- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The Green Bay Packers defense has been shredded for 86 points and 1,475 yards the last three games. Not having starting cornerbacks Sam Shields and Casey Hayward on the field hasn’t helped.

As the Packers look to snap a two-game losing skid, they know getting healthy again with their secondary is imperative. Still to be determined is whether its thin cornerback position is replenished Sunday, when NFC North co-leader Green Bay (6-2) hosts the struggling Detroit Lions (1-7).

Shields is questionable after not playing the last game because of a shoulder injury. He returned to practice this week, but just as a limited participant.

Coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers both acknowledged the importance of having Shields available on game day.

“He’s one of our top players on defense,” McCarthy said.

A first-time Pro Bowl selection last season, Shields’ participation would be especially helpful. The sixth-year pro has turned in some solid performances against Lions standout receiver Calvin Johnson.

“Obviously, Sam’s always a big part of our plans in terms of being able to match up one-on-one,” Capers said. “When you don’t have a guy like that, sure, it affects you.”

Meanwhile, Hayward and rookie cornerback Quinten Rollins are probable.

“I think we’re missed,” Hayward said. “We’re veteran guys. We’ve been out there. We kind of know what to assume.”

Rollins also missed the eight-point loss at unbeaten Carolina last Sunday because of a neck injury. Hayward left that game in the second half with a head injury after trying to tackle Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart. Hayward returned to practice Thursday and said he passed all of the required tests for a concussion mandated by the NFL.

Without Shields, Rollins and even Hayward for a part of the game, the Packers allowed Carolina’s Cam Newton to throw for 297 yards and three touchdowns.

Newton’s big performance came after Denver’s Peyton Manning passed for 340 yards as Green Bay gave up 500 yards and lost for the first time this season. The game before that, the Packers held on to beat San Diego despite allowing 548 yards, including 503 passing by Philip Rivers.

A top-10 defense earlier in the season, Green Bay has plummeted to No. 23 in the league for both total yards and passing yards allowed.

“I think in order to have that Super Bowl push, playoff push, we need all our guys healthy,” Hayward said. “When we get Sam back, if we get Sam back this week, he’d definitely help.”

Damarious Randall, the team’s top draft pick this year, has filled a void as a playmaker at cornerback the last three games. He had a game-clinching pass breakup near the goal line in a tight win over the Chargers, then had an interception in each of the two losses.

“He’s a first-round draft pick, he’s expected to play at a high level,” Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said.

Randall leads Green Bay with 11 pass breakups. His two interceptions tie him with Shields and Rollins for the team high.

“I feel like the sky’s still the limit,” Randall said. “Every time they throw my way, I’m just expecting to come up with the ball.”

NOTES: Packers RB Eddie Lacy (groin), LB Mike Neal (hip) and rookie WR Ty Montgomery (ankle) also are questionable for Sunday. Lacy practiced on a limited basis this week after McCarthy announced James Starks is the team’s No. 1 running back. . Green Bay’s other 11 players on its extensive injury report are probable, including LB Clay Matthews (ankle/knee), S Morgan Burnett (ankle), WR James Jones (quadriceps) and offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga (knee), T.J. Lang (back) and Josh Sitton (back).

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