Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Thursday will be pivotal day for Packers' Rodgers, Lacy

The SportsXchange

The Green Bay Packers spent Christmas Day opening presents, while also wondering about what will happen the following day.

No, they're not figuring out which gifts they'll return Thursday. Rather, they should have a clearer picture of the condition and status of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and rookie running back Eddie Lacy for Sunday's biggest game of the season, at Chicago against the Bears.

The winner goes into the playoffs, while the loser will go home and miss the postseason.

A determination on Rodgers, still recovering from a broken collarbone, is expected Thursday whether he'll start Sunday's game, or at the very least, be available to play if needed.

Likewise is the case for Lacy. He has rested his sprained ankle for over a week and is getting closer to being able to play, according to media reports.

One thing is for sure: linebacker Clay Matthews is likely not only out for Sunday's game, but potentially for the playoffs -- if the Packers make it that far. Matthews broke his thumb for the second time this season and will likely be replaced at outside linebacker by a tandem of Mike Neal and Andy Mulumba, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"I'm not Clay Matthews," Neal told the Journal Sentinel. "I've said that before. I'm not trying to fill Clay's shoes; I'm trying to fill Mike Neal's shoes.

"We just have to go out there and get a win. There's no pressure put on me to do what Clay does. Just put pressure on me to go out there and try to get a win."

Neal has been held out of practice at least twice for each of the last several weeks just to let his body recover, the product of being in the game for nearly 700 snaps thus far this season. But with his week's holiday schedule -- the Packers had Monday and Wednesday off -- he'll likely practice Thursday and perhaps Friday.

"I have to be able to go out and contribute, just step up and perform," Neal told the JS, adding that he suffered a stinger in this past Sunday's game against the Steelers, but will not be hampered by it against the Bears. "Clay's not a vocal leader. You don't have to be a vocal leader to go out there and perform."

The Packers thought their season was over after the loss to the Steelers, but with the Eagles routing the Bears, Green Bay has a second-chance to make the post-season this Sunday in Chicago.

"We were a little down, but once Chicago lost, we were playing for the championship," Packers receiver James Jones told the JS. "Confidence is sky high. With all we've been through during the season, it's one game. That's all that matters."

Matthews came back from the first thumb break to make seven consecutive starts, but the new injury is serious enough that his season is over, even if the Packers make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Matthews' departure only compounds another problem for Green Bay's defense with Nick Perry still hampered by a foot injury.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (17)