Rodgers, despite No. 1 seed, to play vs. Lions

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Do not tell Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur that Sunday’s regular season finale in the Detroit Lions is a pointless match, even though his team finished No. 1 in the NFC playoffs last week.

His decision to play quarterback Aaron Rodgers confirms that.

While it is not certain that Rodgers will play the entire game, LaFleur said Friday that he sees no reason why his plan to start the 38-year-old quarterback would change before kickoff at. 13:00 ET.

“I don’t think he necessarily needs to play,” LaFleur said Friday. “I think he’s proven that over the course of the season compared to the lack of training he’s had and still goes out there and plays at an MVP level, so I do not think he necessarily needs to play. I think He wants to play. I think he wants to keep the momentum going. “

Rodgers trained twice this week – the first time he has worked more than one day in a training week since breaking his left pinkie toe in early November.

“Of course, there is a risk every time you step onto the pitch, whether it is a playing field or a training ground, in everything you do,” LaFleur said. “So we just want to make sure we’re smart, but … I can ‘t think of anything that would take him off the field right now unless he came to me with some concerns.”

Rodgers could also be in line to earn $ 100,000 in contract incentives in each of five categories by finishing in the top three of the league. It includes touchdown passes (he is right in third place with 35) and completion rates (fourth at 68.6%). He ranks first in the league in pass rating and eavesdropping percentage.

The Packers will have a farewell next week, and will then host an NFC Division playoff game on January 22 or 23. LaFleur said several times over the past week that he felt he was sitting key, healthy players in the final would mean too much time away from match action.

“It’s important to keep the momentum going,” LaFleur said. “Every time we step on the field, whether it’s a preseason match or in your eyes a meaningless match, our boys go out there with the mentality that we want to win and we want to do everything that stands out. in our power to win and we will compete at the highest level. “

Rodgers has been saying all week that he wants to play.

“It’s more just keeping momentum going and the desire to be out there with the guys competing,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “I know there are potential players who could return this week – I do not know what their status will be – but it’s definitely exciting. If guys are healthy, guys want to play. There’s a risk, every time you take the pitch There’s obviously the idea of ​​rust compared to momentum, but yeah, I want to be out there and be with my guys. I’m assuming that’s still the plan. “

The players who could return include a couple of offensive line players: twice All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and center Josh Myers.

Bakhtiari has not played in more than a year and if he is to be available for the playoffs, the Packers will prefer to get him some work on Sunday. He tore the ACL in his left knee on December 31, 2020. He practiced twice this week, including as a full participant on Friday.

“Here’s a guy who hasn’t played in over a year,” LaFleur said. “Would we love to see him out there? Absolutely. But I want to be sure, and we want first and foremost to make sure he’s in the right mindset, but also that he can protect himself and he’s fully functional. He “comes from a major injury. We just want to make sure everything is 100% or as close to 100% as it can be before we put him out there.”

Myers has not played since suffering a knee injury in Week 6 and subsequently underwent surgery.

Recipient Randall Cobb, who underwent a core muscle operation in late November, will not return Sunday to “give him two more weeks to strengthen it and let him go in the playoffs,” LaFleur said.

Cornerback Jaire Alexander, who has not played since Week 4 due to a shoulder injury, returned from the COVID-19 list on Friday but will not get his match back on Sunday because, said LaFleur, “I only have one day in this week, do not want to put him out there. “

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