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Week 13's five most valuable players

Shutdown Corner

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Brent Grimes(notes), CB, Atlanta Falcons

Grimes put Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman(notes) on lockdown Sunday, and has quietly become one of the game's better corners. The late interception he came up with sewed up a gargantuan road win for the Falcons.

It wasn't just that play, either. Grimes tortured Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman all day long. The numbers here from Pat Yasinskas tell the story. Down the right sideline, where Grimes was on patrol, Freeman went 2 of 10 for 11 yards and an interception. Grimes broke up four of those passes. Everywhere else on the field, Freeman went 17 of 28 for 171 yards and a touchdown.

It was like that on the final drive, too. Freeman was moving the chains, putting the ball where he wanted it, and had the Bucs looking like they were in the middle of a game-winning drive. He decided to test Grimes one last time, though, and it was the last time he'd see the football.

Rolando McClain(notes), LB, Oakland Raiders.

A lot of different Raiders could occupy this spot. Darren McFadden(notes) and Michael Bush(notes) ran the ball very effectively, not only wearing the Chargers down on the ground, but opening up huge, game-swinging play fakes that won the game for the Raiders. Their offensive line controlled the Chargers all day long. The defensive line, particularly Tommy Kelly(notes), set up camp in the Chargers' backfield.

McClain gets the nod, though, for all the head-turning plays he made in helping the Raiders hold the Chargers to 21 yards rushing. Keep in mind that these are the same Chargers fronts that just decimated the Colts last week, and the Raiders housed them -- offensively and defensively.

And yes, it hurt a great deal to type that.

Sidney Rice(notes), WR, Minnesota Vikings.

When Brett Favre took that brutal hit and went out with an injury, I was kind of hoping Tarvaris Jackson(notes) would have the kind of monster game that would get him listed among the week's five MVPs. It's been hard not to feel for Jackson through Brett Favre's(notes) 2010 Saddest Farewell Tour of All-Time.

It didn't work out exactly like that, though the Vikings did explode for 31 first-half points. Sidney Rice was the biggest playmaker in staking the Vikings out to a huge lead. There was this great throw and catch, and this ridiculous circus job.

If Tarvaris Jackson can be credited with a good day at all, it's because Rice was a beast. Adrian Peterson was, too. Jackson ended up going 15 of 22 for 187 yards, with the two touchdowns to Rice, but he also chucked three interceptions. If he proved anything, it's that anyone's going to struggle in front of Minnesota's offensive line.

Jay Cutler(notes), QB, Chicago Bears.

The Bears had their hands full with a game Lions squad Sunday, and had their quarterback been anything other than efficient and mistake-free, they'd have lost. Those normally aren't concepts you'd associate with Jay Cutler, but that's what he did Sunday.

He completed 21 of 26 for 234 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. And it's not like he wasn't pressured, either -- Ndamukong Suh(notes) and the underrated Cliff Avril(notes) were in his grill all day, giving him plenty of opportunities to make Cutler-y mistakes.

He refrained, though, converted some huge third downs, and made the plays that needed to be made.

Aaron Rodgers(notes), QB, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers just keeps doing it. He and the Packers got off to a bit of a slow start against the 49ers, but before it was all done, he was 21 of 30 for 298 yards, three touchdowns and no mistakes.

It's not just the numbers, either, it's the consistency. This makes four straight games for Rodgers in which his quarterback rating has been over 110. Eight different Packers caught passes Sunday. He hasn't thrown an interception since October.

Also, just because, here's an incomplete list of teams that passed on Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft: San Francisco, Miami, Cleveland, Tennessee, Arizona, Minnesota (twice), Washington, Detroit, Carolina, Cincinnati and Oakland.

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