Green Bay lists five players as questionable for the NFC title game

The NFC title game is less than 48 hours away, and the Green Bay Packers still have major injury concerns and now an illness going through the team to worry about.

The team released its final injury report Friday afternoon, and saw five players — wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison, along with defensive backs Morgan Burnett and Quinten Rollins — listed as questionable.

“They’ll be given every chance to play in the game,” coach Mike McCarthy said of the wide receivers. “If we know (Saturday), we’ll know (Saturday). If we know Sunday, we know Sunday. I’m going to give these guys the open time frame to do everything they can to play.”

If that wasn’t enough, there is an apparent illness that has hit the team, including Nelson, who was told to stay away from the facility on Friday to avoid spreading it. Still, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and kicker Mason Crosby have been affected by it.

“Rest, fluids, all that stuff. We’ll be OK,” Rodgers told reporters Friday afternoon. “We’re going to be OK and deal with it.”

On Atlanta’s side of the things, wide receiver Julio Jones practiced on a limited basis Friday and is expected to play on Sunday. He had missed the previous two days with a toe injury.

Packers’ WR Jordy Nelson earns PFWA Comeback Player of the Year honor

A year after missing the entire season due to a torn ACL, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson has been selected as the NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Nelson was injured in the preseason in August of 2015 and didn’t suit up for an actual game until Week 1 of the 2016 season. All he’s done since is lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 14 and and finish with 97 catches, the second-most in his career.

A 2008 second-round draft pick, Nelson saved some of his best games for when the Packers needed them the most. In the six-game winning streak to end the season, Nelson had three 100-yard games, including 154 yards against Minnesota in Week 16, and caught five touchdown passes.

Nelson is the second Packers player to win the award, joining wide receiver Robert Brooks, who took home the honor in 1997, a year after tearing his ACL midway through the 1996 season.

Green Bay is getting ready to play in the NFC title game in Atlanta on Sunday. Nelson’s status is up in the air as he battles a pair of broken ribs suffered against the New York Giants in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

WR Davante Adams among several injury concerns for the Packers

GREEN BAY — Injuries continue to be the biggest story for the Green Bay Packers in advance of their NFC title game at Atlanta on Sunday.

The latest concern is wide receiver Davante Adams, who suffered an ankle injury late in the win over Dallas.

“We’ll see,” coach Mike McCarthy said when asked if he expected Adams to play on Sunday. “I’m curious to see him move. I don’t think he’ll practice until Saturday.”

Adams has played in every game this season and is the team’s second-leading receiver. The top guy, Jordy Nelson, is also very much in question as he battles a pair of broken ribs that kept him out of last week’s game. McCarthy said he’ll practice with the rehab group on Wednesday, but gave no indication of how he’ll handle the rest of the week.

The other starter that there is some concern about is safety Morgan Burnett. He suffered a quad injury in the first half against Dallas, and didn’t return. He won’t practice Wednesday, spending the day with the rehab group as well.

McCarthy said cornerback Quinten Rollins is getting closer to clearing the concussion protocol and will do some work in practice. He’s missed the last two games after getting injured in the season-finale against Detroit.

Starting offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari each came out of the game against Dallas a little gimpy, and McCarthy said they’ll likely be limited in practice this week.

Packers rule WR Jordy Nelson OUT for Sunday’s playoff game at Dallas

The Green Bay Packers will not have their leading receiver for their NFC Divisional Round matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Coach Mike McCarthy ruled wide receiver Jordy Nelson out for the game when he met with the media Friday morning. Nelson suffered several broken ribs in the Packers’ win over the New York Giants last Sunday. McCarthy said if the Packers advance to the NFC Championship game, Nelson will be reevaluated.

“He’ll continue to progress,” McCarthy said of Nelson. “He said he feels better every day.”

Nelson leads the Packers with 97 catches for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“It gives us one less receiver but obviously an extremely productive player,” McCarthy said of what the team will be missing. “You just go by the way the game plan was set, the importance and really the emphasis on Jordy Nelson. That’s gone. You just tilt opportunities the other way. That’s the way you always have to approach these types of situations anytime you have a player of his magnitude that’s not available.

“We anticipated potentially not having him this week, so we’ll be prepared for it.”

Nelson’s absence will mean more time for rookie Geronimo Allison and third-year pro Jeff Janis.

Report: Jordy Nelson fractured at least two ribs in the Packers win over the Giants

Jordy Nelson suffered at least two fractured ribs in the Green Bay Packers 38-13 wild-card win over the New York Giants on Sunday.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media was the first to report the injury.

Nelson was injured in the second quarter when he took a shot to the ribs from safety Leon Hall while trying to hold onto a pass. The wide receiver eventually left the stadium on a cart and spent the night in a local hospital, before being released earlier on Monday.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Monday afternoon that Nelson won’t practice before Saturday, and if he doesn’t practice then, he won’t play in Green Bay’s divisional-round matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Meanwhile, linebacker Blake Martinez and running back Ty Montgomery were each diagnosed with knee injuries, but McCarthy believes they both have an opportunity to play against the Cowboys.

Nelson’s status could be biggest factor in Packers divisional round vs Cowboys

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Perhaps somewhat lost in the celebration of a 38-13 wild card win over the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers may have to prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys next week without top receiver Jordy Nelson.

Playing without Nelson is nothing new to the Packers, having played all of the 2015 season without him (torn ACL). But after suffering a rib injury, coach Mike McCarthy is “concerned” about Nelson’s health now facing the Cowboys in Dallas Sunday afternoon. He had no update on Neson’s status after Sunday’s win, but presumably will give an update later this week. The Kansas State product has put up monster numbers this year in a return from the ACL injury: 97 receptions, 1,257 yards, 14 touchdowns (NFL best).

As Nelson, 31, continues to age, the Packers had been using him in the slot more often. Randall Cobb helped make up for Nelson’s absence, playing through an ankle injury to put up the NFL’s first 100-yard, three touchdown performance in the postseason since Rob Gronkowski in 2011.

“I think everybody just kind of stuck to our job, tried to put ourselves in position to make the plays when they were there, when we had those opportunities,” Cobb said. “We hate seeing one of our guys go down but we’ve got to continue to play.”

 

Packers 30, Bears 27: 2-minute drill

CHICAGO | The Green Bay Packers got a 32-yard field goal as time expired on Sunday to beat the Chicago Bears 30-27 and earn their fourth-straight win.

Play of the Game

It wasn’t exactly fourth-and-8 to win the division like he managed in 2013 at Solider Field, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers finding wide receiver Jordy Nelson for a 60-yard gain late in the fourth quarter on Sunday could end up being just as big.

After running just six plays in the fourth quarter and watching the defense give up 17 points unanswered to allow the Bears to tie the game, the Packers offense walked on the field with 1:19 left on the clock and no timeouts. By the time it was third-and-11 at their own 26-yard line, there were just 31 seconds left and another incompletion could have given the Bears the ball back with time to go for the win.

Coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers didn’t care. They took a shot on a deep pass and it landed, with Rodgers getting great protection and throwing it up for Nelson.

“I saw Jordy put his hand out,” Rodgers said. “(I) just tried to put enough air on it for him to run underneath it. That’s what he does, he makes those kind of catches.”

The play set kicker Mason Crosby up for the game-winner from 32 yards out, which he hit for the 30-27 victory.

Game Balls

Offense: RB Ty Montgomery

Before the 2015 NFL Draft, there were some teams that thought Montgomery was a wide receiver that could play some running back, especially in third-down situations. On Sunday, the second-year player out of Stanford proved again that he’s a running back now and for the foreseeable future.

Montgomery gained 162 yards on just 16 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. His rushing total was the most by a Packers running back in the regular season since 2005 when Samkon Gado ran for 171 yards against Detroit.

It’s not just the yards, though. It’s how he gets him. For a guy that has barely played the position, Montgomery shows patience and toughness, darting in and out of holes. His best run of the day — a 61-yard burst in the second quarter — looked like a play that was going to go for 2 yards.

How he got to the position wasn’t ideal — injuries and ineffectiveness — but the Packers have to be overjoyed he ended up there.

Defense: S Micah Hyde

The defense by the Packers in the fourth quarter was atrocious, but it was a play by Hyde that allowed them a chance to kick the game-winning field goal instead of being forced to score a touchdown on their final drive.

Faced with a third-and-goal at the 4-yard line, quarterback Matt Barkley looked for wide receiver Cameron Meredith on a quick out route in the end zone, but Hyde got his hand on it and knocked it away. The Bears kicked a field goal on the next play to tie the game.

“Wish I could have picked it off, (but) I stumbled a little bit,” Hyde said. “Made the play and it was good for our offense to go out and get three.”

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had a pair of interceptions, which were big plays, but Hyde’s deflection turned out to be the biggest.

Special Teams: K Mason Crosby

The kick itself wasn’t difficult. It was a 32 yarder that Crosby has hit a million times. But you never know when it a game-winner. Crosby had one blocked on the same field in 2008. This time, though, the snap was perfect, the hold was great and Crosby knocked it through the uprights to give the Packers a 30-27 win.

On the day, the 11-year veteran was 3 of 3, and he’s now 24 of 28 on the season.

Video of the Game

Quote of the Day

“Just did my job. Once I got past the (defensive back), I threw my arm up just to make sure Aaron saw me. He said he saw, so he let it go.

“It wasn’t the most graceful thing, but it got done.”

Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson on his 60-yard catch that setup the game-winning field goal.

In Case You Missed It

— Former Packers guard Josh Sitton, who was cut just before the season, was one of the Bears captains on Sunday. The man who replaced him in Green Bay, Lane Taylor, was one of the Packers captains.

— On what turned out to be the final offensive play for Chicago — the incompletion to wide receiver Cameron Meredith — the Packers only had 10 guys on the field until right before the snap. Defensive lineman Letroy Guion ran down the sideline, waiting until he got to the line of scrimmage before cutting over onto the field. He almost hit ran into Hyde, who ended up breaking up the ball.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to watch it on film,” Hyde said when asked if he realized how close Guion came to hitting him. “I do remember (Guion) running down the sideline.”

— Starting cornerback Damarious Randall was replaced in the nickel and dime defenses in the fourth quarter. The second-year pro was the victim of an earlier touchdown pass and struggled to tackle his man on several other plays.

— NFC North leader Detroit lost at the New York Giants on Sunday, dropping to 9-6 on the season. It leaves the Packers just one-game back of the Lions with two games to play. If Green Bay wins out — home to Minnesota and at the Lions — they’ll win the division.

Inside the Numbers

94-94-6 — That’s the all-time record between the two teams after Sunday’s game. It’s the first time since 1933 that it’s been tied.

2 — That’s how many Packers have run for at least 150 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Bears in a game. That’s after Ty Montgomery accomplished the feat on Sunday, joining Ahman Green, who did it in 2003.

1,037 — That’s how many yards Jordy Nelson has this season after catching seven passes for 124 yards on Sunday, including a 60-yard catch to setup the game-winning field goal.

4-0 — That’s Green Bay’s record since Aaron Rodgers told everyone — in the midst of a four-game losing streak — that he thought the team could run the table to finish the season.

What’s Next

Green Bay (8-6) will play their final regular-season home game on Saturday at noon against Minnesota. The Vikings lost 34-6 at home to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

The case of Abbrederis and the missing name plate

GREEN BAY, Wis. — A normal day of practice for Jared Abbrederis turned to one of curiosity among media members when it was reported by the Wisconsin Sports Zone Network’s own Eric Rogers that a name plate was missing from above Abbrederis’ locker.

Every other locker had one intact, even the lockers not currently housing the equipment of a player. Those ones simply read “PACKERS.”

The timing was peculiar, given the return this week of Mike Pennel and Demetri Goodson from suspension.Green Bay will either have to clear space for them on their 53-man roster or part ways. Abbrederis was the only skill player to not get any reps in Sunday’s win over the Giants, leaving a big decision ahead of the Packers staff.

But Packers public relations director Jason Wahlers denied any link between the missing name plate and the future of Abbrederis, saying via Twitter “Abbrederis was not released. Merely an issue with his nameplate. Equipment staff is working diligently to resolve.”

In regards to Abbrederis’ lack of playing time this past Sunday, fellow receiver Jordy Nelson spoke to the work ethic of the former University of Wisconsin standout:

“[Abbrederis] comes to work every day. He’s a great player. He does what he’s asked to do, whether that’s on offense or special teams. He grinds it out, he makes plays. He did it all through camp. He’s a professional about it, so he’ll continue to work and be prepared when his opportunity comes.”

Packers 34, Lions 27: 2-minute drill

Game Balls

Offense: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

After arguably the worst performance of his career, Rodgers came back firing on Sunday, owning an undermanned Lions secondary, throwing four touchdowns in the first half. His passer rating of 127.9 was his best since Sept. 28 of last year, and the first time he’s been over 100 in his last 14 games.

With Rodgers at the controls, the offense piled up 211 yards in the first half and 31 points. Though the two-time MVP lamented the disjoined nature of the second half in which they had just four possessions and gained 103 yards, it was a vast improvement over the performance in Minneapolis last Sunday.

Defense: Outside linebacker Nick Perry

The 1-year, $5-million deal Perry signed in the offseason to return to Green Bay is looking more and more like a steal for Green Bay. The USC product seven tackles, including a pair of sacks, two quarterback hurries and one pass defended. The effort was much needed with his counterpart, Clay Matthews, out with an injury.

Through three games, Perry has 3.5 sacks — the same number he had all of last year — and has been a force in the run game as well.

Special Teams: Mason Crosby

The Packers 32-year-old kicker remained perfect on the season, drilling both of his attempts. Despite a swirling wind, Crosby had no problems hitting from 36 and 46 yards. He’s now 4 of 4 this year.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t think anyone gives a you-know-what if the offense is back or not. It’s about winning. And we got a win.”

— Rodgers when asked if a performance like this is good enough to say the offense is back after the struggles last week against Minnesota

In Case You Missed It

— Four defensive starters missed the game due to injury. Linebacker Clay Matthews, cornerback Sam Shields, safety Morgan Burnett and defensive lineman Letroy Guion.

— Green Bay lost tight end Jared Cook to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Cook was seen on crutches after the game

— Blake Martinez needed to leave the game in the second quarter after stiches from a gash he suffered last week came undone. He was taken to the locker room, where he was stiched up, and then returned to the game.

— Making his first appearance at Lambeau Field since a playoff win in January of 2015, wide receiver Jordy Nelson grabbed six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Inside the Numbers

2 — That’s how many times Aaron Rodgers has thrown four touchdowns in the first half of a game during his career.

103 — That’s how many yards Eddie Lacy ran for on Sunday, the first time he’s been over 100 yards since Dec. 13 last year.

1-2 — That’s Matthew Stafford’s record against the Packers when he throws for at least 300 yards. He had 385 on Sunday.

205 — That’s how many yards wide receiver Marvin Jones had against a banged up Green Bay secondary. He’s the first opposing wide receiver to top the 200-yard mark since Julio Jones had 259 during the 2014 season.

What’s Next

The Packers (2-1) have a bye in Week 3. They’ll return to the field on Oct. 9 against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field.

The Neighborhood: Packers 2015 struggles have carried into 2016

Many were willing to write off the Packers’ week one offensive struggles as a fluke, getting past an improving Jaguars team on the road. Upon closer inspection though, some of the things that plagued Green Bay’s offense in a disappointing 2015 season have carried over to 2016.

The return of receiver Jordy Nelson looked like it would be a cure-all for what ailed Green Bay in 2015, but the numbers for Aaron Rodgers have actually gotten worse. His completion percentage went from 60.7 to 57.1 and the yardage per game has dropped from 218.9 to 189.5. While not significant differences, an indication of Rodgers’ inconsistencies can be summed up by his passer rating. Based on a maximum score of 158.3, Rodgers has now gone 14 straight games without eclipsing the 100-point mark, dating to last season. His previous longest streak was four games (three times).

But not all of the offensive woes can be pointed at Rodgers. After management decided to release three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton, the offensive line hasn’t been able to keep Rodgers upright. He’s been sacked six times this season, tied with the Browns for the fourth-most in the NFL. The inability to convert talent on the field into yardage and points is highlighted when comparing against other NFL teams. Green Bay ranks 28th in total yardage and 30th in total passing yardage.

Whether it’s a rift in the locker room or something happening in their personal lives, the Packers can’t seem to get clicking on offense. If they can’t figure out their issues, fans will look back on this era as a waste of great talent. During the Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers era, Green Bay has just two Super Bowl rings to show for it.