Despite many of their top players not seeing much action this season, the Packers secured the NFC’s No. 1 seed for a second straight year. Green Bay’s injured players have additional time to prepare for the playoffs, thanks to the first-round bye, and some are rounding into form.
David Bakhtiari has not played since suffering an ACL tear during practice on New Year’s Eve 2020. However, the All-Pro left tackle practiced fully for the first time this season Friday. He is questionable for Sunday’s game in Detroit. Matt LaFleur said the ninth-year veteran blocker looked “really good” in practice this week, and although the third-year HC will not commit to playing him Sunday, a return for the Packers’ first playoff game should now be expected (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky).
Out since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 4, Jaire Alexander is ramping up after being activated from IR recently. LaFleur said the Pro Bowl cornerback will not play in Week 18. Alexander returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, and the lack of practice time this week led to LaFleur’s decision to keep him on ice another week. Signs point to Alexander returning for Green Bay’s first playoff game.
Center Josh Myers will return against the Lions, LaFleur said. The Packers officially activated Myers from IR, and he has no injury designation going into Sunday’s game. The second-round rookie has been out since suffering a knee injury on the first drive of the Packers’ Week 6 game.
Lucas Patrick has taken over at center and is in line to keep that first-string gig this week, but LaFleur is not ruling out Myers returning as a starter in the playoffs, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. A scenario in which both are in the team’s starting lineup will almost certainly be in play.
Although the team designated Randall Cobb for return last week, the veteran slot receiver will not come back against the Lions. This adds up, with Cobb’s core injury requiring several weeks’ worth of rehab. Cobb is tracking toward a playoff return, Demovsky tweets. Regarding Aaron Rodgers‘ status for the Detroit rematch, he will start. LaFleur did not necessarily plan to start the MVP favorite, indicating he does not believe Rodgers needs to play Sunday. But the QB prefers to start, Silverstein tweets.