With week 1 of the NFL season officially in the books, several players impressed in their respective games. One of the players that really stepped up their game was Green Bay Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews. In the opener, Matthews was a machine causing havoc everywhere he went on the field. He ended the game with one sack and eight total tackles.
What is even more impressive about the stat line is that he put up the numbers against a quarterback that is extremely difficult to bring down in Colin Kaepernick, and an offensive line that is more than capable of holding their own in the San Francisco 49ers. With that performance, assuming he can keep up the pace and stay healthy, he may have put himself in the running for NFL Defensive Player of The Year honors this season.
Although Matthews is not the league leader in sacks, he is among them. As for the league leader in sacks after Week 1, Robert Quinn, he should be considered a longshot to win the award. The reason for this is that Quinn plays for a mediocre St. Louis Rams‘ team that is probably headed nowhere in 2013.
Over the years, the Defensive Player of The Year award has almost always gone to a player on a contending team. This fact should greatly hurt Quinn’s chances of winning the award in 2013 in the eyes of the voters.
Matthews, on the other hand, is a guy that has proven he can get the job done week in and week out, and he plays for a team that has a legitimate chance at a Super Bowl title this year. Additionally, Matthews will play against many lackluster offensive lines this season. These lines include that of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears twice, just to name a few.
In any one of these games, if not all of them, he could have a monster day.
He will probably be competing with 49ers LB Aldon Smith for the award this year. Given that Matthews has a friendlier schedule as far as offensive line play is concerned, I would expect him to come out on top in the race this year.