FOXBORO -- Aaron Hernandez caught a pair of touchdown passes from Tom Brady and the Patriots held off the feisty Green Bay Packers, 31-27, Sunday night at Gillette Stadium for their sixth straight win. Tully Banta-Cain sacked Matt Flynn as time expired at the Patriots 16. 

 

Deion Branch, Tom Brady, Wes Welker and the rest of the Patriots' offense have started fast the last few games. (AP)Here are ten things worth keeping an eye on in Sunday’s Patriots-Packers game:

WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL



The Patriots announced that they have signed cornerback Tony Carter to the active roster from their practice squad. The move comes at a time when rookie cornerback Devin McCourty has been dealing with injured ribs.

 

Carter was signed to the Patriots' practice squad in Sept., one week after he was cut by the Broncos. Signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent out of Florida State in 2009, he spent most of last year with the Broncos before joining the active roster for the final three games of the season. He appeared in two games and started one.

 

The Packers have ruled out quarterback Aaron Rodgers for Sunday night's game against the Patriots. Rodgers, who had been listed as "doubtful" all week because of a concussion he suffered in last Sunday's loss to the Lions, will step aside as Green Bay goes with backup Matt Flynn. Sunday will mark the first career start for Flynn, who entered the game last week for the Packers after Rodgers' injury. Flynn, an LSU product, has completed 25-of-46 pass attempts for 246 yards and 2 interceptions in 27 career games, all as a backup.

Vic Carucci of NFL.com, in his weekly appearance on The Big Show, said that the Packers -- who are likely to feature Matt Flynn instead of Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback -- have little chance of keeping up with the Patriots this weekend. While Green Bay's defense is highly regarded, Carucci did not feel that the Packers had the ability to match the scoring prowess of the Patriots, nor did their defense have the ability to contain New England's extremely efficient offense, which is now predicated on quick, short passes rather than stretching the field.

 

Six Patriots — defensive lineman Ron Brace, tight end Aaron Hernandez, cornerback Devin McCourty, nose tackle Myron Pryor, defensive lineman Gerard Warren and defensive lineman Mike Wright — are all questionable for Sunday's game against the Packers. Here's the complete report:

Did Not Participate
DL Ron Brace (concussion) questionable
TE Aaron Hernandez (flu) questionable
DL Myron Pryor (back) questionable
DL Mike Wright (concussion) questionable

Limited Participation

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Friday and talked about the Patriots' resurgence and the team's success in bad weather.

 

"The Patriots just play, and they play football, despite whatever weather they're in," King said, adding: "They don't hunker down and say, 'OK, let's get 10 points on the board and try to stop them.' They keep attacking.

 

Though Aaron Rodgers is listed as doubtful for Sunday night's game against the Patriots while recovering from a concussion, the Packers quarterback was described as upbeat in the Green Bay locker room on Friday, and he has not been ruled out for the contest.

 

FOXBORO -- Rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez was one of four players not spotted at the start of Patriots practice on Friday as the team worked out in sweats and shells on the main stadium field. 

 

Also missing were defensive linemen Mike Wright, Ron Brace and Myron Pryor while Gerard Warren returned after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. 

 

Patriots running back Fred Taylor made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Friday morning and said he's trying to be as patient as possible while he waits for his chance to see more action.

 

"It's not the best situation that I've been in throughout my career," he said. "I'm used to playing. I'm used to playing, and I'm used to playing a lot. Right now at this point, that's not what's happening for me for now. But there is a process, and I understand that. Like I tell [son Kelvin]: 'Be patient and continue to chip away.'