The Green Bay Packers will be without rookie running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) and versatile veteran offensive back John Kuhn (hamstring) Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to ESPNWisconsin senior writer Jason Wilde. Without Lacy and Kuhn, the Packers have activated only two running backs, James Starks and Johnathan Franklin, against Cincinnati.
In 2011, the Packers only activated two running backs for their Week 15 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The result? An upset-loss at Arrowhead Stadium, and their lone loss in a 15-1 regular season. The weather in Cincinnati (69 degrees, sunny, light breeze) is very favorable conditions to throw the football around on Sunday with All-Pro MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and an extremely talented receiving group along the perimeter.
The Bengals though have one of the better defensive units in all of NFL football and the Packers may have a rough game ahead of them. Expect the pass-happy Green Bay offense to throw the ball early and often throughout Sunday's game and possibly see wide receiver Randall Cobb carrying the football out of the backfield, but the best way to beat a talented defense is to keep them on their heels with a balanced attack.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week Starks would be the "definite starter" against Cincinnati, even if Lacy had been cleared to play. Last week, Starks rushed for a career-high 132 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown in a 38-20 home opening win over the Washington Redskins. Before Starks big day, former Packers running back Brandon Jackson was the last Packers running back to rush for over 100 yards in a regular season game…in 2010.
Franklin, one of three Packers fourth-round selections in April's NFL Draft, graduated from UCLA as the school's all-time leading rusher. Franklin has yet to record one carry or one reception for the Packers through two games. McCarthy said earlier this week he wanted to get Franklin in against the Redskins, but he decided to ride the "hot-handed" Starks.
The Packers other five players inactivated for today's game includes safety Morgan Burnett, cornerback Jarrett Bush, cornerback Casey Hayward, offensive lineman Lane Taylor and defensive tackle Josh Boyd. Kickoff from Cincinnati is at noon CST on FOX. Check your local listings for television coverage.
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