In a brutal late-season blow, the Packers are not expected to have their left tackle for their Super Bowl push. David Bakhtiari is believed to have suffered a torn ACL in practice Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Recently given an offensive line-record contract, Bakhtiari has anchored Green Bay’s front for several seasons. He made his third Pro Bowl this year and is a first-team All-Pro candidate.
Pro Football Focus ranks the 29-year-old left tackle as its No. 2 overall tackle this season. He has certainly boosted Aaron Rodgers‘ chances of winning a third MVP award. The favorites to secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the Packers will be hard-pressed to replace the eighth-year standout.
A 2013 fourth-round pick, Bakhtiari did miss time earlier this season. He suffered a chest injury during the Packers’ blowout loss in Tampa. But he returned after a three-game absence. The Colorado alum became an instant starter in Green Bay as a rookie and has never missed more than four games in a season.
Green Bay has deployed a top-tier offensive line this season, with guard Elgton Jenkins joining Bakhtiari as a Pro Bowl honoree and center Corey Linsley rating as PFF’s runaway top center. The Packers lead the NFL in points (474) and rank third in yardage in Matt LaFleur‘s second season. They will face a more difficult road to the Super Bowl as a result of this crushing New Year’s Eve news.