DETROIT — The Packers have called on their offensive line depth previously this season, and that depth will be needed more than ever tonight at Ford Field.
Both starters on the right side, tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) and guard T.J. Lang (shoulder), are out with injuries. They’ll be replaced by tackle Don Barclay and guard Lane Taylor. Barclay started three games earlier this season in place of Bulaga when he was out with a knee injury. He also filled in during the second half of one game for David Bakhtiari at left tackle.
Taylor will be making the first start of his career. A third-year player, his most extensive action in a game came last season at New Orleans, when Lang went down with an injury in the first quarter and Taylor played right guard the rest of the way.
This will be the first start Lang has missed since 2012 and just the second start he’s missed since becoming a regular starter back in 2011. Lang had started 80 of the Packers’ last 81 games (including playoffs).
On the plus side, center Corey Linsley is back in action after missing last Thursday’s game with an ankle injury. That leaves JC Tretter and Josh Walker as the two backup offensive linemen active tonight.
In the NFC North: The Packers must win to assure they’ll be no worse than one game behind the Vikings for first place in the division when the weekend concludes. Minnesota is 8-3 while the Packers are 7-4. The Vikings host the Seahawks on Sunday in a game with significant NFC playoff-picture implications.
Three in a row?: Packers RB Eddie Lacy has rushed for 100 yards in two straight games for the first time in his career. If he’s able to make it three straight, he’ll be the first Packers RB with three 100-yard games in a row since Ahman Green in 2006, Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s first season.
Star rookie: Packers CB Damarious Randall was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November earlier on Thursday. The last Packers rookie to win that monthly award was also a cornerback — Casey Hayward, back in October of 2012. For a recap of Randall’s strong month, click here.
Unfortunately, Randall is inactive tonight with a hamstring injury.
Rarities: The Packers are playing a prime-time game in Detroit for just the third time, and the first time since 1998. The other was in 1972.
With their first win on Wisconsin soil since 1991 back on Nov. 15, the Lions are in position to sweep the Packers in the season series for the first time since then as well. When was the last time any NFC North team swept the Packers in the season series? Check out this week’s “One Last Look.”
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