Two no brainers and a surprise headline the Green Bay Packers 2012 Pro Bowl players. Aaron Rodgers was named the starting quarterback for the NFC Wednesday night when the rosters were announced by the league. Rodgers leads the NFL in passer rating again this season at 106.2 with 35 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions. It's the second consecutive year Rodgers has been named the starter and it's his third Pro Bowl appearance. He'll be backed up by Matt Ryan of Atlanta and Washington rookie Robert Griffen III. Clay Matthews continues to make history for the Pack, getting named to the NFC squad in each of his first four years in the league. Despite missing a month with a hamstring injury, Matthews leads the team with 12 sacks. Matthews will be a backup outside linebacker. The surprise was center Jeff Saturday. Already a decorated veteran, Saturday made five Pro Bowls as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. He replaced Scott Wells at the start of the season but his play wasn't good enough to hold on to the job, getting replaced by Evan Dietrich-Smith last week against Tennessee. Saturday was the top vote getter at his position by the fans but will be the backup to Max Unger of Seattle. Randall Cobb and Josh Sitton were named first alternates. The San Francisco 49ers placed a league high 9 players on the NFC roster, the Chicago Bears had five Pro Bowlers, Brandon Marshall, Julius Peppers, Henry Melton, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. The Minnesota Vikings had three players named, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and rookie kicker Blair Walsh who is 9 for 9 from beyond 50 yards this season. The only Detroit Lion to make the squad was record setting wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Former Wisconsin Badger J.J. Watt is an all-star from Houston and former Packer fullback Vonta Leach is now the AFC's Pro Bowl fullback from the Baltimore Ravens. The game will be played the Sunday before the Super Bowl in Honolulu.
The Packers returned to the practice field Wendesday off the long Christmas break and only three players did not participate. Mason Crosby caught the flu bug that's been circling the locker room in the past couple of weeks and was sent home. Sitton is dealing with a concussion but is expected to be cleared for Sunday's game. James Starks is still recovering from a knee injury. Cobb injured his ankle and knee in the second half of the Titans rout last week but worked on a limited basis. He'll be re-evaluated on Friday. Jordy Nelson returned from his hamstring injury and will play against the Vikings. Charles Woodson however, has already been ruled out for the finale, still recovering from a broken collarbone suffered against the St. Louis Rams on October 21. The Packers believe Woodson will be available for the playoffs. Other players expected back this weekend include running back Alex Green from a concussion, C.J. Wilson with a knee injury and Jerel Worthy coming off a hamstring pull.