On Wednesday, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews participated in practice for the first time in weeks, and it appears that he will play for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the week 9. It’s perfect timing for the Packers and Matthews who face the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field with a chance to clinch the division title.I believe Matthews is the key to the Packers winning the NFC North this Sunday.
At the beginning of this season, Matthews was on a tear before the injury, racking up 9 sacks which included a 3.5 sack performance against the Bears in week 2. During Matthews’ time out it really seemed the Packers defense missed him, only garnering 3 sacks during the absence. Matthews presence alone should re energize this pass rush as they go against a Bears offensive line that has had problems all season.
Don’t expect Matthews to be limited in his return as he told the media he’s ready to go full speed, which is a frightening sign for Jay Cutler and J’Marcus Webb. Webb, the Bears OT who Matthews abused in that week 2 matchup took to twitter, and told Bear nation he’d be fine this week. Matthews being back also helps the secondary out immensely.
We all know that if you pressure Cutler he will force throws or toss up throws to the defense. This could counteract the Bears biggest offensive weapon, WR Brandon Marshall. Matthews can get to Cutler and force him off his marks, in turn this will allow the corners and safeties to get in position for interceptions. As we know this game usually comes down to which team wins the turnover battle, which makes Matthews comeback even bigger.
Matthews will complete the defense and lead a strong defensive attack against the Bears. The next question is will the Packers offense hold up their end of the bargain?
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