The Aaron Rodgers conundrum has been going on for over a year now, so it’s more a matter of “why” than “what” the issue is. You think it’s a physical deterioration of skills. I think it’s mental, something amiss with his fundamentals and perception of the the pocket, which has affected his timing on throws. He’s not comfortable with the offense they are running and his receivers are also not getting open, no separation. I can only see things changing when McCarthy is fired and someone with a fresh take comes in to change things up.
Cam Newton is the same guy, just that his team has gotten a whole lot worse. The defensive secondary is a sieve and the decision to let their best CB walk in the off-season was short-sighted and tragic. As it turns out, Josh Norman was the glue holding that unit together and now we see it in full force. Their defensive front four is not getting any pressure, either. They can’t stop teams from mounting long drives. On offense, they are inconsistent, much like my Cards. They are having trouble mounting drives because teams are keying on Newton and they don’t have a great receiving corps or superstar back (David Johnson/ Le’veon Bell) to help lighten the load. It’s not the same team as last year.
Big Ben is just getting old and is more susceptible to injury now. You can’t take big hits forever and not have it affect you long-term. The Steelers are a great offensive team, albeit inconsistent, with an underrated defense. They will probably be 10–6 at the end of the year regardless of how many games Ben misses. No Superbowl shot, though.