Preview: Packers at Browns
The Green Bay Packers are one week away from the potential return of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and are trying to ensure he has a playoff race to rejoin. The Packers will try to keep their dwindling postseason hopes alive when they visit the winless Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Rodgers (broken collarbone) returned to practice last weekend and is eligible to come off injured reserve at Carolina on Dec. 17.
“I think we know when (Rodgers) comes back we know what he brings to the table,” Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews told reporters. “In the meantime, there’s no point in getting too excited over his hopeful return, because (backup Brett Hundley is) our guy. We’ve got these four more games, and I assume one more game with Brett at the helm. We’ve got to get this win first, but hopefully that’s the plan moving forward.”
The Packers enter the weekend ninth in the NFC with four games left while the Browns are just trying to avoid becoming the second NFL team to go winless in a 16-game season. Cleveland is dealing with its own issues at quarterback as rookie DeShone Kizer goes through some growing pains and ranks last in the NFL in scoring at an average of 14.7 points.
TV: noon, FOX.
RADIO: WDSM 710 AM.
LINE: Packers -3. O/U: 40.5
About the Packers (6-6)
While Rodgers is guiding the scout team at practice, Hundley remains the team’s starter for now, and he is trying to remain with that mindset.
“I’ve got to approach it like I’m the starter each and every week,” Hundley told reporters. “Even when I was the backup, every week, I try to approach it like I’m the starter because as we saw (when Rodgers got hurt against the) Vikings, you never know what’s going to happen. Whatever happens, happens. I just have to approach it and be ready for if my number’s called upon.”
Hundley played his best game (245 yards and three TDs) in a loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 26 but struggled against Tampa Bay last week, managing 84 yards passing.
About the Browns (0-12)
The most exciting thing to happen for Cleveland this season and potentially the best thing for Kizer was the return last week of wide receiver Josh Gordon, who had been out since 2014 while dealing with substance abuse issues. Gordon hauled in four catches for 85 yards in his season debut, and the potential for more was there as he had little trouble getting open.
“We got a lot more work to do,” Gordon told reporters. “I’m just trying to go out there and make sure I do my job to the best of my ability, try to execute and make sure we have a lot of fun doing it.”
1. Packers CB Kevin King (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve and will undergo surgery.
2. Cleveland fired general manager Sashi Brown (1-27 in two seasons) on Thursday.
3. Green Bay CBs Demetri Goodson (hamstring) and Davon House (shoulder) both sat out practice on Thursday and are questionable.
PREDICTION: Packers 24, Browns 17.