That’s the sound of gritting teeth throughout the NFL as what should be one of the best prime-time matchups of the season loses some of its luster.
Green Bay’s star receiver Davante Adams and fellow wideout Allen Lazard tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
So when the 6-1 Packers, winners of six in a row, visit the Cardinals, at 7-0 the league’s only unbeaten team, it might not be the headline event it would have warranted with a full team coming to Arizona.
Somehow, the Packers are 6-0 without Adams in the lineup. Go figure.
“We’re not a better team without him, that’s for sure,” Aaron Rodgers said. “I’d have to look at each of those games, but we’ve just found a way to win those games.”
Can they find a way to win this one against perhaps the most balanced team in the NFL?
“We understand that we’ve got a tough opponent that we’re going up against, and obviously we’d love to be at full power and have everybody out there,” said fellow receiver Randall Cobb, whose role certainly should increase. “His presence will be missed, but it’s important for us to go out and to find a way to win a ballgame.”
Green Bay, ranked fourth in the AP Pro32, is a 6 1-2 point underdog at top-ranked Arizona, according to FanDuel SportsBook. Pro Picks loves everything Rodgers brings to the field, but he’s not bringing two very key playmakers this time.
KNOCKOUT POOL: The Cardinals did what they are supposed to do in routing Houston. The pickings are a bit slimmer for who we have remaining and we’ll go with CINCINNATI.
A technical glitch last week led to no true Upset Special selection.
No. 18 New England (plus 5 1-2) at No. 10 Los Angeles Chargers
The Patriots will make it close, but the Chargers already sense something special is happening.
BEST BET: CHARGERS, 24-20
No. 16 Pittsburgh (plus 3 1-2) at No. 12 Cleveland
Rested Steelers handle their banged-up historic rival.
UPSET SPECIAL: STEELERS, 26-24
No. 28 Miami (plus 13) at No. 7 Buffalo
Another rested team ready to beat a longtime rival.
No. 25 Philadelphia (minus 3) at No. 31 Detroit
Time for the Lions to break through with their first victory.
No. 4 Dallas (minus 2) at No. 15 Minnesota
Both of these squads are rested after byes. Dallas simply is more talented.
No. 6 Tennessee (minus 1) at No. 17 Indianapolis
Sunday’s best matchup and another chance for the Titans to look elite.
No. 2 Tampa Bay (minus 5) at No. 13 New Orleans
Tom Brady and the Bucs are on quite a roll. It continues in the Big Easy.
No. 3 Los Angeles Rams (minus 14 1-2) at No. 32 Houston
Mismatch No. 1 this weekend. a big spread to cover, but …
No. 8 Cincinnati (minus 10 1-2) at No. 32 New York Jets
Mismatch No. 2 in Week 8. Bengals could be in line for a letdown, which won’t matter much.
No. 27 New York Giants (plus 10) at No. 14 Kansas City, Monday night
Mismatch No. 3. Or maybe not given KC’s issues. One more try with the Chiefs.
No. 21 San Francisco (minus 3 1-2) at No. 20 Chicago
Hard to defend the Niners as road favorites right now.
No. 29 Jacksonville (plus 3 1-2) at No. 22 (tie) Seattle
Where are things scarier for Halloween, Jacksonville or Seattle?
No. 24 Carolina (plus 2 1-2) at No. 19 Atlanta
Atlanta is looking pretty smart for drafting Kyle Pitts and keeping Matt Ryan.
No. 26 Washington (plus 3) at No. 22 (tie) Denver
Once Denver began facing decent opponents, the losses came.
Last Week: Straight up: 9-4. Against spread: 8-4.
Season: Straight up: 69-38. Against spread: 58-45-2.
Best Bet: Straight up: 5-2. Against spread: 5-2.
Upset Special: Straight up: 6-0. Against spread: 6-0.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.