Having clinched the NFC’s No. 1 seed with last week’s win over the Vikings, the Packers don’t have anything to play for in their Week 18 matchup with the Lions.
But quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still set to start the regular-season finale.
Earlier this week, head coach Matt LaFleur said he was inclined to play Green Bay’s starters because he didn’t like the idea of having a three-week layoff before playing in the Divisional round.
On Friday, LaFleur reiterated that the plan is to have starters on the field, in part because there are limited numbers.
“This is not preseason game No. 3 where you have 75 guys or 70 guys in uniform,” LaFleur said in his press conference. “We’ve got 48 players. So the guys are going to play.”
That includes Rodgers, who is still dealing with a fractured toe but practiced for two days this week. The Packers could deactivate the QB for Sunday and roll with Jordan Love as the starter and elevate practice squad quarterback Kurt Benkert to be Love’s backup. But LaFleur noted that Rodgers wants to be out there against the Lions.
“I don’t think he necessarily needs to play,” LaFleur said. “I think he’s proven that throughout the course of the season, in terms of the lack of practice that he’s had and he’s still going out there and playing at an MVP level. So I don’t think he necessarily needs to play. I think he wants to play and I think he wants to keep the momentum going.”
LaFleur added that the only thing that would take Rodgers off the field is if he came to the head coach with some concerns.
Rodgers, the frontrunner to win a second consecutive MVP award, has thrown for 3,977 yards with 35 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.