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Pack will be ready, with or without Rodgers, McCarthy says

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Green Bay Packers' coach Mike McCarthy says his team will step up to the challenge on Sunday night at New England.

They might have to do it without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who won't be cleared to practice until at least Friday as he gets over his concussion from last Sunday.

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The NFL's new policy on concussions does not let Rodgers attend meetings or study the game plan until he's cleared.

Back-up Matt Flynn is doing all of that and says he'll be ready if he's called upon.

McCarthy says he won't know until Saturday if Rodgers can play against the Patriots. Las Vegas odds-makers have not announced a point spread yet, apparently waiting on Green Bay's quarterback situation.

New England is expected to be a heavy favorite, but McCarthy said, "We're nobody's underdog."

Green Bay goes in at 8-5 after their four-point loss at Detroit. New England has won its last two games 81-10.

Pats quarterback Tom Brady has won 26 straight at home. The Patriots are 11-2. They could clinch the AFC East title with a win over the Packers and a little help.

McCarthy also said Wednesday that linebacker Frank Zombo would miss Sunday night's game with a knee injury.

Guard Daryn Colledge missed practice Wednesday with a bad knee, but there's a good chance he'll return today.

Bielema finalist for Bear Bryant Award

Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema has been named a finalist for the Bear Bryant Award, given each year to the nation's top coach.

Bielema was also a finalist for the award in 2006, his first season with the Badgers when they went 12-1.

This year, he led Wisconsin to a share of the Big Ten title and the school's first Rose Bowl bid since 1999.

The winner of the Bryant Award will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 18 in Houston.

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