pick of April’s draft is shaping up to be the face of Denver’s defense, for a team in serious transition.
While an offseason commitment to defense has yielded positive results so far (Jacksonville is eighth in the NFL in yards allowed), the Jaguars are a work in progress on offense, starting a rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert who is seriously lacking in receiving weapons.
It all begins and ends with Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, who had many doubters after undergoing offseason knee surgery.
Despite that and the fact that defenses are locking in on him due to Jacksonville's passing futility, MoJo is fourth in the league in rushing after five weeks.
The Jaguars are now 1-4 in what could still be a winnable AFC South (more on that later) but with a very green QB and a bend-but-don’t-break defense, it will take even more from the team’s franchise running back for the Jags to make a playoff push this season.
The Donovan McNabb experiment has been an absolute nightmare in Minnesota, and one can only “ponder” when Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder will get his chance beneath the bright lights.
After an 0-4 start, the Vikings finally broke into the win column with a 34-10 thrashing of the lowly Cardinals.
Leading the way, of course, was Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 122 yards and scored three TDs all in the first quarter of play.
The Vikings are improving on defense with the return of run-stuffer Kevin Williams, and they continue to front one of the best defensive lines in the league.
While it won’t be enough to make noise in a crowded NFC North, Peterson needs to continue being the focal point of Minny’s offense early in games.
The Browns are 2-2 coming off their bye, heading into a Week 6 matchup against an inspired Raiders team.
While Cleveland has to be pleased with a four-game split, this is still a team with several holes, which now lacks identity on offense.
Last year, of course, it was all about the run, as Peyton Hillis led the way during his breakout campaign.
But after slowing down toward the end of last season, the former fullback is continuing to struggle this year and is now losing carries to second-year running back Montario Hardesty.
While Colt McCoy wants to be the guy to lead the Browns to glory, he is still more of a “nice story,” considering what was expected of him as a pro.
Since McCoy is no guarantee as Cleveland’s long-term option at quarterback, it is All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas who remains the most important part of the Browns’ developing offense.
The Seahawks were bound to place even lower on this list, heading into a road matchup against the Giants—a game many survivor pool participants used to back New York, due to a very balanced Week 5 schedule.
Well, many survivor players are gone now, as the Seahawks pulled off a big upset at the Meadowlands, to improve to 2-3 on the season.
The team did lose its starting QB Tarvaris Jackson to a pectoral injury, but luckily head into their bye week, as they consider what to do with him and backup Charlie Whitehurst.
While Seattle’s offense continues to project as one of the league’s worst, the team’s run defense cannot be denied, now giving up a league-low 3.1 yards per carry.
It all starts with 324-pound defensive end Red Bryant, who creates a ton of gap pressure on his side while freeing up space for pass-rushing specialist Chris Clemons at the other end.
Things couldn’t look any bleaker for the Chiefs following a Week 2 blowout loss to the Lions—a game in which stud RB Jamaal Charles went down with a torn ACL one week after stud safety Eric Berry went down with a torn ACL in a blowout loss to the Bills.
Still, the Chiefs played the Chargers tough in Week 3 (a 20-17 loss), and have now reeled off two straight wins against the Vikings and Colts.
Competition of opponents notwithstanding, the Chiefs quickly squashed the notion that they are the league’s worst team—but they're still a far cry from last year’s division-winning squad.
While Kansas City is loaded with defensive talent (Berry, linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, cornerback Brandon Flowers), it’s becoming quite apparent who their most important player is this year.
Dwayne Bowe, coming off a season that many dubbed “fluky” from a TD perspective, is tied for sixth in the league with 420 receiving yards, along with four scores. He put in a heroic effort against the Colts (seven catches, 128 yards, two TDs) and will continue to keep Kansas City's passing game afloat.
There may not be a more impressive 1-4 team in the league than the Carolina Panthers (unless you still have faith in the team slotted one spot ahead on this list).
Their four losses came at a combined average of 4.5 points, and they are fifth in the league in total offense.
While the running game only began showing signs of life in the past two weeks, it’s quite obvious how the Panthers have been moving the chains in 2011.
After being taken first overall in April’s draft, Cam Newton followed the lockout with an uninspiring preseason, raising concern about the state of Carolina’s offense going into the season.
