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GREEN BAY PACKERS 13-0 RECORD THREATENED BY INJURY
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 09:54 PM EST

Running back James Starks and linebacker Desmond Bishop will not play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, the team said Friday.

Bishop, the team’s leader in tackles, will miss a 2nd straight game due to a calf injury. Starks, the team’s leading rusher, won’t play after reinjuring an ankle in Green Bay’s 38-35 win over the NY Giants last weekend. Scores

The Packers will also be without right guard Josh Sitton ( knee ) for the second sequential game.

Cornerback Charles Woodson ( concussion ) is likely to play, and Green Bay’s struggling defense also might have linebacker A.J. Hawk ( calf ) back in action. Hawk is listed as questionable for the Raiders game. Las Vegas odds

“I thought A.J. Looked good in practice today,” coach Mike McCarthy announced. “We’ll see how A.J. Feels in the morning. That will determine his standing for the game.”

Rookie D.J. Smith and second-year player Robert Francois started at the 2 inside linebacker positions against the Giants. McCarthy related Smith would get another start with Bishop still out.

“D.J. And Robert have taken all the snaps ( in practice ), this is two weeks consecutively, and we’re prepared to go with those two guys,” McCarthy said. “Having A.J. Up for the game, to me, is a bonus.”

Green Bay’s defense could employ a boost.

The Packers, who can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win Sun., rank 31st in the 32-team league for total yards authorized ( 397.8 per game ) and passing yards permitted ( 292.8 ).

Dom Capers ‘ patchwork unit, which lost Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins to a career-threatening neck injury in the second game of the season, had another coarse outing Sunday. The Giants racked up 447 yards with several huge pass plays and pushed Green Bay to the wire before Aaron Rodgers led a drive in the final minute to line up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal.

“We’re in the month of December, and it’s time for us to choose it up,” Capers announced. “Our offense has played so particularly well, but you can’t just bank on that every week, and we must be in a position to pick up and do our slice of the job if we’ve got a week where we’re not scoring 35, forty points.”


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