Clay Matthews

Matthews is the favorite among his peers.

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews has been tabbed the defensive player of the year by The Sporting News.

Whether that transfers over to the “real” award, which is voted on by the Associated Press, remains to be seen, but Matthews will have some real competition from Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

That being said, it’s hard to argue with the rationale of TSN.

Beyond his statistics (23-1/2 sacks, 11 passes defended, three forced fumbles and one interception returned for a touchdown in his two NFL seasons), Clay Matthews impacts a game in ways few defensive players can. He is the NFL’s Tasmanian Devil, a player who is in constant motion, attacking from here, there and everywhere.

Even while fighting through a shin injury this season, he was the most feared defender in the league.

Polamalu finished second in The Sporting News voting, which was voted on by NFL players, coaches and executives.