One of the most unfathomable early-season storylines in league history, Newton has taken the NFL by storm and is currently fourth in passing yards.
He also has 12 combined TDs, and while it hasn’t all been stellar (58.2 completion percentage, six picks), Newton’s early performance is a great indication of what’s to come.
This is a very generous ranking for a team that is unarguably the biggest disappointment in the NFL right now.
The Eagles are 1-4, with their lone win coming against the 0-4 St. Louis Rams.
Even worse than the record itself, the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” defense has given up 132 points, tied for fifth-worst in the league.
While the defense continues to adjust (under former offensive line coach and first year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo), the offense, still explosive, is third in the league.
While Michael Vick has been brilliant in some spots, his overall performance leaves a lot to be desired.
He’s tied for the league lead in picks and has lost three fumbles. The turnovers need to go down, and while many of the picks have been mental errors, Philadelphia’s offensive line has left Vick very vulnerable. As a result, turnovers are creating a lot of short fields for what has been an overworked defense.
The Bears couldn’t keep up with the Lions offense on Monday Night Football and will continue to plummet down this list if the trend continues.
With the defense also struggling, Chicago is quickly looking like a team that will fall out of contention after winning the NFC North last year.
The biggest issue continues to be the offensive line, which has left Jay Cutler open to countless hits this season. Granted, the Bears aren’t built for the pass with their current receiving corps, but Cutler doesn’t even stand a chance with the protection he’s been getting.
As such, Matt Forte has meant everything to Chicago’s offense after five weeks, accounting for 785 total yards in just five games.
Arguably the league’s best receiving back, Forte has picked it up on the ground in recent weeks, and it’s scary to imagine the Bears offense without him.
They were supposed to be the greatest show on turf, but after five weeks, the Falcons are just 19th in total offense.
Atlanta got off to a 14-0 start against the Packers this past Sunday night, but they couldn’t sustain any success on offense, giving up 25 straight points en route to a back-breaking loss.
The Falcons are now 2-3 in a division where each team is separated by one game, with plenty of games left between the four squads.
This week, the Falcons host the Panthers in what should be a very telling game. Atlanta thought it had the second-best QB in the division, but that may still be up for debate.
All in all, Matt Ryan has failed to get the Falcons' passing game flying high this season, and the question of whether he can is mounting more and more.
Ryan doesn’t possess the arm strength of some of his emerging contemporaries (i.e., Newton and Matthew Stafford), and he will need to find a way to compensate if the Falcons really envision being an offensive powerhouse.
There are question marks abounding among the league’s 3-2 squads, but if you ask this ranker, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be the most suspect of the bunch.
This is, of course, coming off the team’s 48-3 debacle of a loss at San Francisco this past week.
When you look at the team’s three wins, however, two are against the combined 1-9 Vikings and Colts, while the other is a three-point home win against the disappointing Falcons.
The Bucs are simply not impressive in any facet of the game right now and should take their current winning record as a blessing.
Since the team doesn’t stand out in any area, it should all depend on Josh Freeman going forward, if the Bucs want any chance to compete for a playoff spot.
So far, Freeman has been a big disappointment, throwing three TDs to six picks. A home matchup with the division-leading Saints in Week 6 will serve as a good measuring stick of where Tampa Back stacks up in the QB-heavy NFC South.
As the highest-ranked losing team on this list, the 2-3 Jets may be benefiting from some writer bias (says the unabashed Jets fan).
The team did make things interesting in Foxboro—but in the end, it was too little, too late.
The Jets' serious concerns continue after Week 5, most notably a rushing defense that has trouble tackling at every level.
The offense may still be fixable, with returning center Nick Mangold patching up a reeling O-line. Nonetheless, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has failed to mix up the run and pass in Gang Green’s favor so far.
Mark Sanchez could be the most important player to this team, but with coach Rex Ryan preaching for a ground-and-pound running approach, cornerback Darrelle Revis continues to the be the key. His presence has a major effect on how opponents play the Jets, and the team could easily be 1-4 if it wasn’t for Revis right now.
The Cowboys' bye week came at the best time possible, freezing their record at a manageable 2-2, considering the current state of the NFC East.
Most importantly, it gave the injury-riddled offense some much-needed healing time, while also giving the team time to digest it’s stomach-turning loss to Detroit in Week 4.
