The Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders contest a week 15 matchup this Sunday that could have significant ramifications for both franchise's NFL playoff aspirations.
And an announcement today that a key defensive player is set to miss the game at the O.co Coliseum is set to improve one team's chances of getting that all-important W.
As reported by Packers beat writer Weston Hodkiewicz, Green Bay's top cornerback Sam Shields has been ruled out vs Oakland.
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Shields suffered a concussion in the first half of the Packers' week 14 game against the Cowboys and, per head coach Mike McCarthy, he has failed to progress through the league's protocol.
Shields has 39 combined tackles and three interceptions on the season and the 28-year-old cover corner has brought important experience to Green Bay's secondary.
In his absence, ESPN reports the team is likely to run with two rookie CBs against Oakland in Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.
After winning three of their last four games, the Packers currently sit top of the NFC West division with a 9-4 record - holding the conference's third playoff seed in the process.
But, with the Vikings just a game behind in the division, and the on-form Seahawks also on an 8-5 record, the Packers can ill afford to lose to the Raiders this weekend.
As for Oakland, the AFC West franchise is clinging to their playoff hopes with a 6-7 record. They must, however, win all three remaining games if they are to stand any chance of playing postseason football.
As such, the ability for Derek Carr to take aim at the likes of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper without the presence of Shields certainly helps them in that regard.
Packers fans: Can your team go all the way to the Super Bowl? Have your say in the comments below...
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