The Packers go into their Week 16 Christmas night matchup against the Chicago Bears quite banged up, particularly on their offensive line. With the Packers sitting at 13-1, all they have to do is clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with one more win, and with two games left on the schedule, both of them in Lambeau, this goal is quite attainable, especially considering their talented and deep roster.
Considering their current situation, and considering the team that they have, I think that it might be a wise decision for McCarthy to rest starters this week against the Bears.
Even if the Packers were to lose this week, they would still have one more game against the Detroit Lions in Week 17 that they can win to clinch the No. 1 seed, so McCarthy could even consider resting starters this week against the Bears, and then bring them back in Week 17 if they haven't clinched home-field yet.
Here are five reasons that I think the Packers should seriously consider resting their starters this week, even if they haven't clinched the coveted No. 1 seed in the NFC.
As mentioned previously, the Packers could rest their starters this week, and even with a loss, they could still start their players in Week 17 and clinch home-field advantage.
While this sounds like a risky prospect, it could be even riskier to try and wrap up everything this week, when the offensive line is so banged up, and they risk further injury to the line or even the quarterback.
It might be wise to give this offensive line a week to rest, so Aaron Rodgers has his starting guys protecting him going into the home stretch of the season and into the postseason.
The 2010 season proved that this Packers team is a very deep football team, and its backups can step up in times of adversity and take over for any injured or resting players.
If Matt Flynn were to come in at quarterback on Sunday night, he would certainly have a chance to put up some points, especially with the high-powered offense that the Packers have had almost all season long.
The Packers have depth in their roster, especially on offense, as they could still put up numbers with a young quarterback with a lot of potential in Matt Flynn, and a receiving corps that includes young talent in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley, and veteran talent in Donald Driver.
Even if the Packers make somewhat of a risky decision to start Matt Flynn on Christmas, I would still have confidence that he could get it done and pull out a win.
What gives me even more confidence that Matt Flynn and the Packers offense can get it done even if their starters aren't playing is looking at the team they are playing against.
The Chicago Bears are hurting badly on offense, losing their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, their starting running back in Matt Forte, and one of their top receivers in Johnny Knox. Plus, their offensive line has struggled all year, and their third-string quarterback Josh McCown will be under center.
Even if the Packers have the unproven Matt Flynn at quarterback, they can outscore this struggling and beat-up Bears offense, especially since they are playing at home.
The Packers are facing an injury crisis on their offensive line, but the rest of their team isn't much better. Starting receiver Greg Jennings is out with a knee injury, while running back James Starks has not been able to play because of an ankle injury.
On defense, the Packers may be without Desmond Bishop and Ryan Pickett, and some of their veteran players, like A.J. Hawk and Charles Woodson, have gotten beat up, as well.
The Bears are a heated rival and a physical team, so they certainly have the ability to cause more injuries to the Packers. It might be wise for the Packers to at least rest some of these players who may be able to play but are still nursing injuries that could get worse with more playing time.
In this game, Aaron Rodgers will be without many of his reliable offensive linemen, as he will have to deal with the loss of Bryan Bulaga and Chad Clifton, his two starting tackles. Without these two pieces, and with the loss of first round pick Derek Sherrod, Rodgers could be under major pressure on Sunday night, enhancing his risk for injury.
Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, and the rest of the Bears defense will be coming after Aaron Rodgers hard, and they certainly have the ablility to penetrate an inexperienced offensive line and get to the quarterback.
Mike McCarthy and the Packers coaching staff might want to seriously consider giving this banged-up line some time to rest, so they can protect their prized quarterback for the long-term.