We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Green Bay Packers are dealing with a new injury to a key player as they prepare for Sunday's critical showdown with the Chicago Bears.
Nickelback Sam Shields couldn't practice Wednesday because of a knee injury that flared up during conditioning earlier this week. Shields told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he still plans to play against the Bears. Ultimately, of course, that won't be his decision. As we've noted before, the Packers' depth behind Shields is a question mark, and it's an area the team probably doesn't want to test in a game that could determine whether it receives a playoff berth.
At the very least, Shields is likely to cede his kickoff return duties. Shields suggested that Pat Lee could handle that role Sunday.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Packers aren't planning to give Bears punt returner Devin Hester much of an opportunity to get a return, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji has 6.5 sacks this season, the most for a 3-4 nose tackle since 1990, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Hester bought gifts for his teammates after he was elected to the Pro Bowl, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Over the past five games, the Bears are averaging 28 points, notes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bears tailback Matt Forte is 22 yards away from 1,000 and 13 receiving yards from 500 for the season. If he accomplishes both feats, he will join Walter Payton as the only running back in franchise history to do so, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre failed a post-concussion impact test Wednesday, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune, meaning he still isn't cleared to practice.
Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier reached out to his veterans to keep the team engaged during the past week, writes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com breaks down the tape of the Vikings' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Detroit Lions fined center Dominic Raiola $15,000 for using obscene words and a hand gesture while responding to fans in Miami, according to The Associated Press.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "Brandon Pettigrew didn't make the Pro Bowl this year, but the prevailing sentiment in the Lions organization is that the tight end will earn an invite to Hawaii before long."
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "Calvin Johnson has done something that hasn't been done in 12 years. He will start at wide receiver in the Pro Bowl despite having three different quarterbacks throw to him this season."