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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Mike Sando's MVP Watch

By Mike Sando

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers accounted for six touchdowns in the Packers' Week 4 win over Denver.
Larry Fitzgerald answered the MVP question before I could finish asking it.

"That's a no-brainer," he said from the Arizona Cardinals' locker room this week. "Is it even close right now?"

Not really.

Aaron Rodgers tightened his grip on the top spot by becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 400 yards passing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing scores in the same game. By comparison, the entire Jacksonville Jaguars team has 550 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and one rushing score in its first four games.

Tom Brady remains the biggest threat to Rodgers for the long term, but the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford has gained ground.

"If the Patriots didn't lose one game, you might say Tom, but Aaron is playing lights out," Fitzgerald said. "And they're kind of doing it under the radar, too. It's as under the radar as you can be as a Super Bowl champion. You don't see them all over ESPN. You just see them going about their business."

Fitzgerald pointed to the Lions' Calvin Johnson as the wide receiver most likely to break the quarterback-running back stranglehold on MVP honors. And he said the Baltimore Ravens' Ed Reed and the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware have the potential to make a run at MVP from the defensive side.

"Ed Reed is as important to that Ravens defense as a good quarterback is to any team," Fitzgerald said. "He has been playing great."

There wasn't quite room for defensive representation on the list this week. The Lions' Johnson joined Eli Manning and Philip Rivers as new from last week, pushing aside Buffalo's Fred Jackson, Dallas' Tony Romo and Houston's Matt Schaub. Jackson has not exceeded 74 yards in his past two games. Schaub's status took a hit with Andre Johnson's injury, and it was tougher finding room for teammate Arian Foster after the Texans' backup running back, Ben Tate, produced so well when Foster was out.