1. Is Colin Kaepernick to blame for his stinker against the Panthers or does Carolina's defense deserve more credit?
JAMES CARR: Colin Kaepernick as now been the starting QB in the NFL for about a year, which, in the context of this question, means one of two things: Either he's as good as his rookie season and simply going through a sophomore slump, or defenses have figured out his steez and aren't flat-footed every time he leaves the pocket. We won't find that out for a couple more years, as the story will eventually unfold either way. For now, we should just give credit to Carolina. Ever since they decided to go all-in with Cam Newton, his attitude has spread throughout the team. They're putting everything on the line on both sides of the ball, and finally beginning to live up to their potential. Watch out, NFL: Carolina's coming.
RICHARD BOADU: We forget about Kaepernick's age. He's still a second year starter. Yes, we're in a time known as the Young Gunslinger Boom, but at times these young boys will shoot blanks. The great Andrew Luck looked absolutely lost yesterday against the Rams of all teams. If Luck can be proven to be human so can Kaepernick. The Panthers defense is dope. No big names, just a consistent unit that's been making plays all year long.
D.J. DUNSON: The Panthers defense is spectacular, but 91 yards! Problem is that this isn’t an aberration He’s only thrown for 200 yards once since his season-opening 400 yard statement game against the Packers. When he’s not facing a bottom dweller, it’s hard to tell the difference between Kaepernick and one of Green Bay’s backup quarterbacks. At least he completed 50 percent of his attempts against Carolina. Three times this season he's dipped under the 50 percent Mendoza/Tebow Line. He simply hasn’t made the progression as a pure passer that Luck and Wilson have. If his first read is covered, he gets panicky and scrambles from a clean pocket. If he keeps this up, Packers fans might start getting nostalgic for Alex Smith.
2. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being "very likely" and 10 being "unlikely", what are the odds Green Bay is sitting at home once the playoffs kick off in January?
CARR: Very high, maybe an 8. For the rest of the season, Green Bay plays four playoff contenders in Detroit, Dallas, Chicago, and, I can't really believe I'm saying this, the New York Giants, all on the road. Without Aaron Rodgers for at least two of those matchups, the Pack are looking at 8-8 or 9-7 at best right now. That doesn't look like it'll be enough in 2013. Unfortunately, Green Bay is learning the hard way that in the NFL, if you go all-in on the QB position, then the second most-important position on your team is the backup spot. Perhaps Eagles coach Chip Kelly passed on some words of advice after Nick Foles carved their tombstone.
BOADU: Right now, it's a 5. The Packers remaining schedule consists of the Vikings twice, the Bears, Lions, Giants and Eagles. All those games can be won. A lot depends on how fast Aaron Rodgers can get healthy. It's the NFL, anything can happen. Hell, the last two Super Bowl winners looked like they wouldn't make the playoffs at this point in time also.
DUNSON: I’m gonna yell fire in a crowded Lambeau Field and give this a 9. Right now, Packers fans are looking at the NFC East with jealousy. The odds are approximately “Diddy buys a summer home in Green Bay” long. Seneca Wallace’s mobility is pretty much all he has going for him at this point in his career and an injured groin renders him Professor X immobile. That means the job of lighting a spark underneath Green Bay’s offense falls to Scott Tolzien. With Tolzien under center, the Packers offense was Aaron Rodgers’ Movember porn’stache ugly.
3. Who Is Week 10’s NFL MVP?
CARR: Tavon Austin, and it isn't even close. I actually thought Miles Austin might have been traded to St. Louis when I saw that WR Austin had a record-setting day for the Rams. He picked up the opening kickoff and returned it for a touchdown, then added scores of 51 yards and 81 yards in the air. The rookie racked up 314 all-purpose yards and three scores, joining Randy Moss and Gale Sayers as the only players to ever score three or more times from 50 yards out or further.
BOADU: That's easy. Tavon Awesome is Week 10's MVP. He literally dominated the Colts by his damn self. Three touchdowns longer than 55 yards. It's taken him long enough, he just has to be consistent now.
DUNSON: Tavon Austin is the wide receiver Ty Hilton wants to be when he grows up. Austin’s got the moves like Marshall, but I’m going to give credit to the folks at Nike that developed Austin’s cleats, thus allowing him to avert the effects of friction and kinetic impact while moving at lightning-quick speeds around the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Also, big ups to Kellen Clemens for finally figuring out that targeting Austin is a wise, no, it’s the only move to make.