Green Bay Packers (9-4) head coach Mike McCarthy announced on Wednesday afternoon that defensive back Charles Woodson has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s contest against the Chicago Bears (8-5). The good news is the Packers can still defeat the Bears without him.
Green Bay had high hopes that Woodson would finally be able to suit up Sunday after returning to practice last week. However, team doctors have received bad information from watching him practice the last two days and have told McCarthy that it is in the Packers best interest to hold him out one more game.
Obviously, this is very frustrating for Woodson, the team and the fans, as this week’s game against the Bears is the biggest of the season thus far. Green Bay can clinch the NFC North with a win if they beat Chicago for the second time this season and the sixth time in a row including the 2010 NFC Championship game.
The Bears will be throwing everything they got at the Packers in hopes of keeping their season alive, as a loss could very well make them the second team in the last 23 years to miss the playoffs with a 10-6 record. A severe lack of pass rush is the biggest concern for Green Bay but the Packers are hopeful superstar Clay Matthews will play in the game to help bring the heat against Jay Cutler. As of right now, Matthews is a go for Sunday unless something changes over the next couple days.
As much as Woodson wants to play and as much as the fans desperately want him to return, Green Bay’s young secondary has proven they are talented enough to handle the pressure without their fearless leader. Every member of the secondary is under the age of 24 with the exception of Tramon Williams and Woodson. They are fast, athletic, intelligent and are not afraid to make key plays.
With a decent pass rush similar to what the Packers did against Cutler in the team’s Week 2 meeting, the ball hawks in the secondary will eat up any dicey throws the inconsistent quarterback may toss-up. The Packers may only have 15 interceptions but Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Casey Hayward is hungry to nab up his sixth pick of the season.
Green Bay would obviously prefer to have Woodson against Chicago, but the fact that the team can win without him means the legend can get some much needed rest for the postseason when the Packers will really need him.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.