Like this is the complete end of the Packers’ season … well, I can tell you it’s not. The Packers have been playing without several of those for whom thy will be without today and the team has done just fine, thank you.
Here are the players who will most likely not play today:
Chad Clifton – the left tackle has been out of the lineup for more than a month and Marshall Newhouse, while shaky at times, has held his own against some pretty good pass rushers.
James Starks – he has been hobbling for several weeks now and Coach Mike McCarthy is doing the right thing by sitting the second-year player. Starks could probably take at least a couple of weeks off to get healed up for the late season playoff run.
Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk – the starting inside linebackers were hurt in the Detroit Thanksgiving Day game and missed last week. It looks like Hawk has an outside shot of playing, but Bishop is out. In their places, Robert Francois and D.J. Smith have played admirably.
Josh Sitton – the right guard has been out since the second quarter of the Lions game. Again, McCarthy is being cautious to be sure he is completely healed before putting him on the field again.
Erik Walden – because of his legal problems, he may be pulled at some point, but it won’t be this week. The Packers are satisfied to let the legal situation play out and then dole out any sort of fine or suspension after the system has run its course.
Charles Woodson – Sir Charles practiced all week and is expected to start. I don’t think he wants to miss this opportunity to be on the field against his former team.
So, though it looks like there are serious injuries haunting the Packers … the truth is, this is allowing many of the younger players to get on the field for quality reps. Giving them game experience will benefit the players and the team down the road, especially when it gets to be playoff time.
There’s no reason the Packers should roll up another 35 points against the Raiders today and I fully expect them to do so.
Packers 35 Raiders 21
Topics: Chad Clifton, Charles Woodson, D.J. Smith, Desmond Bishop A.J. Hawk, Erik Walden, Green Bay Packers, James Starks, Josh Sitton, Marshall Newhouse, Mike McCarthy, Oakland Raiders, Robert Francois