While they haven’t spent much time on the field together, collectively, the Cowboys offense is loaded with talent. They get to take their frustration out on the league-worst Patriots defense in Week 6.
Still, it is the Cowboys defense that has played better so far this season, ranking fourth in yards allowed per game.
Leading the way is outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware—one of the league’s premier defensive players and the reigning sacks king (15.5 in 2010). Ware is already up to five sacks through four games this season, and there is no doubt that his influence on defense has a resounding effect on the team’s motivation going forward.
One of the biggest surprises in the NFL, the Bengals are riding the league’s best defense to an impressive 3-2 record, and doing so with a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton.
The Bengals could even be 5-0, with two close losses at Denver and at home to the 49ers, serving as a reminder of how competitive Cincy has been out of the gate.
The defense has been stellar—albeit not against the finest opponents. Granted, the Bengals slowed down a red-hot Bills offense in Week 4, but their other four games have been against the Browns, Broncos, 49ers and Jaguars, who all rank in the bottom third of the league in total offense.
It’s hard to pick one defender that truly stands out on this team, and as impressive as Dalton’s been as a rookie QB thrown into the fire (no hair pun intended), it’s fellow rookie A.J. Green that has truly changed this team.
Already one of the most physically-imposing wide receivers in the league, Green has top five potential at his position.
Just like the Seahawks were supposed to rank lower on this list, the Giants could have been a Top 10 team had it not been for their upsetting loss to Seattle on Sunday.
The win would have made New York the temporary division leader in what is a wide-open NFC East right now.
The Giants defense is trying to protect what is a very banged-up and exploitable secondary, but they simply didn’t present enough of a pass-rush against the Seahawks to do so.
The team needs Justin Tuck back to sport its full rotation of havoc-creating defensive linemen.
On the offensive side, the Giants haven’t been able to run the ball effectively and, as such, will continue to depend on the pass.
With Mario Manningham struggling to see the field and Victor Cruz turning in one of the most polarizing performances in NFL history against Seattle, Hakeem Nicks needs to stay healthy and remain a staple of the lineup. He’s one of the league’s five best receivers from a talent standpoint.
The Titans were looking poised to pull off another AFC North upset (first taking down the Ravens in Week 2), facing a Steelers team in Week 5 that had three big injuries on defense, an injured started running back and a hobbling starting quarterback.
But despite what was looking like a very favorable matchup, the Titans came crashing back down to Earth in Pittsburgh, losing 38-17.
The resurgent Matt Hasselbeck had no answer for Pittsburgh’s league-leading pass defense, while the Titans hot-start defense got lit up to the tune of five Ben Roethlisberger TDs.
Heading into their bye, the Titans have to be happy with where they’re at, but they must get back to the drawing board as well.
If this offense has any chance of being sustainable, it needs to make a commitment to the run with Chris Johnson, meaning his mini-breakout of the past two weeks (his first 100-yard game and TD) has to explode into something much bigger starting Week 7 against the Texans.
The Redskins were considered to be the bottom-feeders of the always-competitive NFC East, but in light of their bye, Washington is first in the division with a 3-1 record.
On deck in Week 6 is a big home matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Redskins are currently 1-1 in division action, and while they are playing well enough to compete for the division, the unsettled situation at quarterback could be their undoing.
After a hot start, Rex Grossman has thrown five picks in his last three games, leading to speculation that the team could switch to John Beck at some point.
No matter who starts at QB for the Redskins, the team projects to favor a "run and defend" game plan going forward.
On defense, Brian Orakpo is emerging as another one of the league’s elite outside linebackers, and now he has rookie Ryan Kerrigan to form a fierce tag-team. The Redskins 3-4 defense should create havoc for Michael Vick this Sunday.
No team’s stock dropped quite as much as the Texans on Sunday.
Along with getting upset at home by the Oakland Raiders, they also lost All-Pro defensive leader Mario Williams for the season to a torn pectoral muscle.
If not for the injury, Wiliams would have been the player featured on this slide, due to the huge role he’s played in Houston’s much-improved defense.
Now, without Williams, the Texans run the risk of being the defensive punching bag they were last season—that is if the remaining players cannot pick up the immense slack left by his departure.
