If the Green Bay Packers are going to upset the NFC top-seeded Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday afternoon in the divisional round, they will have to do it without No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson. Will that affect the spread?
Jordy Nelson left last week's win over the Giants early after taking a huge hit, and he reportedly broke a couple of ribs. If you have ever broken any ribs, you know that playing football is totally out of the question. It's hard to simply sit up, much less go get hit by an NFL cornerback. The Packers had been saying early this week that they hoped Nelson could practice by Saturday and perhaps play Sunday, but that was all a mirage. Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that the team doctors would not medically clear the ninth-year wide receiver to practice. Now the question is whether Nelson can play next week should Green Bay win.
As scorching hot as Aaron Rodgers has been in Green Bay's seven-game winning streak, this will hurt. Rodgers' passer rating is 15 points higher in games which Nelson plays since 2014. His completion percentage is five points better and his yards per game average is 37.7 yards higher. Nelson led the NFL with 14 TD catches during the regular season. He had 97 grabs overall for 1,257 yards. Nelson was limited to one catch for 13 yards last week. In the Packers' 30-16 home loss to Dallas on Oct. 16, Nelson had five catches for 68 yards.
So now Randall Cobb and Davante Adams will really have to step up, with rookie Geronimo Allison also getting more playing time. Cobb had a season-best 116 receiving yards along with three touchdowns in the win over the Giants. Adams caught eight passes for 125 yards and a TD. The Packers opened as 4-point NFL betting underdogs in Dallas but are now +5 at some of SBR Forum's top sportsbooks.
On Bovada's NFL odds, Adams is +800 to lead all receivers in yardage in the four divisional round games. Cobb is +1200. The betting favorite is Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown at +300 followed by Atlanta's Julio Jones at +350. Makes sense considering they are the NFL's two best receivers. I would recommend Jones only because weather will be a factor for Brown's Steelers in Kansas City.