Packers playing their starters vs. Lions, including David Bakhtiari
Once the Green Bay Packers kneeled down a week ago to defeat the Minnesota Vikings, it was job done. Surely it would be time to rest the starters, including Aaron Rodgers on a toe injury, for the postseason.
Not so fast.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Packers plan to play their starters in this afternoon’s game against the Detroit Lions.
Rapoport reported that the Packers wants to keep Aaron Rodgers “in rhythm” rather than having three weeks between games. Green Bay will have next week off after securing a first-round bye.
Importantly, Rapoport added that All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari is expected to make his return from a torn ACL this afternoon. Bakhtiari hasn’t played in over a year, so this is huge news for the Packers ahead of the playoffs.
It would have been slightly concerning having Bakhtiari not play a single down and then being thrown into a divisional round game. Of course, it’s David Bakhtiari, I’m sure he would have been absolutely fine, but getting an opportunity to start a regular season game today will help him.
Securing the top seed early puts coaches in a tough spot. While it would be great to not risk injury and rest the starters, that does itself create some risk. It would mean two weeks of no football for the starters before the divisional round. That’s a long time to have off.
If the Packers lose a couple of players to injury today, this approach will be questioned. But assuming they don’t, it will help the team to continue playing and maintain some momentum. They will have all of next week to prepare for the game(s) ahead in the playoffs.
Do you think Matt LaFleur should be playing the starters today? If so, how long should they play?