The Green Bay Packers received some delicate news overnight. Turns out the Atlanta Falcons have placed six starting players under the “questionable” category ahead of this Saturday’s game in the Georgia Dome.
Needless to say, luck has finally started to swing Mike McCarthy’s way.
This sudden turn of events was never expected from a Packer standpoint, though. Although the Falcons offense featured a few bumps and bruises here and there, nothing of a drastic nature seemed foreseeable with less than 24 hours until game time.
That is until defensive end John Abraham’s injury created a stir.
As far as head coach Mike Smith is concerned, this sudden injury bug couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. The Green Bay Packers are red hot following a win against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, a victory that saw McCarthy’s team take control over a battered and bruised Andy Reid offensive line.
Dejavu is now on the cards this Saturday evening.
Then again, amongst the Falcons other injury problem remains a huge concern. Losing Abraham is strenuous enough on Brian VanGorder’s defense, but seeing as though tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), safety Thomas DeCloud (ankle) and linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee) are out, who knows what shape the Falcons will be in.
Making matters worse, the Falcons also see a mid-strength Roddy White limp into Atlanta’s first playoff game this postseason. According to sources, White is struggling with a knee injury, making the job of cornerback Tramon Williams or Charles Woodson all that much easier this weekend.
However, all of this isn’t to say the Falcons will be minus any of their players.
After being tested by team doctors, all six of Atlanta’s questionable starters practiced on Friday, making it plainly obvious that Green Bay will take on a next to full strength Falcons team at the Georgia Dome.
What are the Packers injury concerns?
The pesky issue of Atari Bigby still looms, as Green Bay yet again see their safety listed as questionable whilst nursing a groin injury. 2010 has been a year to forget for Bigby, after playing in just eight games and accumulating a measly six tackles.
Fortunately, Green Bay can count their blessings that Bigby’s issue is the only real concern this weekend. Other than a very minor defensive setback, the Packers will also potentially be without fullback Korey Hall due to a knee injury – not that this matters thanks to the John Kuhn factor.
Lastly, linebacker Frank Zombo is also an uncertainty after sustaining a knee injury, that looks likely to sideline him against Atlanta.
Last minute notables include the mildly forgotten injuries that go hand in hand with an extended season. Wide receiver Donald Driver’s knee will again be questioned after seen grimacing on the sidelines last week, as well as cornerback Charles Woodson’s sore toe.
Are these legitimate concerns for either team?
Of course not.
At the same time, Green Bay’s clash with Atlanta is expected to be physical. And after the defensive battle that was seen back in Week 12, the last thing either of these teams need is a shortened roster midway through the game.
The Packers will also closely monitor rookie offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (shoulder), Chad Clifton (knee), Clay Matthews (shin), Cullen Jenkins (calf) and Ryan Pickett (ankle).
No major injuries to report, and every player mentioned is probable to play on Saturday.
This is a clash that is extremely likely to send the winner through to the Super Bowl. Green Bay has taken upon the role as underdogs, but judging by the spread, there really is nothing between these two teams right now.
Ryan Cook is an Australian author for Acme Packing Company, and a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also a guest writer on PackerChatters, and a contributing writer to Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Sports Haze.