Through a year and a half of playing football in a global pandemic, the Green Bay Packers did very well in keeping COVID-19 out of their facilities.
Three days before possibly the biggest game of their season, COVID-19 finally arrived at 1265 Lombardi Avenue at the worst possible time.
When the news broke Monday that not only did defensive coordinator Joe Barry test positive but so did wide receiver Davante Adams, the game against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night took on a much different feel.
In a game that could very well determine the lone bye in the NFC, how will the Packers adapt without their defensive play caller and without their best receiver? It is not clear who will be calling plays for the defense (my bet is on secondary coach Jerry Gray) but regardless it is not an ideal situation.
In terms of losing Adams, things may not be as bleak as they appear. Of course they want the best receiver in the game on the field, but the Packers are 6-0 without Adams under Matt LaFleur. Adams’ absence forces Aaron Rodgers to spread the ball around and those six wins have produced big games by Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, and also Aaron Jones catching passes out the backfield.
Las Vegas clearly doesn’t like Green Bay without Adams as the line went from 3.5 to +6, a 2.5 point shift after the news broke about Adams. His absence would make a tough task even tougher.
Just don’t tell LaFleur and Rodgers the odds. They can easily navigate the Packers through the desert like Han Solo navigated the Millennium Falcon through the asteroid field.
There is still a chance Adams and Barry could be available Thursday but they have to test negative twice over a two-day period. False positives are very rare in COVID testing but yes, I am telling you there is still a chance.
How about some good news? LaFleur left open the possibility Green Bay could get Marquez Valdes-Scantling back for Thursday night saying “There’s hope for that.” This would be huge with the likely absence of Adams.
Even if the Packers hit a speed bump against Arizona, they will still be in complete control of the division thanks to the other three teams being either inconsistent or just plain bad.
Rodgers had arguably his best game of the season so far and he will have to have another good one against the Cardinals.
I would argue many of the (foolish?) shirtless Packers fans during December and January games at Lambeau Field are just as legitimate holders of this record as this man.