Packers vs. Chiefs: 5 Players That Should Rest vs. Kansas City
The Packers are 13-0, and the only thing left they have to clinch is home-field advantage. Once that is established, they have two games remaining between the Bears and Lions in which they will likely try to go for an undefeated record.
However, while I think the Packers should go for an undefeated record, there are a few players that perhaps should sit for this game, and perhaps for future games, to rest their wounds so they can get back healthy and ready for the playoffs.
Here's a list of the players that I believe should consider sitting at least for this week to heal their wounds and avoid risking further injury, even if they are ready to go on Sunday.
5. A.J. Hawk
A.J. Hawk is probably the least risky person to bring back on this list. However, he is still nursing a calf injury—an injury that has kept him out two weeks.
A.J. Hawk practiced fully on Wednesday, indicating that he is mostly healthy and will likely play. While playing Hawk wouldn't be a horrible decision, it might not be a bad idea to rest Hawk for one more week until he is firing on all cylinders and can come back at full strength without risking further injury. And Perhaps resting Hawk will give D.J. Smith more opportunities to impress.
4. Desmond Bishop
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Like Hawk, Desmond Bishop is dealing with a calf injury, one that he sustained against the Lions, and hasn't returned from since. However, it appears that he is less likely to play than Hawk, as he was held out of practice on Wednesday.
On Sunday, D.J. Smith will likely take over for Bishop, and Hawk will likely play, which will still make this a solid linebacking corps for Kansas City. I certainly think Desmond Bishop should sit out of this game, especially if A.J Hawk is good enough to play.
3. Ryan Pickett
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Ryan Pickett suffered a concussion in the game against the Oakland Raiders and will likely not be playing. However, even if he is cleared, I still think the veteran should sit out.
Pickett is certainly a big piece to this fairly thin Packers defensive line, but the Packers will likely face a quarterback in either Kyle Orton or Ricky Stanzi on Sunday—two quarterbacks that, even if the offensive line gives them time, will likely be prone to mistakes, especially with a solid Packers secondary led by Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.
In my opinion, they should get this defensive line healthy for when they face offenses that are a lot more high-powered than the Kansas City offense, which has been beaten down by injuries.
2. Josh Sitton
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The Packers would love to see Josh Sitton back, who is possibly their best offensive lineman. However, I think that this offensive line is going to need to be in perfect health for the last two games of the year: when they face a stout Bears defensive line on Christmas Day and when they face another strong D-line on New Year's Day with Ndamukong Suh and the Detroit Lions.
So far, Marshall Newhouse and Evan Dietrich-Smith have played fairly well in Josh Sitton and Chad Clifton's absence, so I think that resting Sitton for one more week would be a wise choice for a team that is going to be facing a lot of pressure to the quarterback in the coming weeks.
1. James Starks
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James Starks was the savior to the Packers' running game last year, and while he hasn't had a great sophomore season, it would be great to have him back in the playoffs this year.
Starks, who has had a history of injuries, has been nursing another one in the past few weeks, forcing Ryan Grant to step up. Against the Raiders last week, Grant played exceptionally well and proved that he still had some left in the tank.
Grant is certainly a solid replacement for Starks while Starks is out with an injury, so it doesn't seem smart to rush Starks back on the field, especially when the Packers' passing game continues to be so effective.