OAKLAND — Packers C Corey Linsley, who has been out since the first half of the Detroit game on Dec. 3 with an ankle injury, is back in the lineup for the Packers today at O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
With Linsley’s return, the Packers have their full starting offensive line intact for the first time since the win at Minnesota on Nov. 22. This is just the eighth game out of 13 this season the Packers top five linemen will be in the starting lineup together.
(Update: The Packers actually started JC Tretter at center despite Linsley being active.)
Playoff picture: At the time of this posting, Carolina was leading the New York Giants in the third quarter, 28-7. If the Panthers win, the Packers will clinch a playoff spot. The other game that could get the Packers into the playoffs without needing a win is Buffalo at Washington, but the Redskins were ahead 28-10 in the third quarter. (Update: The Redskins won, 35-25, but the Panthers won, 38-35, so the Packers clinched a playoff spot).
The Packers don’t need any help to make the playoffs if they win today, of course. That will clinch a playoff spot regardless of other results. Minnesota has a big lead over Chicago at the time of this posting, so if the Vikings hold on, the Packers need to win to stay one game ahead of them in the NFC North race. (Update: The Vikings beat the Bears, 38-17).
Regarding the chase for a possible first-round bye and the No. 2 seed, front-runner Arizona plays at Philadelphia later tonight.
Wet again: If there’s one thing the Packers have grown accustomed to this season, it’s wet weather. It’s been drizzling lightly off and on in Oakland most of the day, and more rain is expected during the game. Temperatures are in the 50s.
If that forecast holds, this would be the third rain game in the Packers’ last four contests, having played in the rain on Thanksgiving night vs. Chicago and last week vs. Dallas, both at Lambeau Field.
Players and coaches have talked about all the drills they’ve done with wet footballs in recent weeks, and it’s likely those drills continued this week. The Packers turned the ball over twice against the Bears but had none against the Cowboys.
Long time no visit: The Packers haven’t played in Oakland since 2003, so the only players on the current roster who have played here are WR James Jones, who played for the Raiders last year, and Julius Peppers, who played here once each for the Panthers and Bears.
Green Bay’s last visit here, of course, was the unforgettable Monday Night Football performance by QB Brett Favre the night after his father’s death.
For more on the context of the Packers’ first trip to Oakland in 12 years, check out this week’s “One Last Look.”
TV map: Here’s is today’s TV map for FOX broadcasts, courtesy of 506sports.com:
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