We're Black and Blue All Over:
When he was first bent over backwards this past Sunday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was reasonable to think that Green Bay Packers tailback James Starks had suffered a significant leg injury. But tests proved otherwise, and the Packers are going to watch Starks test his sprained knee and sore ankle Tuesday in practice before deciding whether he will play Thursday against the Detroit Lions.
With a short week of practice, Starks doesn't have much time to recover. Veteran Ryan Grant will probably play more than usual Thursday regardless, with rookie Brandon Saine behind him. We could know whether Starks will be available even in a limited capacity by the end of Tuesday.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Packers tight end Jermichael Finley on how to stop Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "You have to do something. Rip his jersey off. Hold him. You have to take a couple penalties against him. You have to eat him up."
The Lions' defensive line dominated the Packers' offensive line in the teams' matchup at Ford Field last year, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga on that performance, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "We did not play well. Didn't do anything well, really. It was just a poorly played game. That may be a nice way of putting it, too. If you go back and watch the game like we just did, you're looking going, 'Gosh, what are we doing there?' That wasn't us. We just did not do anything well. We obviously cleaned it up later on in the season, got hot and went on a run [to the Super Bowl XLV title], but that game, there wasn't much that went right."
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on the loss of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: "As much as losing Cutler for at least the next six weeks should stop Bears fans from wondering if they will drive or fly to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, their team still has no excuse to miss the playoffs. The Bears lost a quarterback, not an identity."
The Bears are moving back to their underdog role, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Bears' pass rush was poor Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, notes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears will sign long-snapper Jake Laptad to replace injured incumbent Patrick Mannelly (knee), according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Getting Cutler back before the end of the season is "a tad optimistic," writes Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com.
The Lions are trying to treat Thursday as just another game, according to Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press examines the status of Lions safety Amari Spievey, who was benched in the second quarter Sunday after missing two tackles.
The Lions have lost their last six Thanksgiving Day games by an average of more than 20 points, notes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams was dominant Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com looks at the tape of the Vikings' loss to the Raiders.
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune writes about the big opportunity facing Vikings backup running back Toby Gerhart.