Notebook: Break Provides Reward

The Packers got a four-day getaway as a reward for a grueling 12 days; Charles Woodson is named NFC Defensive Player of the Week; talking playoffs; plus more news from Tuesday.

Three games in 12 days was a pain. Literally.

A four-day vacation between Thursday's win at Detroit and Tuesday's low-key practice, with an additional day off on Wednesday? Priceless.

"It's always nice to heal little nicks and things like that, stuff that won't always make the injury report but it's the things that bother you," said defensive end Cullen Jenkins, who's been battling a sprained ankle.

Thus, the Packers enter the stretch run to their season relatively fresh. The final five games of the regular season begins Monday night against Baltimore. Nick Barnett called it the "start of the fourth quarter" of the season.

"Yeah, I felt like it definitely was a bye," Barnett said. "Anytime you can get removed from the sport, not that you want to be totally removed, but you get a little break and you come back with a fresh eye and a fresh everything.

"t was hard playing two games in however many days that was. But we've had some good rest time and now we're going back to work, grinding it out, going hard."

The Woodson Award

Maybe the NFL should just name its NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award in honor of Charles Woodson.

For the second time in three weeks, Woodson earned the award. A couple weeks after posting one interception and two forced fumbles against Dallas, Woodson intercepted two passes — one of which he returned for a touchdown — and forced and recovered a fumble at Detroit.

Mix in a sack, and Woodson is the first player since the NFL began keeping track of sacks in 1982 to record all of that in one game.

Woodson was voted the NFC's top defensive player in September. Considering he won the weekly honor twice in November, he's a logical pick to win it again.

Playoff tracker

The Packers officially control their playoff destiny.

Green Bay and Philadelphia are 7-4 and atop the NFC wild-card standings. Keep winning, and the Giants and Falcons (both 6-5) can't leap in front of the Packers.

Officially, the Eagles own the tiebreaker and would be the fifth seed, meaning Green Bay would visit Dallas. After head-to-head, which doesn't apply between these teams, the first tiebreaker is conference record, and both teams are 4-2.

Next is record against common opponents, which must include at least four games. As of today, that doesn't apply, but it will by season's end. The Eagles are 2-1 against Tampa Bay, Dallas and Chicago. The Packers also are 2-1 against those teams. Philadelphia has San Francisco and Dallas remaining as common opponents. Green Bay has one more game with Chicago.

Four-point stance

Aaron Rodgers joins Drew Brees and Vince Young as the nominees for the NFL's FedEx Air Player of the Week. Click here to vote.

— The Packers filled their practice squad by signing tight end Tom Crabtree, an undrafted rookie from Miami (Ohio) who spent training camp with Kansas City. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Crabtree caught 10 passes for 64 yards as a senior. He'll wear No. 83.

— Speaking of the roster, the Packers still have not put Aaron Kampman on injured reserve. Thus, that roster spot officially is not open.

— There was no official injury report, but Charles Woodson (hip) and Ryan Grant (unknown) were the only players not to participate. Chad Clifton (hamstring) took part in only the jog-through.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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