Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season is slated to open with a clash of NFC titans, as the Green Bay Packers take on the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday. This was a game most NFL fans were looking forward to, but it will certainly be marred by injuries, as well as a COVID-19 outbreak. The Packers will be down Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander, Za’darius Smith, Preston Smith, David Bahkitari, and Josh Meyers, and on Tuesday, the team announced that veteran receiver Allen Lazard was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, joining Adams, who was placed on the reserve list on Monday.

The NFL requires that vaccinated players who are asymptomatic can return once they return two negative tests taken 24 hours apart. If they are showing symptoms while vaccinated, they need to return two negative tests and show no symptoms for 48 hours. If a player is unvaccinated, they must be isolated for 10 days. This all comes as the Packers were in advanced COVID-19 protocols due to the potential spread of the virus after defensive coordinator Joe Barry tested positive. All team meetings have been virtual and players are wearing masks.

The ramifications for this are massive, if the Packers are down both Lazard and Adams, they’d have to lean on a mixture of aging veterans and unproven youngsters, including Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers and Equanimeous St. Brown. There is a chance wideout Marquez Valdes Scantling comes off IR this week for the game, giving the Packers a major vertical threat. Going on the road against an undefeated Arizona team presented challenge enough, but now Aaron Rodgers must do it without two of his leading receivers, two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen and his best cover corner. An upset would be a remarkable achievement. The banged-up Packers will take on the Cardinals in Arizona at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday night.

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