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Packers-Patriots Predictions: One or two series at most for many Packers veterans

We look at which Packers will probably take a seat early on in tonight's game.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We'll start this by saying that trying to predict the final score of a preseason game is an exercise in futility. Still, with the start of real football, it's easy to want to try to make predictions anyway. We'll try instead to predict how long some of the Packers' starters will play rather than the final score, but you'll have an opportunity to guess today's final score here.

First up is Aaron Rodgers. The reigning NFL MVP has nothing to prove this preseason other than that he is healthy and ready to play, and the team needs to see what they have in their three backup quarterbacks. As such, we are expecting Rodgers to play just a single series before taking a seat.

Other players who will likely play just one series include most of the veterans on offense - specifically Jordy Nelson, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and Bryan Bulaga. Each of those had some type of injury issues in 2014, with Nelson's hip surgery, Sitton and Lang's nagging issues last year, and Bulaga's MCL issue early in the season. We think Mike McCarthy and company will keep their workloads to a minimum tonight.

As for the defense, don't expect Julius Peppers to play much beyond the first series or two. The same probably goes for Clay Matthews, if he plays at all. While players at every other level of the defense still have things to prove, those two are as sure things as they come. Peppers needed more snaps last year to adjust to game speed while playing outside linebacker for the first time, but now maintaining his health is more critical than getting him extra snaps.

B.J. Raji will be another interesting player to watch. We could see his playing time going one of two ways - either he plays much of the first half in an effort to get him his first game action in nearly a year, or he sits down after a series or two in an effort not to push him too hard too early in the preseason.

Make your predictions on the final score of tonight's game below, and we'll see how we stack up with the folks over at Pats Pulpit.