Shields, Bakhtiari active vs. Cardinals

Ryan Wood
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Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields, left, celebrates his interception with Damarious Randall against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field.

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Green Bay Packers will have their top cornerback and starting left tackle available in the return to the desert Saturday night, and with them two huge pieces that were missing when they traveled to the Arizona Cardinals last month.

Sam Shields (concussion) and David Bakhtiari (ankle) were included on the Packers’ 46-man active roster for the Packers divisional-playoff game at Arizona. Both were inactive three weeks ago when the Cardinals trounced the Packers 38-8 on Dec. 27. Their return could be enough to change the complexion of what was the Packers’ most lopsided loss with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback

The Packers don’t quite have a complete roster. Receiver Davante Adams (knee) is inactive, but and rookie cornerback Quinten Rollins (quadriceps) was activated. Few things are as important as covering the pass and protecting the passer, and the Packers will have their complete secondary and offensive line available.

It’s hard to tell which starter’s availability is more important. On one hand, Shields is the Packers’ best cover man, a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. His presence in the secondary allows for more flexibility. If a receiver gets hot Saturday night, Shields will be matched against him.

But the difference last month was a faulty offensive line that allowed nine sacks, eight with Rodgers at quarterback. Backup left tackle Don Barclay allowed four of those sacks, including two strip-sack fumbles returned for touchdowns. Bakhtiari has allowed three sacks all season, and none in his past nine games.

The Packers haven’t had their five preferred starting offensive linemen together in almost two months. The last time it happened was Nov. 22, when the Packers blew out the Minnesota Vikings on the road 30-13 in one of their best games of the year.

It will be only the eighth time in 18 games the Packers’ entire starting offensive line is available, a stark contrast to last season when the offensive line had the same five starters in their final 16 games counting playoffs.

Here are the full list Packers inactives:

7 QB Brett Hundley
17 WR Davante Adams
31 CB Robertson Daniel
36 LaDarius Gunter
38 RB John Crockett
55 LB Andy Mulumba
79 G Josh Walker and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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