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NFL news: Aaron Rodgers, Jason Pierre-Paul, Sean Lee out for Week 15

Injuries continue to impact the playoff races and the Packers will now attempt to remain alive, once again without Aaron Rodgers.

Andy Lyons

The Packers and Cowboys will play what essentially amounts to an elimination game in Dallas this week, and both teams will be without key players due to injury. Green Bay will once again be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who remains out due to a collarbone injury suffered in Week 9.

Rodgers returned to practice recently in a limited capacity, but did more this week. There was some though he'd be able to return and according to reports, Rodgers said he felt like he was ready to play. Rodgers, however, did not receive medical clearance and will miss his sixth straight game. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers was "disappointed and frustrated" about not being cleared.

With Rodgers out, Matt Flynn will make his third straight start. Flynn struggled some in his first two starts before playing well last week against Atlanta. He completed 75 percent of his passes against the Falcons and averaged 8.1 yards per attempt. Dallas has allowed the most passing yards in the league and the Cowboys are 28th in the NFL in yards per attempt allowed.

While the Packers won't be eliminated with a loss this week, they have very little margin of error. At 6-6-1, they trail Detroit and Chicago in the division, both of which are 7-6.

Sean Lee likely out for Dallas

Dallas will again be without linebacker Sean Lee, this time due to a lingering neck injury. Lee, arguably Dallas' best defensive player, suffered the injury last week against Chicago. He received medical attention a few times during the game against the Bears, before finally leaving the game for good in the second half.

Despite the injury, Lee was expected to return to the field this week. He practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday, but was held out of Friday's practice. If he does indeed miss the game on Sunday, it will be the third game he's missed in the last four weeks. He suffered a serious hamstring injury in Week 10 and missed two games before returning last week.

When healthy, Lee is one of the top middle linebackers in the NFL. Health, however, has been an issue recently. If he doesn't play this week, it would be the 13th game he's missed since the start of last season. He hasn't played a full game since Week 9 against Minnesota.

Jason Pierre-Paul out this week, likely done for the season

The Giants will be without defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Sunday and he may not play at all this season. Pierre-Paul suffered a shoulder injury in Week 12 and doctors have reportedly advised him to sit out the remainder of the season. He's already been ruled out of the game on Sunday against Seattle.

Pierre-Paul said he will attempt to play again this season, if he is healthy enough to do so. With the Giants eliminated from playoff contention and just three games to go in the season, it may make more sense for Pierre-Paul to sit out. He's battled injury all season and beginning with his recovery from offseason back surgery. Ed Valentine of Big Blue View wrote Pierre-Paul was never fully healthy this season:

The 24-year-old remains the Giants' most talented defensive player. He is the one player on the roster who, at his best, can turn what is a statistically middle of the pack defense, into an upper echelon one.

Whether he plays again this season or not, it is apparent we won't see his best in 2013. All the Giants can do is hope that rest is the right prescription for his shoulder, that his health will allow him to go through a full offseason program and that the dominant version of JPP returns next season.

Other headlines:

-- Charles Woodson said he isn't ready to retire and would like to play another season in Oakland. The 37-year-old said he doesn't know if he would want to play anywhere else, but if he's wanted back with the Raiders next season, he'll come back and play.

-- The saga in Washington continues and the latest reports indicate Mike Shanahan benched Robert Griffin III due to poor performance, not the desire to keep him healthy as publicly claimed. According to the report, Shanahan did not think he could maintain credibility in the locker room if he continued to start Griffin, despite his struggles.

-- The Jets placed wide receiver Stephen Hill on injured reserve due to a knee injury. Hill struggled in his second season, finishing with just 24 receptions for 342 yards. The former second-round pick has struggled to make an impact while other receivers from his draft class, including Alshon Jeffery, have excelled.

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