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by - 12/19/2010 12:07 PM Share

The Green Bay Packers are fighting for their shot at the NFL playoffs, but traveling to 11-2 New England, possibly without their star quarterback, is not what the team nor their fans were hoping for. Green Bay is 8-5 and could be playing without quarterback Aaron Rodgers who suffered his second concussion of the season last week. In Wednesday's press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy wasn't quiet positive about Rodgers chances to play, but a final decision won't be made until Saturday. In the meantime, Rodgers will undergo concussion testing and Matt Flynn will run the first-team offense.

Flynn is in his third NFL season after a successful college career at LSU. Before filling up for Rodgers in the second quarter in last week's loss at Detroit, he had only thrown three passes all year. Flynn had his moments against the Lions, but he finished a mediocre 15-of -26 (58%) for 177 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. For his career, Flynn has a 51.5 quarterback rating. He is 25-for-46 (54%) for 246 yards, 0 TD and 2 INT. Not only is Rodgers one of the top quarterback in the league, but the Packers have virtually no running game to compensate for Rodgers' potential absence. They rank 24th in the league with 98.8 rushing YPG, including just four 100-yard games. Brandon Jackson is Green Bay's leading rusher, but he has gained 70 yards on the ground just once this season. Over the past four weeks, he has only carried the ball 35 times for 86 yards (2.5 YPC) with no touchdowns.

For the Packers to be successful in this NFL football game, the defense has to shine. Green Bay ranks third in the NFL in pass defense (197 YPG), tied for third in interceptions (18) and fifth in sacks (37). But the Packers have not faced an offense as potent as New England's this 2010 football season.

Tom Brady has been red-hot in his past eight NFL games, throwing for 274 YPG, 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Since losing to Cleveland in Week 9, the Patriots are 5-0 and outscoring their opponents by an average score of 39 to 18. New England has rushed for over 100 yards in each of these five wins and has not committed a single turnover. The defense has forced 13 turnovers during the win streak, and is holding its opponents to 95 rushing YPG. The Bears only gained 185 total yards last week in the Pats' 36-7 blowout win in Chicago.

Although the New England Patriots won the last meeting 35-0 in 2006, Green Bay won its past two trips to Foxboro, both by identical 28-10 scores (1997 and 2002). However, with the way the Patriots have played lately, plus the uncertainty of Rodgers health, the odds are against the Packers. This trend expects New England to win its sixth straight contest on Sunday night.

Play Against - Road teams (GREEN BAY) - after covering the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6 games, good team, winning 60-75% or more of their games on the season. (285-190 since 1983.) (60%, +76 units. Rating = 2*).

Pick: New England -14

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