The Green Bay Packers hoped the bye week would allow for some much needed healing. While the bye week was just what Jordy Nelson needed – he is expected to play on Sunday – the week off wasn’t enough for Clay Matthews.
Matthews has been a terror to opposing offenses from the first day he stepped on an NFL field but he won’t be a concern for the Lions this Sunday. He suffered a hamstring injury in the Packers’ week nine win over the Arizona Cardinals. The immediate thought was that Matthews would miss a couple weeks so it is not surprising that he has been ruled out already.
According to head coach Mike McCarthy, Matthews won’t be easy to replace:
“I don’t think you can ever measure what Clay Matthews means to your football team,” McCarthy said. “He’s clearly one of the best defensive players in the game in my opinion. He’s a dynamic player, he’s someone that we try to do a lot with. He gives us excellent flexibility schematically. He has an outstanding skill set and is an impact player. We’re more focused on utilizing the players that are available for this week.”
The Lions offense needs to avoid the slow starts that have plagued them through most of the 2012 season. The absence of Matthews is an opportunity the Lions need to take advantage of if they are to defeat the Packers.