The Green Bay Packers could send a large number of players to the Pro Bowl this season, but fans hope that none of them play. As the Packers chase a second straight Super Bowl, they would love nothing more than to be unavailable when the NFC-AFC showdown takes place one week before the Super Bowl.
Even if the players are unable to play, the honor still means quite a bit as some players have Pro Bowl incentives in their contracts. For others, it may just be another notch on their list of career achievements.
With the best record in the NFL and looking like far and away the best team, the Packers could have a plethora named to the NFC roster.
Not only has Aaron Rodgers been the best player in the NFC, he has been the best player in the league. No player, not even Tom Brady, is close to performing as well as Rodgers early this season. Each week, Rodgers has furthered the gap between himself and the rest of the league.
Through the first seven weeks, Rodgers' 125.7 QB rating is good for 20.9 points higher than the next best quarterback. Rodgers also leads the league with 20 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions. To go along with his high touchdown numbers, Rodgers has completed 71.5 percent of his passes for 2,372 yards.
Stats aside, Rodgers has made plays for the Packers that other NFL quarterbacks can only dream of. Facing multiple defenders barreling straight at him, Rodgers finds a way to elude them all, get outside the pocket and deliver a rocket on the run.
Greg Jennings is on his way to a career year while destroying defenses with the dynamic duo formed by himself and Rodgers. With as many weapons as Rodgers has, Jennings has set himself apart from the other targets. He has remained the most consistent target for Rodgers and his stats are evidence of this.
Through seven games, Jennings has caught 42 passes for 677 yards and five touchdowns. His 42 receptions lead the NFC while his 677 yards are good for third in the conference. The five touchdowns are second only to Calvin Johnson's 10.
Jennings is on pace for 1,547 yards on the year which would give him the most single-season receiving yards in Packers' history.
Mason Crosby has been perfect this season hitting all 14 of his field goal attempts and all 26 of his extra points. After re-signing in the offseason, Crosby has definitely earned the increased money in his new contract.
Against the Vikings, Crosby hit a Packers' franchise record 58-yard field goal late in the third quarter to give the Packers a 33-17 lead. The career best shows the confidence that the Packers have in how well Crosby is kicking the ball.
The only other kicker that remains perfect is Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant who is 11 for 11 on field goal attempts and 17 for 17 on extra points. Despite leading the league in field goal percentage, Crosby is also dominating kickoffs.
While Clay Matthews sack numbers are down this season, he has consistently gotten pressure on opposing quarterbacks. With only three sacks so far, Matthews is on pace for seven sacks to finish the year. In his first two seasons, Matthews recorded double-digit sacks.
Matthews has suffered from a lack of help from others. Up front B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Jarius Wynn have struggled to maintain consistent pressure throughout games. Opposite Matthews at right outside linebacker, Erik Walden has failed to live up to expectations.
A quad injury has also hampered Matthews throughout the season and has limited his availability throughout the week for practice. The bye week should allow Matthews to get some rest and hopefully come back playing even better football.
Last year, Josh Sitton was overlooked by the Pro Bowl selection process and was voted an alternate. While his play hasn't been as sensational as last year, another solid year should finally provide the breakthrough needed for Sitton.
Sitton has been the anchor of a Packers offensive line that has battled through injuries to Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga to maintain success. They've done a good job keeping Rodgers upright and providing running lanes for Ryan Grant and James Starks.
Last season Sitton was named 2010 Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Alumni Association. Having another strong year, it seems only right that Sitton will be given Pro Bowl honors this season.
Charles Woodson has once again defied the normal aging process and is having another successful season. Through seven games, Woodson leads the league in interceptions with five, returning one for a touchdown.
The seasoned vet is on pace for the first double digit interception season of his lengthy career.
Due to his age, Woodson has had to adapt his game, but now fits the Packers defensive system perfectly. With Tramon Williams and Sam Shields on the outside, Woodson swarms the middle of the field playing a mix of cornerback, linebacker and safety.
Woodson's playmaking ability is good for a starting spot in the Pro Bowl when the voting process comes to a close.
The Packers showed their confidence in Desmond Bishop the day they released longtime Packer Nick Barnett. Since taking over for Barnett following his Week 1 injury in 2010, Bishop has hit the ground running with sensational play.
Bishop has justified the coaching staff's decision as he leads all defensive players in the NFC with 65 tackles. He is second to Pat Angerer of the Indianapolis Colts who leads the AFC with 80 tackles. Leading the entire league with 52 solo tackles, Bishop also has three sacks and a forced fumble.
So far this season, Bishop has been a constant force for a Packers defense that has struggled at times. In his first full season as starter, the fifth-year player has continued to improve and shows no signs of slowing.
Among NFC centers, Scott Wells is playing lights out and above all other candidates. He has worked with Rodgers to read defenses as well as keep Rodgers' jersey clean and open rushing lanes for Grant and Starks.
In his eighth year, Wells has grown into one of the league's top centers, but could also benefit from the lack of other players standing out at the center position.
After a knee injury abruptly ended a promising rookie season last year, Morgan Burnett has been tearing it up for the Packers. He has stepped up in the absence of Nick Collins to become the playmaker the Packers hoped he would become.
Burnett has three interceptions on the season so far. He also has two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as well as a sack. When he isn't creating turnovers, Burnett is always finding his way to the ball with 50 tackles on the season which has him tied for 20th in the league.
The numbers and strong play are even more impressive considering that Burnett has yet to play the equivalent of a full season with only 11 games under his belt. As Burnett continues to make plays for the Packers, his chances of making his first Pro Bowl will improve drastically.
While John Kuhn could probably make the Pro Bowl roster based on the fan vote alone, he definitely is deserving of a Pro Bowl nod. The Packers fullback has scored three touchdowns on the year, two rushing and one receiving.
As the NFL further shifts into a passing league, teams are relying less and less on traditional running games and because of this the use of the fullback has seen a decline. This is not the case in Green Bay as the Packers use John Kuhn in all kinds of situations, especially around the goal line and in short yardage situations.
Kuhn has outplayed many fullbacks in the NFL and has been golden every time he's touched the ball. Of his 14 touches, Kuhn has scored a touchdown or gotten a first down on 10 of them. When Kuhn gets the ball in his hands, good things happen for the Packers.