Against the Lions, the Packers’ starting wide receiver was knocked out.

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Against the Lions, the Packers’ starting wide receiver was knocked out.

The Green Bay Packers knew a loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 18 would be meaningless.

However, the loss the Pack suffered during the game was anything but.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS), the team’s starting wide receiver, was only targeted once in the first half on Sunday, but it was enough to knock him out of the game and send him to the locker room with a back injury.

As the game continued on Sunday, the severity of the problem was not immediately clear, though MVS was initially listed as questionable to return before being ruled out for the day.

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The outcome of the injury could have major ramifications for the Packers’ playoff chances, raising questions about why it was allowed to happen in the first place.

Green Bay’s game against Detroit on January 9 was a meaningless regular-season matchup with no chance of affecting the team’s postseason hopes unless a key player went down with an injury, which unfortunately happened.

When it comes to a team playing its starters in a meaningless game after it has already qualified for the playoffs and locked in its seeding position, there are basically two schools of thought.

The first is that there is no reason to risk injuring any important players.

Coaches should be grateful for what they have, use the game as a de facto second bye week, and safeguard their team’s Super Bowl chances.

The second strategy, which the Packers used, is to play most of the starters at least some of the time.

Theoretically, doing so keeps those players sharp, provides continuity by maintaining their established routines, and maintains a competitive edge for the year’s biggest games, which are still to come.

Before taking the field in Detroit, Green Bay had already clinched the top seed in the NFC and a bye through Wildcard Weekend.

They would have clinched the No. 1 spot if they had clinched the No.

No. 2

Instead of a 3 seed, perhaps none of the starters will play.

However, head coach Matt LaFleur’s decision to start quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams, and the aforementioned MVS for the first half against the Lions may have been influenced by the fact that sitting the starters would have meant two weeks between games.

During the majority of…

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