The Texans still have talent on defense but will now depend heavily on Arian Foster to lead an offense currently without All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. Foster has looked impressive since returning from a hamstring injury and will be asked the carry the load again in a tough matchup against Baltimore this week.
“Just Win, Baby” rang true this past Sunday, as the Raiders pulled of a stunning victory against the Texans, one day after team owner Al Davis passed away at the ripe age of 82.
The Raiders improved to 3-2, one game behind the division-leading Chargers.
The Raiders finished 6-0 in the AFC West last year but struggled mightily against AFC opponents outside their division. With wins against the Jets and Texans already, Oakland is looking competitive for the first time since the Rich Gannon days, and are playing under an inspired head coach in Hue Jackson.
The Raiders have a strong front seven, making up for a secondary that has lost Nnamdi Asomugha (but has been receiving solid production from veteran cornerback Stanford Routt).
Still, the key to Oakland’s success is tied in large part to Darren McFadden, one of the league’s most dominating offensive players and the NFL’s leading rusher after five weeks.
The time may have finally come for the 49ers to separate themselves from the scrap heap that is the NFC West.
Fronting one of the league’s best defenses (especially against the run), San Francisco is 4-1 and still has five games remaining against the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks.
It’s wise not to count your chickens before they hatch, but it sure looks like the 49ers will host a playoff game come January. The offense has done a fine job behind Alex Smith, who is sporting a 104.1 QB rating along with a 7:1 TD:INT ratio.
The running game also looks in good hands with veteran Frank Gore leading the way, being spelled by impressive rookie Kendall Hunter.
While the offense looks better than it has in years, this is a team led by its defense, and arguably the best defensive player in the league in middle linebacker Patrick Willis. The team’s leader was outstanding on Sunday, racking up 10 tackles, two assists and a fumble recovery.
The Steelers’ spot on this list could have fluctuated greatly, depending on the outcome of their game against the Titans in Week 5.
A bad loss could have plummeted Pittsburgh’s stock, given the state of the offensive line and what it means to every other aspect of the reigning AFC champs' 2011 season.
The Steelers, however, didn’t just win on Sunday against the Titans, but did so in dominating fashion (38-17). The most telling stat of the game was 1—as in one sack to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had taken 14 in the team’s four previous games.
The defense, minus starters James Harrison, Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith, also held its own against a hot Titans team.
It all comes back to Roethlisberger, who may be more important to his team than almost any player, especially when you consider the O-line woes.
The truth is, Pittsburgh is not totally out of the woods so far when it comes to pass-protection issues, and it’s safe to say that almost any other QB would be laid out on the sidelines, if they had taken the same abuse as Big Ben these past five weeks.
In an interesting turn of events, the Chargers' uneven early-season play has continued in 2011—but instead of hovering around .500, the Chargers are 4-1 and in command of the AFC West for the time being.
The team continues to feature a top-five defense and has had all types of contributions from running backs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert so far.
Despite their record, the Chargers were barely able to put away the Chiefs in Week 3 and also had trouble finishing off the Broncos this past week.
The Chargers have a history of shooting themselves in the foot, and it’s usually due to ineptness on special teams. Nonetheless, the Chargers are finally putting together a strong start and now have a bye week to work out the kinks.
One player who will certainly put himself under the microscope is Philip Rivers, who despite throwing for 1,536 yards, is sporting a 6:7 TD:INT ratio, and hasn’t played on par with his elite contemporaries at the position (i.e., Brady, Rodgers and Brees).
Rivers is too good to let his problems become a growing concern, so look for the always-cocky QB to come storming out of the gates in Week 7.
The biggest surprise team in the league, the Bills have knocked off both the Patriots and Eagles en route to a 4-1 start.
Those two victories alone would make for a fulfilling start in Buffalo, but the wagon-circlers have bigger fish to fry heading into another big matchup in Week 6 against the Giants.
After their last two wins came off impressive comebacks (at home against the Raiders and the Patriots) the Bills opened up a 21-7 halftime lead against the Eagles on Sunday and staved off a late Philly comeback to remain atop the AFC East.
The improbable run seems more real with every passing week, and a win at the Meadowlands would put the Buffalo faithful on cloud nine heading into a Week 7 bye.
