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Cheese Curds, 1/12: Packers’ defense will have a long day if Jaire Alexander can’t play

A freak injury in practice on Wednesday has the Packers’ top cornerback questionable for Sunday’s playoff game at Dallas.

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Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers already have a major weakness that the Dallas Cowboys can exploit. With the team already struggling to defend the pass — particularly against receivers who line up in the slot or run routes over the middle of the field — the last thing they could afford in a matchup with CeeDee Lamb is to have their top cornerback miss Sunday’s game.

Unfortunately, that scenario may well become a reality on Sunday after Jaire Alexander had to sit out Thursday’s practice. He was held out after rolling his ankle on Wednesday during the team’s jog-through practice, an injury that resulted from him accidentally stepping on a teammate.

Friday’s injury report will be important to judge Alexander’s status, but the defensive coaching staff now needs to make some quick adjustments to their game plan in case the All-Pro can’t play on Sunday. Either way, Lamb and the Cowboys’ passing game was going to be a difficult matchup for the Green Bay defense, but that matchup may now be even tougher than originally thought.

In either case, the Packers will need their pass rush to step up and pressure Dak Prescott with regularity to help out the secondary. Devonte Wyatt has done a good job throughout this season of affecting the quarterback, and a big game from him on Sunday would go a long way. Take a look at Wyatt’s numbers and Alexander’s situation as it stands as of Friday morning in today’s curds.

Packers CB Jaire Alexander rolls ankle in jog-through practice - ESPN
Alexander's injury appears to have been a "freak deal," as Matt LaFleur called it, and now his status for Sunday's game is very much in question.

Packers defensive gameplan in flux with Jaire Alexander’s status up in the air | Packers Wire
The good news is that if Alexander does miss a game, his replacement is Corey Ballentine, who has played nearly 500 snaps on defense this year. The bad news is that Ballentine is certainly not the same caliber of player as a healthy (or even a mostly-healthy) Alexander.

Packers DL Devonte Wyatt ‘grinds and works and it’s paid off for him’ | Packers.com
Joe Barry complimented Wyatt on his second season, and the numbers show that he was an extremely effective interior pass-rusher:

‘I’m still Aaron Jones’: Packers RB sparks playoff berth to cap his most trying season - The Athletic ($)
All it really took for Jones to get back to his game-changing ways was to be fully healthy. But his late-season surge is amazing, considering that just about everyone thought he had torn his ACL against the Chargers in week 11.

‘Reliable’ Packers WR Romeo Doubs ‘Can’t Wait for Sunday’ - Sports Illustrated
It sounds like Doubs thinks he will be full-go on Sunday after suffering a strange injury last week, but that is ultimately up to the coaching staff.

Patriots hiring Jerod Mayo to replace Bill Belichick as new head coach | NFL.com
The first hire of this year's cycle is also the fastest, with the Patriots turning the keys over to the 37-year-old Mayo just one day after parting ways with Bill Belichick.