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Receiver woes have Packers facing unusually-low total

The Green Bay Packers have drawn one of their lowest totals in recent seasons for Week 9, thanks in part to a rash of injuries to their playmakers in the passing game.

The Packers host the Arizona Cardinals Sunday and oddsmakers have tagged that contest with a 44-point number. That is Green Bay’s lowest total this season and third-lowest total of the past two years behind two 41.5-point over/unders in the final two games of the 2011 schedule.

The Packers are missing top receiver Greg Jennings and fellow wideout Jordy Nelson is nursing a hamstring injury. Last week, without either on the field, quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled to move the chains, passing for just 186 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-15 win over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, playing well under the 45.5-point total.

“Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry about receiver injuries on teams loaded with talent,” says Covers Expert Teddy Covers, “but Green Bay couldn’t throw downfield last week (against Jacksonville) without Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Nelson’s absence clearly affected them.”

Nelson (hamstring) might be back for the Cardinals game, though with the bye week on the horizon they could be tempted to rest him so he’s ready for the November-December playoff push. Jennings (abdominal injury) is scheduled to miss six weeks after he has surgery.

Six other starters were also AWOL from the Jags game and the Packers needed a blocked punt/touchdown to prevent things from getting really squeamish as the offense put up only 17 points. Green Bay, which averages 26 points per game, sits with a 5-3 over/under mark heading into Week 9.

The Cardinals have problems of their own after losing four straight and averaging under 10 points a game in that span. Week 9’s total has as much to do with backup QB John Skelton being under center for a Cardinals posse that has fallen to 31st in offense and has exactly 10 points and one touchdown in the last 92 minutes of football.

"After watching the Cardinals on Monday night (24-3 loss to San Francisco)," says Covers Expert Larry Ness, "you wonder if the Cards can score if only playing against a stiff wind. Over bettors have to count of the Packers for most of their points."

Arizona, which is an 11-point road underdog at Lambeau Field, has played under the number in four straight games and boasts a 1-7 over/under record on the year – the best under bet in the NFL this season.

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