I was originally going to list Ryan Fitzpatrick in this spot, and while his performance has been nothing short of spectacular, it’s Fred Jackson who gets the game ball after five weeks of exhilarating play. The 30-year-old vet has always been heralded for his all-around talent and is finally getting the chance to display it for a winning team.
The Ravens stand pat this week due to their bye, but they have accomplished enough through their first four games to cement their status as one of the elite teams in the league.
With quality wins over the Steelers and Jets, the Ravens have gotten off to a good start, as far as stacking up to the competition in the AFC.
Ten years removed from its Super Bowl victory, Baltimore still employs an elite defense led by two trusty veterans—middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed. For the sake of this list, I did consider two other All-Pro members of the defense—defensive lineman Haloti Ngata and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
In the end, however, the Ravens defense is only equal to the sum of its parts, and no one part stood out to me.
On offense, though, Ray Rice is as vital as any feature back in the league and is on the verge of his greatest season as a pro. With Joe Flacco still struggling to find consistency, the Ravens will lean heavily on Rice this season.
It wasn’t the prettiest win this past Sunday, but the Saints still took care of business against a very tough team in the Panthers, improving to 4-1.
New Orleans stands tall in the NFC South, a division in which both Atlanta and Tampa Bay are looking like they’ll regress from last season.
Reclaiming the South will secure a home playoff game for the Saints, which is crucial following last season’s struggle in Seattle. Still, the Saints are a team with much higher hopes this season and must have their eye on two undefeated teams in the NFC North (who we’ll get to later) for the time being.
The Saints defense has been inconsistent (and mostly matchup dependent) so far this season, but this team lives and dies by its offense, and their offense is all Drew Brees.
The 11-year veteran now has one of his most talented weapons ever in tight end Jimmy Graham, and he continues to move his offense up and down the field with ease.
This ranking may be controversial, when you consider the Patriots were one meltdown (blowing a 21-0 loss at Buffalo) away from being 5-0 right now and are neck-and-neck with the first team on this list as Super Bowl contenders.
Having said that, for a team ranked dead last in total defense, No. 3 on this list ain't too shabby.
The Patriots have no problem outscoring teams for now, and the mindset in New England is that the defense will probably trend upwards as the season goes on. The secondary simply can’t play any worse, and the team has to hope it can generate a pass-rush from Albert Haynesworth and company at some point.
The answer here is pretty obvious—Tom Brady is the heart and soul of the Pats, and while Matt Cassel was able to lead the team respectably in Brady’s injury-derailed 2008 season, there is reasonable doubt that the same result would occur if Brady was to go down this season.
I watched Monday Night Football with focused eyes, trying to pick up on something that would knock the Lions out of second place on this list, if they did in fact secure a victory over Chicago.
Instead, I just witnessed more and more reasons to believe in this Detroit team, as not only a feel-good regular season story, but as a bona fide title contender.
I witnessed Jahvid Best finally put his explosive, game-breaking speed to good use, totaling 163 rushing yards on just 12 carries. I witnessed Matthew Stafford continue his campaign as one of the league’s best quarterbacks, completing 73.1 percent of his passes while getting a number of receivers involved.
But what I witnessed most of all was a wide receiver who simply cannot be stopped, no matter how hard opposing defenses try to contain him. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson added another TD to his season total (9) and is looking like the best football player on the planet after five weeks.
While Megatron is the most unstoppable player in the league right now; the Packers are the most unstoppable team when they line up 11 on offense.
The opponent, the playing field, the game score—none of it seems to matter when the Pack is given the football in 2011.
There is really no statistical barometer to measure how unstoppable the Packers are on offense (they’re currently fourth in total yards). One only needs to watch the team to see how a perfect spread offense works.
The defense is still trying to figure out how a secondary consisting of Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams is getting burned so badly, but they did get back on track against the Falcons, limiting Matt Ryan to 167 passing yards and one TD.
Aaron Rodgers is on a campaign to win his first MVP award, which should tell you how important he is to his team. While no one can deny Rodgers’ value to Green Bay, there’s fewer people who acknowledge (injured) left tackle Chad Clifton’s value to Rodgers. Without him guarding the QB’s blindside for the unforeseeable future, it will be interesting to see how Rodgers is affected.