The realities of a 53-man roster make it impossible for the Packers to rest all of their starters Sunday against Detroit.
But it sounds like they are going to sit as many key players as possible. Let’s break it down:
Too hurt to play
Wide receiver Greg Jennings (knee), running back James Starks (knee/ankle), return man Randall Cobb (groin), and tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) won’t play. They would likely be shaky to play even if this was a playoff week.
On the borderline
The Packers list cornerback Charles Woodson (knee) and linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle) as questionable after being limited in practice all week. They would be playing if this was the playoffs, but it sounds like the defensive stars will be rested for most of Sunday’s game, if not all of it. They are getting some earned star treatment.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t even confirm whether Aaron Rodgers would start the game when asked.
“The most important thing with Aaron is he’s ready to play. Whether he starts, we’ll talk about that today,” McCarthy said.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com believes Rodgers won’t even play a snap. Rodgers played coy.
“What did Mike say?” Rodgers asked. “I’m going to leave it up to Mike. I’ll let Mike answer that.”
The Packers will kick the tires on two injured starters in preparation for the playoffs. Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, who has been sorely missed the last few weeks, is expected to return from a concussion. Tackle Chad Clifton will play for the first time since hurting his hamstring in Week 5.
Coaches will watch Clifton closely. He’s essentially auditioning to start in the postseason.
Add it all up, and the Lions have a great chance to win in Lambeau and earn the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs.