There will be no drama on Thanksgiving in Detroit.
Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out and Matt Flynn will start at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
“He’s ready to go,” coach Mike McCarthy said of Flynn after Wednesday’s practice.
By getting the starter’s reps during the two abbreviated practices this week, it helped him build rapport with his receiving corps. Flynn played with Jordy Nelson and James Jones during his first tour of duty in Green Bay, so there was some familiarity, but the offense has evolved since Flynn last played with the Packers in 2011. After the Minnesota game, Flynn lamented the missed third-and-goal pass to Nelson in overtime, saying he “wasn’t exactly sure what angle” Nelson was going to take after making his break.
That play was the exception, however, as Flynn rallied the Packers from a 16-point deficit.
“I'm not really worried about it,” Flynn said of that chemistry on Tuesday. “There were some guys I threw passes to Sunday I hadn't even thrown a pass to before, and I'm not worried. They're smooth, a lot of smooth route runners, so there's not a lot adjustments, really that I have to do. I don't have to go out there and see them run a route, you know, 10, 20 times. They're good, smooth route runners, and it kind of makes it easier for me.”
Three starters who missed Sunday’s game against Minnesota should be back for this must-win game.
“Really, the guys who have come back – Nick Perry, Sam Shields and Don Barclay – as far as the amount of work that we were able to get down the past two days on the field, it has been in limited fashion as far as the workload,” McCarthy said. “I’m encouraged. I trust that they feel good and they’re ready to go. Hopefully nothing changes between and tomorrow.”
Packers injury report
Out: QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), RB Johnathan Franklin (concussion/neck), LB Jamari Lattimore (quad), DL C.J. Wilson (ankle). Questionable: TE Brandon Bostick (concussion). Probable: T Don Barclay (knee), DL Johnny Jolly (groin), OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), T Marshall Newhouse (shoulder), LB Nick Perry (foot/ankle), CB Sam Shields (full), G Josh Sitton (back).
Lions injury report
Doubtful: CB Chris Houston (foot). Probable: S Louis Delmas (knee), DE Israel Idonije (knee), WR Calvin Johnson (knee), S Glover Quin (ankle).
Houston is the Lions’ top cornerback and would be a key loss if he doesn’t play.
-- McCarthy, on the challenges of getting ready for a Thursday game: “We got a full game plan in. Everybody plays in this game. Obviously, Detroit plays in it every year. You have a practice format that you either stick to or adjust. We pretty much have been playing in the game every other year. We had to adjust some things, obviously, coming out of the Minnesota game Sunday just because of the overtime. But game-planning-wise, the second time around playing Detroit, I think a lot of those things help. You get your plan together as a staff. We started Thursday night and met some Friday and put some things together Saturday and then finalized them Sunday after our game. We feel like we’re ready to go.”
-- Speaking on Milwaukee sports-talk station WSSP on Tuesday, Sitton called the Lions’ defensive line “dirtbags” and “scumbags” when asked if they would have tried to injure Rodgers. When the teams met the first time, their linemen twice stuck out a foot to try to trip Rodgers, and Ndamukong Suh infamously stomped on Evan Dietrich-Smith in 2010. “They definitely don’t reflect how we go about our business here,” McCarthy said of Sitton’s comments. “It was discussed with the football team.”
-- Clay Matthews isn’t even on the injury report but that doesn’t mean his broken thumb is fully healed: “The thumb’s coming along. It’ll probably be a very similar cast,” he said on Tuesday. “Obviously, you can’t get much smaller until you switch over to a brace, and it’s not ready for that. So, it continues to have its limitations, but ultimately I think it’s enough to still play at a good level.”
-- The Packers are 40/1 to win the Super Bowl, down from 33/1 last week, according to online bookmaker Bovada. Detroit, at 10/11, is the pick in the NFC North, followed by Green Bay 9/4 and Chicago 5/2.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.