Look at Friday's injury report. The Green Bay Packers have 13 players on the injury list – it would have been 14 but they elected to make rookie offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse the 15th player on their bursting-at-the-seams injured reserve list. Plus, the Packers have ruled four players out for Sunday's game against the Bears – including standout defensive end Cullen Jenkins.
Meanwhile, the Bears have just one player on their injured list, possession receiver Earl Bennett. On injured reserve are just three players – none of whom are starters.
The big news from Friday is that the Packers have ruled out Jenkins for a fourth consecutive week with a calf strain that hasn't responded as well as hoped during rehab and testing. Jenkins finishes the regular season with seven sacks in just 11 games. Still, the defense has been fine without him with 64 points allowed in those four games (subtracting the interception return for a touchdown in the New England game but including lineman Dan Connolly's kickoff return to the Packers' 4-yard line).
"I think they've been very consistent," coach Mike McCarthy said of the rotation of big Howard Green playing the majority of snaps in the base defense and C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn playing mostly in nickel. "We haven't been playing a whole lot of our base, a lot of our Okie. But when we have, I thought those guys have done a good job. I think B.J. (Raji) has done a good job in the sub packages. I think they've been very consistent with their opportunities."
McCarthy wasn't sure if Jenkins or outside linebacker Frank Zombo, another starter who was ruled out, would be available for a potential playoff game next weekend. "They've been rehabbing, working their tails off to try to get back," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "We'll just wait and see. Hopefully, we have that opportunity."
Packers injury report
Out: S Atari Bigby (groin), FB Korey Hall (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Frank Zombo (knee). Probable: LB Diyral Briggs (ankle), T Chad Clifton (knees), S Nick Collins (ribs), LB Clay Matthews (shin), DE Ryan Pickett (ankle), CB Sam Shields (knee), LB Erik Walden (quad), C Scott Wells (back), CB Charles Woodson (toe).
Shields has bounced back from a knee that became sore during an early-week workout. He was a full participant at practice and, barring a setback, should be set to be the third cornerback and kickoff returner, as usual.
Bears injury report
Questionable: WR Earl Bennett (ankle).
The Bears took starting linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) off the injury report.
With Newhouse on injured reserve, the Packers brought back Evan Dietrich-Smith, a talented center/guard who made the roster as an undrafted rookie last year but didn't make the final cut this year and was signed by Seattle. He didn't play in any of his four games with the Seahawks and has been out of the league since his release in October.
"Just didn't think he would be able to make it back in time for the postseason," McCarthy said of Newhouse, a sixth-round pick out of TCU who wasn't on the active roster for a game this season. "It's great to have an old face back. I know the guys enjoyed seeing him. He cut his hair, so that was a big hit in the team meeting today. He looks good."
-- If Bears coach Lovie Smith is having second thoughts on playing to win in a game in which there's almost nothing at stake for his club, the Packers are trying to block it out. "It's hard to ever speculate on your opponent's approach, I think," Capers said. "What we've got to do is put our total focus and concentration on us going out and playing our best game. I think that our guys understand the magnitude and the importance of it. This is a game that where if you aren't totally tuned in and focused on what you have to do, you can stub your toe in a hurry. I think we've had a good week of practice. I think our meetings have been good. I think our guys understand that … We were in a playoff mode last week, we're in a playoff mode this week."
-- The Packers are fifth in the NFC pecking order according to Bodog.com. The Falcons are a 2-1 favorite to win the conference, followed by the Eagles (15-4), Saints (9-2), Bears (5-1) and Packers (11-2).
-- Sunday's game will be the 181st meeting between these rivals. This is a playoff game for the Packers, but officially, the rivals have met only once in the postseason. That was in 1941 at Wrigley Field, with Chicago winning 33-14.
-- The Packers need a big game from punter Tim Masthay. With a net average of 37.8 for the season, he's poised to boast the Packers' best figure since they started keeping that stat in 1976. Jon Ryan has the best mark, 37.6 in 2007.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.