DETROIT – Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers used the final regular season game of the season to make his case for the MVP award. Voters may not have any other choice.
Rodgers lit up the Lions for 300 yards and four touchdown in leading the Packers to a NFC North division title and a home game in the first round of the NFC playoffs. He finished the season with 40 touchdown passes against seven interceptions with 4,428 passing yards.
He also delivered on a high-profile promise to "run the table" after Green Bay sputtered to a 4-6 start.
Rodgers is facing some tough competition for the NFL award he won in 2011 and 2014. Atlanta's Matt Ryan has comparable numbers with 38 touchdown passes against seven intersections, 4,944 yards passing and a better quarterback rating. Plus, his team finished the year 11-5, a game better than the Packers.
And the New England Patriots Tom Brady is having another spectacular season after sitting out the first four games for the "Deflategate" suspension. Brady threw for 28 touchdown passes against a mere two interceptions with 3,554 passing yards in 12 games. Brady's quarterback rating is also higher than Rodgers' rating.
A few other players will get some votes, including NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott and fellow rookie sensation, quarterback Dak Prescott, both of the Dallas Cowboys.
But after Sunday night's primetime performance, including a dazzling 9 seconds eluding the Lions pass rush to deliver a TD pass, Rodgers is going to be a tough to overlook when it comes time to hand out post-season awards. Any team would be at a loss without a star quarterback, but Rodgers is arguably the most important player to his playoff team.
After a 40-touchdown season, he's the front-runner for the 2016 MVP award.