Much to the surprise of no one, the Green Bay Packers will be without linebacker Clay Matthews for the third consecutive week.
Unlike previous weeks, when Matthews was given a chance to play leading up to the game, the Packers have already ruled him out as of Friday morning. That’s not a good sign.
Matthews had been going through limited practice last week, but he sat out entirely this week. That’s a pretty clear sign that he either tweaked his hamstring injury or it’s just worse than previously thought.
Either way, it’s a blow to the Packers’ pass rush, which has been anemic the past two games. They’ve produced just four sacks — two each week — with Matthews sidelined. Although his numbers aren’t great this season — he has just three sacks — the defense is clearly better when he’s on the field.
The opposition has to pay attention to Matthews, which frees up guys like Nick Perry. With Matthews out, Perry has been seeing his share of double teams.
The Packers have looked to 36-year-old Julius Peppers to pick up some of the slack in Matthews’ absence, but he’s been a non-factor.