So incase you were unaware, the Green Bay Packers (3-2) haven't had too many lucky breaks in the training room this season.
On Tuesday, the Packers placed dynamic offensive weapon Randall Cobb on the Injured-Reserve (IR) list with a designation to return to game-action in eight weeks (Cobb broke his fibula in a win over the Baltimore Ravens last weekend).
Earlier this week, Green Bay ruled outside linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Nick Perry (foot), inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring), running back James Starks (knee) and tight end Ryan Taylor (knee) out for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns (3-3).
Every NFL team is required to deactivate seven of their 53 players for every game. In Green Bay, the Packers have too many players who could make the list of inactives before kickoff.
In addition to the five players ruled out, wide receiver James Jones (knee), outside linebacker Mike Neal (shoulder), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) and special teams ace Jarrett Bush (hamstring) are all questionable to play Sunday.
Green Bay will likely activate 14 rookies against the Browns and the team could be without up to nine players on Sunday. With or without Hayward and/or Bush, the Packers could manage and operate efficiently in the defensive secondary.
At wide receiver and in the linebacking core though? With Jones and/or Neal, Green Bay is already in poor shape. Without Jones and/or Neal? The situation becomes FUBAR.
Jones sprained his PCL in his knee against the Ravens and the Packers could really use his presence against Cleveland. Without Jones, the Packers would start Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin at wide receiver, but the depth behind both players is very questionable.
The Packers no.3 wide receiver would be rookie Myles White, who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. Their fourth wide receiver? Rookie Chris Harper, who the Packers claimed off of the waiver wire on Friday (that's right…FRIDAY).
Green Bay is already thin at outside linebacker without Perry and Matthews, but losing Neal would be even worse. If Neal can't play on Sunday, the Packers would start rookies Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer at outside linebacker.
For a defense which loves to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, losing Neal could spell absolute doom for Green Bay. If Mulumba or Palmer were to go down with an injury as well, the Packers would be forced to move Jamari Lattimore to outside linebacker.
Lattimore, who is starting at inside linebacker in place of Brad Jones on Sunday, would have to move to the outside and the Packers would have to fill Lattimore's void with rookie Sam Barrington.
Coming into the 2013 season, Lattimore was slated behind Jones and Rob Francois on the depth chart at inside linebacker. Jones though was injured in the same game where Francois suffered a season-ending achilles tear in a week four win over the Detroit Lions.
The Packers could literally be down to their last line of defense on Sunday, and it's only week seven.
Green Bay is in a world of hurt only hours before kickoff. Unfortunately, the 2013 season has been a world of hurt already for the Packers.
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